×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

The Fosters

Beyond J-Lo and the premise, there's little cause to forge permanent bond to ABC Family drama

With:
Teri Polo, Sherri Saum, Maia Mitchell, David Lambert, Cierra Ramirez, Jake T. Austin, Hayden Byerly, Danny Nucci

Everything distinctive about “The Fosters” — an ABC Family drama eager to promote Jennifer Lopez’s involvement as a producer — appears to have been extracted during the pitch meeting, indicating a show either built by committee or incorporating too many notes. Although the series has its heart in the right place, focusing on a lesbian couple raising teenage foster kids, as well as a birth child from a previous marriage, it’s an utterly by-the-numbers affair. Give the channel credit for trying, and the material feels tonally compatible with its other hours. Still, the premiere does little to merit laying down roots.

Callie (Maia Mitchell) is introduced receiving a beating in juvenile hall, on the eve of her release. The kindly Lena (Sherri Saum) reluctantly agrees to take her in (“It’s just for a few weeks,” she sighs), much to the chagrin and surprise of her partner, Stef (Teri Polo).

The first real clue “The Fosters” is going to be patently silly comes when Stef walks in wearing her police uniform — in this case, a pretty hackneyed excuse to have an adult with a gun and badge around, which can be handy when the going gets tough, as it inevitably does.

Callie is prickly with her new foster family (named, incidentally, the Fosters), calling the moms “dykes” and drawing a distinction between the twins they’ve taken in (Cierra Ramirez, Jake T. Austin) and Stef’s biological son (David Lambert), a talented pianist. Yet Callie isn’t the only one with issues and baggage; hers are just the freshest, and a point of introduction to the family drama.

Created by Bradley Bredeweg and Peter Paige (“Queer as Folk”) and directed by Timothy Busfield, “The Fosters” might ostensibly feel risky — portraying a loving lesbian couple raising a multiethnic brood, on a Disney-owned channel with “family” right there in the title. More proof that family is, after all, what you make of it — and while a laudable message in the face of lingering bigotry, for TV, not an especially ground-breaking one.

Moreover, the concept sounds more provocative than anything evidenced in the execution, and the tone is clearly designed to be compatible with “The Secret Life of the American Teenager” and “Switched at Birth.” Polo and Saum are good actresses, but they appear pretty well hamstrung in their initial scenes together, as Stef and Lena banter about not taking in more stray kids, prompting Stef to quip, “We are not ‘The Brady Bunch.’ ”

Take away a few elements, though, and they sort of are.

The Fosters

(Series; ABC Family, Mon. June 3, 9 p.m.)

Production: Filmed in Los Angeles by Nuyorican Prods. and Prodco.

Crew: Executive producers, Jennifer Lopez, Bradley Bredeweg, Peter Paige, Joanna Johnson, Elaine Goldsmith Thomas, Benny Medina, Greg Gugliotta, John Ziffren; producer, Mark Benton Johnson; director, Timothy Busfield; writers, Paige, Bredeweg; camera, Checco Varese; production designer, Rachel Kamerman; editor, Michael Jablow; music, Alec Puro; casting, Scott Genkinger, Deborah George. 30 MIN.

Cast: Teri Polo, Sherri Saum, Maia Mitchell, David Lambert, Cierra Ramirez, Jake T. Austin, Hayden Byerly, Danny Nucci

More TV

  • CBS News Sets Global 'Earth Matters'

    CBS News Sets Global 'Earth Matters' Reporting Effort for Earth Day

    CBS News is sending correspondents to far corners of the earth for an all-day “Earth Matters” reporting effort to kick off Monday on “CBS This Morning.” To coincide with Earth Day, five correspondents will be spread among five continents to offer in-depth reports on environmental issues and the politics in the U.S. surrounding the response [...]

  • Jimmy Kimmel government shutdown

    Jimmy Kimmel Sets Live Classic Sitcom Special for May on ABC

    Jimmy Kimmel’s long-gestating live sitcom special is finally coming to fruition. Kimmel announced Thursday night on his ABC late-night show that the special, which was first announced in May 2017, will air Wednesday, May 22, from 8-9:30 p.m. ET. The special will see a cast of celebrity guests recreating two classic episodes of the sitcoms [...]

  • WGA Agency Packaging Fight Placeholder Writer

    WGA: 92 Percent of Writers Who Signed Statement of Support Have Fired Agents

    The Writers Guild of America estimated that over 92 percent of their members who support a new code of conduct for talent agencies have fired those representatives. Letters announcing formal termination will be delivered on Monday, the guild said in a late-hitting memo on Thursday, as most agencies will be closed tomorrow in observance of [...]

  • The Village

    NBC Swaps Timeslots of Freshman Drama 'The Village,' 'The Voice' on Tuesdays

    NBC is changing the timeslots of Tuesday shows “The Voice” and “The Village.” Up to this point, freshman scripted drama “The Village” has aired at 9 p.m. ET Tuesdays immediately after “The Voice” at 8 p.m. Beginning April 23, “The Village” will air at 8 followed by “The Voice” at 9. The schedule will remain [...]

  • Donald Trump

    HBO Fires Back at Trump's 'Game of Thrones'-Inspired 'No Collusion' Tweet

    HBO is firing back at President Donald Trump after he sent another “Game of Thrones”-inspired tweet in response to the release of a redacted version of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report on the Russia investigation. “Though we can understand the enthusiasm for ‘Game of Thrones’ now that the final season has arrived, we still prefer [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content