Rob Lowe and Son Star in ‘Unstable’ on Netflix

Rob Lowe in Netflix comedy Unstable
(Image credit: Netflix)

Unstable, with Rob Lowe as a biotech entrepreneur and his son John Owen Lowe portraying his son, premieres on Netflix March 30. There are eight episodes. 

Rob Lowe plays Ellis Dragon, a tech hotshot who is in emotional freefall. John Owen Lowe plays Jackson Dragon, who sets out to save his father’s company, and his father. 

Both Lowes created the show with Victor Fresca. 

Aaron Branch, Sian Clifford, Emma Ferreira and Rachel Marsh are in the cast, and Fred Armisen is a guest star, playing Ellis’s therapist.

In Netflix press materials, Rob Lowe said the show came to be after his son and he shared some banter on Instagram. “People became so enamored with it that John Owen and I couldn't do an interview without people asking about that relationship,” he said. “We both started thinking about what a show could be. We didn’t want to do a reality show, which would be the most obvious answer. If it's a scripted, fictitious show where I play a heightened version of myself, that genre feels a little played out. We spent a lot of time thinking about the base elements that go into our relationship that make it what it is and then designed fictitious characters around it.”

Rob Lowe’s TV credits include 9-1-1: Lone Star, Parks and Recreation, The West Wing and The Grinder, and his films include St. Elmo’s Fire, The Outsiders and various Austin Powers movies. John Owen Lowe was in The Grinder and has written for 9-1-1: Lone Star. 

Rob describes his Ellis character thusly: “He is a genius and he is also an idiot. He is a narcissist. And he is also so bighearted and loving and kind, and he can't figure out how to tie his own shoes.”

Marc Buckland executive produces Unstable with Fresco and the Lowes. 

John Owen Lowe described his father as “a through and through professional” in Netflix press materials. “That was my biggest takeaway from working with him this closely was that no matter what — no sleep the night before, rain or shine, script changed right before, location changed and actors not there because whatever reason — he just always knew what to do, knew where to be, knew how to do it the best possible way to make it the most interesting version of itself, and I think raised other people up to meet his standard,” he said.

Rob Lowe said Armisen’s therapist role was written with Armisen in mind. “I am a massive, massive fan,” he said. “Fred was somebody that I wanted on the show from day one.” ■

Michael Malone

Michael Malone is content director at B+C and Multichannel News. He joined B+C in 2005 and has covered network programming, including entertainment, news and sports on broadcast, cable and streaming; and local broadcast television, including writing the "Local News Close-Up" market profiles. He also hosted the podcasts "Busted Pilot" and "Series Business." His journalism has also appeared in The New York Times, The L.A. Times, The Boston Globe and New York magazine.