I’ll start off by saying that I wasn’t planning on seeing Family Tree at all. As an avid and long-time watcher of all things HBO, the advertisements for the new comedy series starring Chris O’ Dowd truly didn’t do it justice. Not to sound too harsh, but they made it look like a slightly more adult version of a show that belonged on ABC Family. But, being a true fan of the station, I held full faith that Family Tree would not disappoint. And I was right.
Directed by Christopher Guest, the premise of the show involves Tom (Chris O’ Dowd’s character) spending the season investigating the various members of his family that he’s lost touch with, or didn’t even know existed. This is all an attempt to fill the void left in his life after a traumatic breakup with his girlfriend. And that’s all the ads told us.
Based on that, the show didn’t really seem like HBO material, especially as a follow-up to Game of Thrones. Honestly, I only left the channel on after Game of Thrones was over because I expected VICE to be on. (Which I HIGHLY recommend, especially for anyone as politically ignorant as myself.) But perhaps that made me the perfect audience for Family Tree – a fan of the channel but not necessarily the topic at hand, and better yet, someone who comes from a very small family.
The show proved to be a perfect break, emotionally speaking, for its audience. Game of Thrones fans crave action, suspense and sex, but Family Tree somehow still satisfies that need without being Lifetime-y. The characters’ dialogue is quick, dry and witty, and does not disappoint. The comedy isn’t overly obnoxious in an “Office” way: the magic lies in its subtleties.
I won’t reveal too much about the plot of the pilot, since pilots exist simply for introductory purposes, but I will definitely say that giving this show a shot will prove worthwhile.
Family Tree airs Sundays on HBO at 10:30 p.m.