Freeform unveiled a surprise panel Tuesday morning at TCA with their forthcoming reboot of Party of Five with producers Michal Zebede, Amy Lippman, Chris Keyser as well as 4 out of the 5 members of the titular party including Brandon Larracuente, Emily Tosta, Niko Guardado, and Elle Paris Legaspi (unfortunately, the baby couldn’t make it). Before hearing from the producers and cast, they shared a first look clip of the series which had the children being separated from their parents who were being deported.
The heartbreaking clip is a taste of what is to come from this emotional drama. This seems in line with the original from the ’90s, which executive producers Amy Lippman and Chris Keyser also worked on. This new take deals with the very timely subject of immigration — specifically with what is going on south of the border. Zebede says that they did their research and talked to many people who are in this country who are undocumented, DREAMers, and those who are part of DACA.
The pilot of the series shows that immigration is more complex than many think. Lippman says that when they showed the pilot to a test audience, many asked her why the father in the series didn’t pursue American citizenship.
“There is no path to citizenship — this is what it is like,” she said. “If you have come here [as an undocumented citizen], there is no path to citizenship unless you go back to your country.”
Lippman says that at the end of the day, this is a family living without their parents and how a mother and father try to parent their kids from a distance. The show presents the question: “How is their footprint in the community changed by this?” She says their intention is not to capitalize on the immigration headlines — but it’s very relevant considering the conversation surrounding the issue.
She adds that the show is about the experience of this family and what they are going through — much like the original. “We don’t want to go in with a strong political agenda,” she says. “If it makes it political — that’s what’s going on in the country.”
The show is still building its writers room, but Keyser tells Deadline hopes to fill it with Latinx writers and immigrants to give a proper representation of the characters and the narrative. He admits that it’s difficult to build a small room that reflects an entire culture, but they are looking forward to building this room so that they can give the story authenticity.
Based on the clip shown, the drama will echo the original when it comes to emotion — but Lippman said we can expect to see some easter eggs for Party of Five fans. As for seeing a Salinger family member from the original popping up in the reboot, Lippman smiles and says, “Not yet.”