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DVD Review

DVD cover

Growing Up Fisher
Season One


Starring: J. K. Simmons, Eli Baker, Ava Deluca-Verley,Lance Lim and Jenna Elfman
Distributor: Fabulous Films / Fremantle Media Enterprises
RRP: £24.99
Certificate: 15
Release Date: 10 August 2015

It's not every family that's brought together by divorce, but then again, the Fishers are anything but typical. Take Mel Fisher. He's chopping down trees, showing his daughter how to drive, and playing football with his son... except that Mel's blind. Then there's Joyce, who is your typical teenager - really into fashion, busy with school - but the problem is she's Mom. That makes it difficult for her actual teenage daughter, Katie, whose advice (and clothes) Joyce is always seeking. At the centre of all this is Henry, the Fishers’ 11 year old son. Having always been his dad's eyes and wingman, Henry is less than thrilled when his job is outsourced to Mel's new guide dog, Elvis. While the boy is at first reluctant to accept the changes that Elvis brings, adult Henry realises upon reflection that his parents split finally allowed them to become one happy (divorced) family...

Growing Up Fisher only ran for half a season and consists of just 16 episodes. It's not overly surprising that the show didn't spawn a second season. I think the biggest problem is that the basic premise is too narrow and all the elements that could have been interesting, and explored in more depth, are wrapped up in the first few episodes.

The show is written by DJ. Nash, and based on his family - when Nash was a child his father began to lose his sight, work became more difficult but he hid his declining vision from his employees and relied on his children in other social situations... Why wasn't this scenario kept for the show?

Firstly this would have given the series somewhere to go. If in the pilot we had seen that Mel was fully sighted, but slowly beginning to lose his vision, this would have allowed the writers more scope for interesting stories. As it is he's already been to law school and become a successful lawyer while blind. We pick up the story as he is splitting up from his wife and instead of relying on his son's eyes in social situations, he gets a guide dog.

Both the fact that Mel is blind, but has managed to cope with this his entire life, and the changing relationship with his son make for some odd editorial choices. I couldn't help thinking that if the story had more closely followed that of Nash's experience we'd have ended up with a series with more options.

While I did enjoy the series, as short as it was, I couldn't help feeling that this was something of a missed opportunity. It could have, and should have, been so much more.

The acting is universally good and the stories told are interesting enough. Thankfully the show ends on a good point. It doesn't really leave any loose ends, but it was interesting enough that I was sorry that I wouldn't be spending any more time with the Fishers.


Darren Rea

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