Shocked into a beyond-their-years awareness of the fragility of ordinary life and the importance of loyalty and loving bonds, the Salinger offspring--24-year-old Charlie (Matthew Fox), high schoolers Bailey (Scott Wolf) and Julia (Neve Campbell), 11-year-old Claudia (Lacey Chabert), and baby Owen (various infant actors)--bring a deeply felt, sometimes desperate gravitas to lesser but still significant misfortunes in relationships, peer pressures, and ambitions. On top of that, each has to take on responsibilities beyond their experience--hiring nannies, raising money for mortgage payments, etc.--and make sacrifices robbing them of formative experiences. Charlie, accustomed to adult freedom, has to rejigger his plans and move back home as a surrogate, and often resented, parent. (If he doesn't do this, his brothers and sisters could be separated and sent to foster homes.) Ultra-responsible Bailey, with little time for homework, buddies, or girls, loses perspective and gets hung up on an older, appealing nanny (Paula Devicq). Top student Julia's academic career fades as she seeks a second family among undeserving thrill-seekers. Claudia, a gifted musician, pawns her violin.
Despite all that drama, the essence of Party of Five is the Salingers' homing instinct, the way they survive internal and external conflict to find their way back to reassuring family rituals--among them weekly (free) dinners at the restaurant their late father owned. The 22 episodes on six discs in this boxed set typically test the Salingers' hopes, dreams, and mettle, and while stories can certainly be unsettling, a viewer is never left with serious worries that things won't turn out all right. Among the highlights are "Homework," in which Julia, having made plans to attend a party rather than salvage her failing grade in English lit, stays home instead to save Bailey's bacon by writing his difficult term paper. The powerful "Thanksgiving" concerns a face-to-face meeting between the Salingers and the drunk driver (John Rubinstein) who killed their parents. Most memorable is a suite of episodes featuring Megan Ward as Bailey's girlfriend, Jill, a possible drug addict whose fate rocks the startling season finale, "The Ides of March." --Tom Keogh
During January 1996, Party of Five won Best Drama Series at the Golden Globes beating formidable competition series ER, NYPD Blue, and Chicago Hope to renew for its third season. This info is from 1997 book, Party of Five: Unofficial Companion by Brenda Scott Royce at the time. I recommended it if you can find it in a bookstore. It only covers the first three seasons.
I remember it well and it was well deserved family drama series with reality issues too. The Salingers deal with life and struggle without their parents. Each season gets stronger with more issues with the family and more development of the characters. I hope they come out with all the DVDs for each season within a reasonable time frame
6 - 12 months.
The Salingers are Bailey (Scott Wolf,), Charlie (Matthew Fox), Julia (Neve Campbell), Claudia (Lacey Chabert), Kirsten Bennett (Paula Devicq), Will McCorkle (Scott Grimes), and Owen (Brandon and Taylor Porter). Jennifer Love Hewitt joins the cast in the Second Season as Bailey's girlfriend Sarah Reeves. She is one of my favorite characters along with the Salingers.
First Season 22 Episodes are the following:
3. Good Sports
4. Worth Waiting for
5. All's Fair
6. Fathers and Sons
7. Much Ado
8. Kiss Me Kate
9. Something Out of Nothing
11. Private Lies
12. Games People Play
14. Not Fade Away
So, all in all, the emotions presented are definitely serious, but this is one show you'll want to invest your heart into. There's almost no way you can't feel for these young orphaned kids who are just trying to stay together and make things work as they fight to rebuild their lives and everything around them. The underlying message of trust, faith and loyalty to family is one that society couldn't be more needy of at times like this, so I'd say THANK YOU to Party of Five for touching so many lives with this phenomenal gem of a TV series with real people and circumstances that will stand the test of time for years to come.
Party of Five strikes a chord that can't even be put into words. After going through the Season One episodes, all I can say is that this is just an amazing, amazing masterpiece and a credit to contemporary television. When you look at today's TV in retrospective, very few programs (and I mean VERY few) even dare to step into the territory that Party of Five does. You have these five siblings who suddenly must cope with their parents' death and band together in a way they never thought possible as they create a new little family for themselves, all while having to grapple with the everyday pressures of life and growing up: drinking, drugs, friends, peer pressure, etc....Okay, maybe that sounds a little too cliche, but once you get into this show you'll realize that it's far from that. In the Salinger family you've got 23-year-old Charlie who, instead of having the time of his life being a young man just starting out in the adult world, must move back home and take care of his younger siblings while struggling to build some level of order and authority as a newfound "parent." High school junior Bailey maintains a respectable role as the sensitive one in the family but still fights to keep his head above water with school and relationships.Read more ›