If the phrase "nothing gold can stay" is true anywhere, it's on television. Sometimes, even the most beloved television shows get the axe before they really have the chance to show the world all that they can be. That's true of iconic shows like Freaks And Geeks and My So-Called Life, all of which got cancelled in their freshman season. It's also, in my personal opinion, true for a show of 2016: ABC cancelled The Family after just one season, and Sunday the series ended its freshman run on a gasp-inducing note that would have been the perfect cliffhanger to keep fans guessing into Season 2.
For those of you who missed the season finale of The Family, it was even more mind-blowing than the craziest episodes of Season 1. We finally learned the truth about what happened to the real Adam, and it turns out that Ben isn't totally to blame — even though he blames himself for his friend's death. Someone killed newshound Bridy, and it could very well be Willa in another attempt to save face for her family. Nina finally rescued Agent Clements, and in the process found a body buried in Doug's yard, which she automatically assumed was Adam's remains. But the body wasn't the real Adam's, because, shocker: Adam has been alive this entire time!
Knowing that The Family had so much material for Season 2 makes today a grim one for fans of the show, and perhaps the only thing that would stop the TV-fueled woes would be for a streaming service to pick up The Family for Season 2. Though no service has come forward to take on the show yet, there are plenty of reasons why it should. Here are four reasons:
1. It's Willing To Take Risks
It's not easy for a show to make you sympathize with a sex offender, but The Family is somehow able to make Hank a character you care about. Hank is a pedophile, yes, but he has also never hurt a child, and who goes to great lengths to make sure he never can. His constant battle to fight the monster inside of him makes his worldview an interesting lens to view this story through. Hank is not the person who kidnapped Adam, but had he made different choices, he could very well have been. "Wanting something doesn't make you a monster," says Hank in the finale, "Taking it does." It would be easy to make Hank the monster of The Family; instead, he's one of the few characters on the show who stands by a moral code. It was a risky move for The Family, but it made Hank one of the most fascinating characters on television.
2. Every Episode Packs A Reveal
It's easy for mystery dramas to drag their feet on reveals — after all, it's hard to keep a mystery going when you have to tease it out over the course of a dozen episodes. Yet The Family does something few other shows have by revealing slivers of the big picture without resorting to an endless sea of red herrings. Each episode feels like a step toward an ultimate conclusion — there's very little "filler" on The Family, which makes the mystery insanely compelling.
3. It's Packed With Interesting Female Characters
It's no secret that complex roles for women are lacking. Fortunately, they aren't lacking on The Family: from the dedicated-if-stubborn Detective Nina Meyers to the vulnerable, calculating, and ultimately closeted Willa, the women of The Family get to be more than just "strong" — they get to be interesting.
4. It's Genuinely Surprising
With so many twists and turns, it would be easy for The Family to fall prey to more predictable plot points. Instead, it goes against the grain. There's an entire episode where the audience truly believes that Agent Clements has been murdered by Adam's kidnapper's wife — there's even a ghostly "beyond the grave" monologue that seems to confirm Clements' doom. It's only revealed later that Clements isn't dead after all, and that his fate is far more uncertain. If the finale is proof of anything, it's this: anything is possible on The Family, and good luck guessing what could come next.
Streaming services might not be swirling around The Family, but they should. Give me more of this mystery any day.
Images: ABC (5)