Amazon's new action-drama, The Family Man, gives "work-life balance" a whole new meaning. The show stars prolific Indian actor Manoj Bajpayee as Srikant, a loving husband and father of two. The twist? He secretly works in a covert cell of India's National Investigation Agency, and must tell his family he just has a boring government desk job in order to maintain his cover — and keep them out of danger. The 10-episode first season was released on Sept. 20, and though it hasn't yet been announced if The Family Man will return for Season 2, there's plenty of reason to believe the show will be back.
First of all, The Family Man attracted a lot of buzz before it even premiered — which says a lot for a new series with no pre-established fanbase. Though the show's trailer was released only two weeks ago, it's already amassed over 21 million views on YouTube. For comparison, the trailer for HBO's big fall debut, Watchmen, has accrued just over 5 million YouTube views since it was posted a whole four months ago. So clearly, viewers' interests were piqued from the get-go.
Whether or not the series delivers on the hype is up for fans to decide, but The Family Man certainly has an original premise that sets it apart from other spy stories. There are action sequences, but those aren't the focus of the show. Instead, it's about what happens when Srikant isn't on the job. As if secretly protecting the country from terrorists wasn't difficult enough, balancing high stress and low pay makes tending to and supporting his wife and children a difficult task. The Family Man hones in on the mundanities of this ordinary, everyday struggle.
"[It's] like a homespun James Bond with no gadgets, not hanging around with babes on a yacht, [but] living in a small two-bedroom apartment in shambles," co-creator Krishna DK told Gadgets 360. Added his writing partner Raj Nidimoru: "We were also interested in what he was doing in the gaps, because usually, mission to mission is what you do. But this is a guy, he's a family guy. He's got kids, he's got money problems, he's got all kinds of stuff like any of us, so we were more interested from that angle."
And more than that, The Family Man lends a uniquely Indian perspective to the spy genre. "[The show] is also really about the subcontinent," Nidimoru continued to Gadgets 360. "The backdrop is India, the issues, the disparity and the integrity, the way we are. It's really about the jugaad of the system."
That includes peering into some of the sociopolitical issues the country is grappling with, such as the ongoing Kashmir conflict. DK told scroll.in that though The Family Man isn't meant as political commentary, that tension is still a very present part of the show.
"Kashmir is only a backdrop. We do not delve deep into it, but we are aware of it," DK said. "Featured in the series are people working in Kashmiri institutes or the police of Jammu and Kashmir, who have a tough life, as others are always unclear about which side they are on. It's stuck in the middle between the government thinking they are siding with the locals and the locals thinking they are with the government."
With all of that in mind, The Family Man seems to have plenty of material to mine for Season 2 — and the eyes on it to attract attention. Hopefully Amazon will recognize that too.