Tonight Freeform kicks off the newly-reimagined Party of Five, which is similar in concept to the original 1990s FOX series, but with a more modern take. Nearly 23 years ago, Javier Acosta (Bruno Bichir, Narcos) and his wife Gloria (Fernanda Urrejola, Narcos: Mexico) came to the United States illegally and set down their roots, opening a popular local restaurant, and expanding their family to include five children. Their eldest son, 24-year-old Emilio (Brandon Larracuente, 13 Reasons Why), is a DACA child, who now lives on his own, pursuing a career as a musician. However, when ICE raids the family restaurant, arresting the Acosta parents, taking them away to be deported to Mexico, Emilio is forced to put his own dreams on the back-burner and step up to take care of his younger siblings—Lucia, Beto, Valentina and baby Rafael. 16-year-old Lucia (Emily Tosta, Mayans M.C.) was a straight-A student, but after her parents’ arrest, she starts to act out and party rather than concentrate on her grades. Meanwhile, her twin brother Beto (Niko Guardado, The Goldbergs) is also neglecting his schoolwork and sports in order to step in and try to keep the family restaurant afloat. And precocious young Valentina (Elle Paris Legaspi, Vida), who was celebrating an academic achievement with her parents at the restaurant when ICE arrived, probably misses and needs her parents the most as she is just hitting puberty.
I had never seen the original series, but I thought tonight’s premiere was really well done. It feels like a very modern take on the same concepts of the original show—the kids weren’t left orphaned, but for all intents and purposes it’s almost like they are. I feared that with a topic like this, the series may get too political, but in the first episode, it never felt so. It is just heartbreaking drama depicting this family being torn apart by an unfortunate situation. With no other family to turn to, the siblings are now on their own, and must quickly learn how to balance their lives as children while also taking on more adult responsibilities—from making sure they keep what’s left of their family together, to desperately trying not to lose their home or the family business—their only source of income—and raising their baby brother who may never know his parents. At the same time, they are working to try to work the legal system and reunite with their parents. I look forward to checking out more of this series to see how the story progresses.
In tonight’s series premiere, “Pilot”, when ICE deports their parents, life for the five Acosta siblings is turned upside down; oldest son Emilio puts his music career on hold to move back home and take care of his siblings.
You can check out the episode right now on Hulu and at Freeform’s website.
Tonight, I’ll also be watching/recording Modern Family, Single Parents, Stumptown, and Almost Family.
For additional suggestions on what to check out tonight, including the return of Criminal Minds and the #OneChicago lineup, check out the If We Controlled Your Remote… 1/8/20 post at TVisMyPacifier.com.