Or Nah? is a new feature where we watch and review the first episode of a new TV show. We’ll let you know if it’s worth checking out. As always, these reviews are the opinion of the reviewer, but we’ll try to adequately explain why you should or shouldn’t give the show a chance and provide shows for comparison.
S1E1: Pilot | Sundays at 9pm | ABC
What’s it about?
The Warrens of Red Pines, Maine lost their nine-year old son, Adam, to the hands of their pedophile neighbor Hank Asher. However, when a teenager shows up ten years later claiming to be Adam, every aspect of his disappearance is brought into question.
Adam Warren returns to his family after claiming to have been imprisoned in a house in the woods by a man who tortured and raped him for the past ten years. Hank Asher, the registered sex offender convicted for Adam’s murder, is therefore released from prison and compensated for his wrongful incarceration. His father (John), mother (Claire), and sister (Willa) welcome Adam with open arms, but his brother Danny has reservations about Adam’s true identity. Danny’s skepticism appears to be valid, however, when it is revealed that the doctor who supposedly performed Adam’s DNA test is as real as Santa Claus.
No one on this show is a total saint. You don’t know exactly who to root for. Willa Warren is a devout Catholic, but she planted evidence on Hank Asher. John Warren is a loving father who truly seems concerned about the well being of his traumatized children, but he is having an affair with detective Nina Meyer. Claire Warren is a determined housewife-turned-mayor, but she uses the reappearance of Adam as leverage for her campaign for governor. Danny Warren is the only one in the family who is smart enough to question Adam’s identity, but his insight is overlooked due to him being an alcoholic.
Adam Warren appears to be the victim of abuse through his scars and detached mannerisms, but he studies home videos of a younger Adam, possibly to learn how to act like…“himself?” This show does a good job at depicting true human nature; mostly everyone is neither all good nor all bad. Additionally, the acting is quite enjoyable and effective in relaying subtle hints to the audience. For instance, in just a two-sentence exchange, the actors made me suspicious that there was something between Nina and John when she first arrives to the Warren home.
What didn’t work?
I was surprised some of the mysteries brought up in the pilot were then also solved in the pilot as well. John is indeed having an affair with Nina. Willa did plant Adam’s ship in a bottle in Hank’s house to cement him as a suspect in Adam’s disappearance. Finally, I find it unlikely that only Bridey, a newspaper reporter, would be able to figure out that Adam’s DNA test is probably a forgery with this being such a high-profile story.
Although the Sunday 9 PM time slot on my DVR is at full capacity, I will continue watching this show. I have some reservations about how the premise of the show can survive over several seasons, but I’m willing to give the writers a chance to diminish my doubts.
I would suggest watching The Family if you are a fan of crime dramas/thrillers. Coincidentally, you will like this show if you are a fan of other ABC dramas such as Revenge, How to Get Away with Murder, and American Crime.