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Brothers and Sisters Have I Some

Ken Olin of Thirtysomething has successfully come up with Thirtysomething again in Brothers and Sisters, ABC's new Sunday night drama that debuted last night, though with a twist that may make it worth sticking with.

Like Thirtysomething, it has the same well-acted earnestness, same funky workplace feel for the company business. Even Olin's wife and Thirtysomething vet Patricia Wettig shows up to make sure that the intimations of that 80's TV drama are not lost on us.

I have to admit I Like sensitive dramas. Family was the best thing Aaron Spelling did. I watched Thirtysomething and Relativity and Once and Again.

This show is in that mold, but I think it also breaks the mold a litte. It will certainly get a lot of sampling as the lead-out of Desperate Housewives, so if others agree I look for it to do well.

The mold-breaker for me is Red Stater Calista Flockhart's conservative political talk radio host character. It would have been easy enough to people the show only with sensitive, introspective, California liberals.

Instead, FLockhart is a complicated conservative and she has some powerful moments defending her support of her brother's service in the war to a mother who can't accept it or her.

In that relationship it may have found its touchstone, and at least deserves respect for acting as though 9/11 happened and that it changes the way some of us feel about each other and the country.

The "toast" scene to Flockhart/Kitty was a little too much like an Olive Garden commercial for me, but maybe I have become overly critical in my advancing years. At least nobody dies in this drama and has to be poked and prodded by forensic scientists, something you can't say about most dramas these days.

Oh, I spoke too soon. Pater familias Tom Skerritt just had a heart attack and, according to the teaser for next week, dies.  At least there were no signs of lab coats or scalpels.

By John Eggerton