Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Another sister leaves the nest (sort of)

     Last week I pretty much ranted on Rob Lowe (The West Wing) leaving Brothers & Sisters, and fans, hanging with his planned abrupt departure.  News broke today that only deepened the upcoming pain, although it shed a little more light onto Lowe's decision.  Don't get me wrong.  I am not forgiving Lowe, and am still extremely disappointed he is choosing to leave the ABC series, but now I kind of get it, and I'm kind of angry at a second cast member, though I promise not to get too angry in my writing this time.

     Lowe's TV wife, Calista Flockhart (Ally McBeal) is downgrading next season to a limited involvement.  Sources close to the network say she is staying on officially as a main character, but she won't be in every episode (13 of the 22, as one popular rumor goes).  Does that bode well for a possible run for office for Kitty Walker, her character?  It may, but apparently Lowe was worried about being cut out even more himself, which seems silly, considering he was still going to stay Kevin's (Matthew Rhys) boss, or so the story seemed to be unfolding.  Other comparisons, however, remind us of Sarah Jane Morris's (Felicity) Julia, who was axed completely when her husband, Tommy, (Balthazar Getty, Alias) was also kicked out.

     But Getty has negotiated a return this year that kept his name in the opening credits, even though he is only doing a limited number of episodes, and so may put him on par with Flockhart next year.  Or not.  If Getty has his way, he'll swap her and be back in the cast full time.  But is more Tommy and less Kitty really what the show needs?  The problem with expanding the cast at this stage in the game, though, is it would be hard for audiences to buy another secret sibling, so unless Sarah (Rachel Griffiths, Six Feet Under) gets married, the cast is likely to remain stagnant after the latest shakeup.

     A return of Tommy may end up being surprisingly good, but with Flockhart appearing in less episodes, and Lowe making the third Brothers & Sisters spouse to be gone from the cast (Sarah was married to Joe, played by Caprica's John Pyper-Ferguson, when the show started), it's appearing the nest is getting quite empty indeed.  Brothers & Sisters airs Sundays at 10pm on ABC.

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