My Family - Series 1 (Region 2) (Import) (DVD) Cover Art

My Family - The Complete First Series [Region 2] (DVD)

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Review

Tart, snappy Britcom My Family proves that the most familiar scenario--in this case, a straightforward family sitcom--can be made fresh again through sharp writing and sparky performances. Robert Lindsay (from the Horatio Hornblower series) and Zoe Wanamaker (probably best known as Harry Potter's flying teacher) star as Ben and Susan Harper, the parents of three rambunctious children: 20 year old Nick (Kris Marshall, Love, Actually), a slacker who's not always as thick-witted as he seems; sly, sexy 16 year old Janey (Daniela Denby-Ashe, who played Saffron's daughter at the end of Absolutely Fabulous); and bookish, sensitive Michael (Gabriel Thomson). Ben and Susan squabble with each other and their children (who fight vigorously among themselves), but the household isn't dismissed as dysfunctional; on the contrary, they're a normal, healthy family that isn't afraid to recognize that fighting is part of a normal, healthy family's daily life. The content of the show could be the stuff of any sitcom: Susan and Ben worry the sexual spark has left their marriage; Janey goes on a date with a boy who gets overly insistent; Michael gets bullied at school; and countless other plots about the troubles of marriage and raising children. But My Family has such a frank tone--and the actors are so utterly engaging (without ever pandering to the audience)--that the eight episodes of this first series are completely delightful. --Bret Fetzer


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