Fox went with a ripped from — or imagined from — the headlines premise for the show Almost Family, and added a twist. The premise is, “What if a fertility doctor used his own sperm to fertilize the eggs of the women/couples he helped?”. The twist is that the focus is on the aftermath for the potential multiple babies involved. The show even creates a hashtag of #BechleyBabies after the name of the doctor, Leon Bechley. It didn’t seem like it had anywhere to go, so I predicted cancellation.
But when I started watching the show, I was surprised. First of all, the show introduces you to three women…First up is Brittany Snow as Julia Bechley, his sole child, or so she thinks. Daughter, worker in the clinic, she’s devoted her life to the guy. Even put off med school. But her life is a bit of a mess. She’s always on her bike as she never learned to drive, but it’s constantly giving her problems (rain, forgetting things, almost getting hit by other cyclists, etc.). She hooks up with a guy off a dating app, only later to find out that he is potentially a brother. Ewww. The only problem is that she’s really hard to get a handle on, she’s all over the place. It isn’t until the last 10 minutes that she solidifies who she is, but the previous confusion was not plot, it was just bad acting.
Contestant #2 is Emily Osment as Roxy Doyle. Faux celeb, barely getting by, and spiraling. She might be a #BechleyBaby, and she hopes she is because she really wants a sister. Which seems warm, until you realize there is almost NOTHING about this character worth watching. She has a couple of moments, but mostly she’s a waste of skin (the character, not the actress). She seemed more caricature than character. Yawn.
Contestant #3 is the worst of the bunch. Megalyn Echikunwoke plays Edie Palmer, a lawyer and oddly enough, a family friend of the Bechleys. Her mom even suspected that she was Leon’s daughter. In the episode, she’s dating Julia’s ex, and struggling with sex and intimacy. Later she breaks with the boyfriend and kisses a woman she knows and to whom she’s attracted. But she too is ALL over the place…sometimes secure and professional, then immature and flaky, then just confused.
For the first 50 minutes of the episode, I didn’t like any of them. And then…
They have a scene at the end where they are all together and chatting. And it WORKS. Almost enough for me to watch Ep2. Almost.
Instead, I would be predicting cancellation still, which would be more impressive if I did it before today when the show failed to win a back 9 episode order and is essentially dead. Not surprised.