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5 Shows like Brothers & Sisters: Family Affairs

Roxanne_Sancto_itcher_contributorFamily traditions and feuds can be pretty entertaining to watch, especially if it’s not your own family! If you tend to feel like you want to be adopted by TV families from shows like ‘Brothers and Sisters’, we found a few more family orientated series that may provide the perfect balance of love and sibling quarrels for you. ~ Roxanne Sancto

Well we’re always bitching that she butts into our lives. So let’s just stop butting into hers…

…But we all know it’s literally impossible for a mother to butt out of her children’s lives – especially for a mother like Nora Walker (Sally Field). Her children Justin (Dave Annable), Kitty (Calista Flockhart), Sarah (Rachel Griffiths), Tommy (Balthazar Getty) and Kevin (Matthew Rhys) may all be grown-ups now, but that doesn’t mean they’ve got it all together and Nora wants nothing more but to help out.

The Walker clan may not always see eye to eye but at the end of the day they know and respect that family always comes first. TV series like ‘Brothers and Sisters’ have the ability to make viewers feel as though they have become part of the family – we relate to their problems and anxieties, we celebrate their achievements and join them in laughter. It’s a very special feeling not all shows can inspire.

If you’re looking for a new TV family to adopt as your own, let’s meet some more warm and friendly (or quirky and blunt) mother figures, loud and goofy (or shy and reserved) potential brothers, hyper-active and driven (or creative and introverted) sisters and bear-like and strict (or brotherly and fun) father figures!


Shows Similar to ‘Brothers and Sisters’…

‘Parenthood’ (NBC, 2010-2015)

If you got sucked into the lives of the Walker clan, you’ll probably love the Bravermans too. Zeek (Craig T. Nelson) and Camille (Bonnie Bedelia) are retired but that doesn’t mean that they lead boring, monotonous lives: not with four kids and their respective families keeping them busy.

Their children are as different as night and day: Adam (Peter Krause), the eldest, is a responsible family man whereas Crosby (Dax Shepard) is the stereotypical musician/commitment-phobe. Sarah (Lauren Graham) is a single mother who has been unlucky in the career and love departments, the complete opposite to Julia (Erika Christensen), a successful working mum.

Adam, Sarah, Julia and Crosby have their own offspring, all cute and stubborn little personalities. Max Burkholder delivered the best performance by far as Adam’s son, who is diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome early on in the show. He portrays his character in such a realistic way it is at times heartbreaking and at others, truly touching.

Similarity Match: 85%
The family dynamics of the Bravermans and the Walkers are very similar, only the Bravermans have more grandchildren who play central roles. The show is loosely based on the 1989 film ‘Parenthood’ starring Keanu Reeves and Joaquin Phoenix.

‘Six Feet Under’ (HBO, 2001-2005)

TV shows like ‘Brothers and Sisters’ attract a wide audience as it deals with typical family situations and down-to-earth characters. If you’re looking for a family show that’s a tad more eccentric and “out there”, ‘Six Feet Under’ will probably end up in your top five favourite series.

Following the death of Nathaniel Fisher Sr. (Richard Jenkins), his two sons Nate (Peter Krause) and David (Michael C. Hall) are expected to take over the family business: a funeral home. For David this comes as no surprise as he’s been working alongside his father for years but for the freewheeling Nate this career change is a big blow.

Each and every ‘Six Feet Under’ character brings something solid, authentic, humorous and gripping to the show. The show’s sarcasm and bittersweet take on life and death is truly unique.

Similarity Match: 75%
The Fishers are quite introverted and nowhere near as close as the Walkers initially. But in time, strong bonds form between the siblings, which in turn bring them a step closer to their mother Ruth (Frances Conroy).

‘My Family’ (BBC One, 2000-2011)

Christmas wouldn’t be the same without Ben Harper’s (Robert Lindsay) crazy family consisting of his wife Susan (Zoë Wanamaker) and their kids Nick (Kris Marshall), Janey (Daniela Denby-Ashe) and Michael (Gabriel Thomson). Trust me when I say ‘My Family’ offers some of the funniest Christmas Specials for the whole family to enjoy whilst their after-dinner-dipping.

Ben is a grumpy, cynical dentist who would love nothing more than some quiet time at the end of a hard day. But Susan, a manipulative control-freak with no cooking skills whatsoever, makes that impossible for him as do their children: Nick is a slacker in every sense of the word, causing his parents a lot of worry; Michael is a smart-ass who thinks he’s better than them and Janey is a fashion victim constantly getting into trouble with boys.

Similarity Match: 65%
‘My Family’ concentrates on typical British wit and sarcasm, whereas the Walkers are more about beating around the bush. But ultimately, both shows focus on family and their love for one another.


If You Like ‘Brothers and Sisters’, You Will Like…

The Walker Clan is a relatively normal family – all intact bar the loss of their father before the beginning of the series. If you’re looking for series similar to ‘Brothers and Sisters’, which don’t necessarily follow the traditional family set-up, you might like ‘Gilmore Girls’ and ‘Mom’.

‘Gilmore Girls’ (WB, 2000-2007)

You’ll never meet a mother-daughter team quite like the ‘Gilmore Girls’, otherwise known as Lorelai (Lauren Graham) and Rory (Alexis Bledel). While Rory’s father is still in the (distant) picture, the Gilmore girls have never had to rely on the men in their lives: They manage perfectly fine on their own. It’s probably their insane coffee and sugar intake that has made them so strong!

Good news: if you’ve already been following Lorelai and Rory and the people of Stars Hollow, you’ll be happy to know that a revival consisting of four TV movies has been scheduled for 2016!

Lorelai may be a single mother but that doesn’t mean she doesn’t have her own family issues to deal with – particularly with her parents Richard (Edward Hermann) and Emily (Kelly Bishop).

‘Mom’ (CBS, 2013- )

Every family has its hang-ups but when your family is made up of a bunch of druggies and alcoholics, things are bound to get interesting. This is the case for Violet (Sadie Calvano) and Roscoe (Blake Garrett Rosenthal) whose mother AND grandmother are recovering alcoholics/drug addicts.

Although ‘Mom’ is a comedy it does brush up on serious topics such as domestic violence, gambling, homelessness and relapse.

Family problems are challenging even for a “perfect” mom like Nora Walker, but dealing with them when you’re a recovering alcoholic and drug addict has got to be extremely overwhelming. But like the Walkers, the Plunketts try to let love rule.


Families Are Like Fudge – Mostly Sweet with a Lot of Nuts!

We all love our families dearly but let’s be honest – every now and then they have the potential to drive you absolutely mad. Moms seem to always be nagging for you to do this and that, dads are always trying to act embarrassingly “cool” in front of your friends and your siblings… Well, let’s not get started on them, their just a pain in the you-know-what.

If you could escape your own family for just one day, which of the above TV families would you choose to live with?

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