The Family's seriousness may be its fatal flaw
While I've been rooting for The Family since it first premiered on ABC, I also understand why viewers are jumping ship.
The show doesn't have any humor. At all. The characters don't even smile. Like, literally, I don't think I can remember any one of them actually having a joyous moment — unless it's ironic somehow.
And, as if the characters aren't enough to get you feeling blue, the subject of the show is heavy. Heavy and dark. You're talking about a mother who is pretending her dead son is alive for the sake of her political career while, on the other hand, you have a psycho child kidnapper staying one step ahead of the cops, and a pedophile who just wants redemption. It is messed up and makes me think in circles about right and wrong. It's brilliant writing and spot-on acting but definitely not for the faint of heart.
Personally, I can get into a good dark show. And I've really enjoyed The Family. But I'm a single, 20-something who can sip on some pinot while I reflect on the meaning of life. For most of America, they're settling down on a Sunday night with their family. Sunday nights are the time for shows like fellow ABC series Once Upon a Time, where quests for justice are family-friendly fun. Or Quantico, where the action and mystery are peppered in with romance and spicy character dynamics.
So, while I definitely think there is a place for shows without any laughs, like The Family, I don't think Sunday nights on ABC are the way to go. This show would probably do great on FX or AMC. Put it on a Wednesday night, add in a character who can lighten the mood every once in a while, and now you're cooking.
Unfortunately, the recipe ABC has with The Family right now is going bad real quick, and I fear the series won't get its chance to shine into Season 2.