Stream-It Saturday: The Fosters (TV)
In my continuing selfless service to the world (ahem), I'm always looking for the next awesome thing to stream. And, of course, I must share my finds with you fabulous folks. Hence, Stream-It Saturday.
Apparently, I am the target demographic for ABC Family--who knew? Between the show I'm spotlighting today, The Fosters, and my new binge-watching addition, Switched at Birth, I am a fan of the network, apparently.
The Fosters centers around the Adams-Foster household, headed up by Lena and Stef and rounded out by Stef's biological son, Brandon, their adopted twins Jesus and Mariana, and newest members, foster siblings Callie and Jude.
The Fosters distinguishes itself amongst the crowded field of teen dramas by tackling loads of situations and issues we still don't see on television much or at all: the struggles of undocumented immigrants and their children, ADHD and its treatments, bullying in several forms (even adult bullies), emergency contraception (and how difficult it can be for teens to obtain it when they need it), cultural identity (Marianna and Jesus are Mexican-American, but have parents who are not part of that culture), even late-term pregnancy termination (FYI: spoiler-y link). Hell, they even talk about money and class differences.
There's a great multi-episode arc in season two in which a teen boy becomes sexually involved with an older woman in a power position over him. The Fosters doesn't flinch away from confronting how this situation was a violation, a crime, and how our culture does a disservice to victims of this sort of crime.
The Fosters, unsurprisingly, is a show that pisses some people off. Before it even premiered, there was a boycott because the household is headed by two moms. Folks have been upset that Jude, a middle school-age boy, is portrayed (in a very sensitive and age-appropriate manner) as questioning if he may be gay and exploring his gender identity. There is a big storyline in this current season that upset a lot of folks, but it sure was handled beautifully, showing exactly what makes The Fosters so special.
I love that this show manages to be a successful teen drama with all the angst and ups and downs of teenage life, but it also represents the diversity of our world and gives all the characters--from the young Jude to the adults--real stories. Parents Stef and Lena are fully-realized and some of my favorite story arcs have been their conflicts with their own parents. Lena and her mom, played by Orange is the New Black's Lorraine Toussaint (Vee), have a brilliantly complex relationship, especially considering how few scenes are devoted to them.
Thus far, we have a season and a half of The Fosters (they do that weird split season thing on ABC Family) and I hope it goes for many more seasons. This show just has so much potential to mine many, many teen experiences and has proven that they have the guts to tackle big issues too. There's an ongoing tension between the two oldest teens, Brandon and Callie, plus Callie's increasingly-complicated family situation featuring Jack from Dawson's Creek (who is now old, by the way), which gives the show a must-watch level of drama.
The big-picture theme of The Fosters looks at what makes a family a family and I think they've answered that better than most any current television show (more so than Parenthood, even). The current episodes are all on Netflix at the moment, so if the lackluster crop of new fall shows aren't cutting it for you either, The Fosters is a top-notch pick just waiting for you to stream.