14 May 2013

HBO's Family Tree

     Thanks to my sister's HBO Go subscription, I was able to watch the first episode of Family Tree.  I found it to be an amusing show, though it's probably not for everyone.

     First off, it's on HBO and it's british, so there is some adult language and sexual humor (I'd rate it a strong PG13 at the very least).

     Although it's not a genealogy show, much of the show dealt with a family history theme.  The main character, Tom, is having a Sunday dinner with his family and learns that his Great-Aunt has died.  She's left him a trunk, seemingly full of junk.  When Tom starts to sort through the trunk he quickly finds an old photograph of a man in a military dress uniform.  Intrigued, he calls his father, who suggests that it is Tom's Great-Grandfather, Harry.  From there, Tom spends the rest of the show seeking help in uncovering more about the photo and his grandfather.

Tom looks for a resemblance between the man in the photo
and himself, with a glove draped on his head.
     I was a little surprised by the format of the show, and how it felt a little like an episode of Who Do You Think You Are.  It's filmed as a mockumentary with "interviews," as well as with regular sitcom style scenes (think The Office).  Tom calls relatives to ask questions about the photo, he consults experts, they meet in a cafe to discuss their discoveries.  Does this not sound like an episode of WDYTYA to you?

     There were certainly non-family-history related portions of the show, but even some of those tied into family history in off-the-wall sort of ways ("How far back do you go back? How many ancestors away do you go? Like to sort of dinosaurs times?").  Other aspects of the show were much like any other sitcom.  Since this was the first episode, much of it was taken up with introducing the characters. The show is a comedy, and it's a very British comedy. There's a lot of off-the-wall banter between very kooky characters and seemingly pointless banter.

     Overall, I enjoyed the show and will continue to watch it.  I would recommend it to others, but would understand if it's not for everyone.

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