The concept of family is continually evolving and ABC Family's new show, The Fosters, presents an example of a loving, modern multi-ethnic family of foster, biological, and adopted kids. The show premieres tonight, June 3 at 9 pm ET.
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The Foster family is comprised of mothers, Police Officer Stef Foster (Teri Polo) and School Vice Principal Lena Adams (Sherri Saum); Stef's biological son from her previous marriage, Brandon (David Lambert); and their adopted twins, Mariana (Cierra Ramirez) and Jesus (Jake T. Austin). In the premiere, Lena brings home a foster child, Callie (Maia Mitchell), fresh out of juvie. Her arrival challenges the family dynamic, while demonstrating the power of love.
The Fosters is a far cry from the network's popular Pretty Little Liars or The Lying Game and more in line with the family drama, Switched at Birth. Instead of the conflict and interactions focusing on the bringing together of two families, The Fosters focuses on one family opening their home and heart to a young girl without one.
From the premiere episode, it's difficult to judge how the series as a whole will progress, but it successfully introduces the characters and the family dynamic. A rarity on television, the family is headed by two mothers, though the series doesn't put a spotlight on that relationship with the exception of one comment from Callie.
Stef and Lena are shown as a loving couple who are openly affectionate with each other. At times, it comes across as overplayed to make a point, though it was in line with the family dynamic they have created.
The premiere pulls at the heart strings as the troubled Callie enters Stef and Lena's home. She has a secret of her own that compounds the tragedy of her life in foster care, while proving that she also has a caring heart. Brandon shares his mothers' compassion when he makes a personal sacrifice to help a girl he barely knows.
Meanwhile, the twins struggle with whether or not to meet their biological mother. The choice that Mariana makes proves the even the best raised and loved children will sometimes make poor decisions.
At the end of the premiere, the enormity of Stef and Lena's compassion is enviable. They have a clear understanding of the difference they can make in a child's life and are willing to make sacrifices for someone they don't even know.
The Fosters shows promise as a family-friendly drama that pushes the envelope on what makes up a family and explores the challenges that face them on a daily basis. In addition to the normal troubles that face parents raising teenagers, they have the added challenge of balancing the kids differing needs.
If the show can avoid becoming overly sappy, while showing the real-world challenges that the family would face, it has the potential of being as heartfelt and entertaining as Switched at Birth.
(Image courtesy of ABC Family.)