Siblings

We’re slowly catching up on our television watching now that our evening schedules are easing just a wee bit.  We’ve decided that Castle is entertaining, thanks to winning performances by the leads. While we know Kings is doomed, we watched the pilot last night and were intrigued enough to stick with it until NBC decides they’re done with it.

As a result, I’ve had a chance to note some trends which I find quite nice for prime time. Maybe it’s the shows we watch here or something else, but to me, many of the best moments on the series tend to be moments of family, usually between siblings. Now, maybe this is a trend or maybe it’s something I’m more sensitive to these days but for whatever reason they resonate with me.

I began to notice this with the wonderfully supportive relationship Chuck has with his older sister Ellie. They’re there for one another, with Chuck doing whatever it took to find their missing father, and protecting her from the mess his life has become. (An aside: Deb and I are split over the revelation that Dad invented the Intersect which is now stuck in Chuck’s head. I think it’s contrived, Deb expected it.)

While the cases on Castle are fun, I really like the relationship between father and daughter. She’s so incredibly level-headed in contrast to his devil-may-care attitude but they love one another deeply. I look forward to seeing this develop.

Interestingly, Kings’ pilot did nothing to establish any sort of relationship between Prince and Princess while David was clearly close to Eli and his other siblings. I’ll be curious to see how this plays out.

Of course, the nifty family trend may have begun with the success of Brothers & Sisters.  It’s often over-the-top and somewhat predictable but watching families come together and then spontaneously combust is quite enjoyable. We recognize traits from our own experiences so it rings true more often than not.

Too often our heroes, especially in comics and science fiction, seem to be solo folk, with few family ties which is actually a shame.  While it works as motivation for Superman, Batman, and Spider-Man, it would have been interesting if, say, Daredevil had a sister to lean on after Dad died.  Any time a series debuts with siblings established early on, they feel different and it’s a rarity. In all the titles I edited, Roger Stern and I did this with Will Payton and his sister Jayne in Starman. I think it worked to differentiate the hero from other titles and wish more did this.

7 comments

  • Bob Rozakis

    Let’s not forget Hal (Green Lantern) Jordan’s brothers. Or Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch.

  • Tom Galloway

    The siblings as adults show that really comes to mind was Frazier.

    On the bad side of having a sibling, Thor and Loki come to mind.

  • Colossus (Peter) and Magik (Illyana) in the X-Men.

    Northstar and Aurora in Alpha Flight.

  • (running through my comics collection)

    David Qin and Darcy Parker in Strangers in Paradise, though I wouldn’t exactly call that a healthy relationship.

    Several pairs in Elfquest: Ember and Suntop, Leetah and ShenShen, Treestump and Joyleaf, Dart and Crescent, and Newstar/Wing/Mender, though we never really see the latter trio interact as siblings.

    And let’s not forget Luke and Leia, though obviously that wasn’t established early on. And I didn’t actually like that development.

    Fantasy novels:
    Sidonie and Alais in Jacqueline Carey’s later Kushiel books.

    Miles and Mark in Lois McMaster Bujold’s Vorkosigan books (again, a late-developing arrangement) and Iselle and Teidez in The Curse of Chalion. There’s also a half-brother pair in Paladin of Souls whose names escape me at the moment.

    Joram and Evaine MacRorie (and, briefly, Cathan) in Katherine Kurtz’s Camber trilogy.

    Cat and Gwen in Diana Wynne Jones’ Charmed Life.

    The large Weasley family in the Harry Potter books. There are other sibling pairs in among the minor characters, too.

    The hugely dysfunctional Cortez siblings in Kelley Armstrong’s Women of the Otherworld series. There’s also a pair of infant twins in the later books whom we may see more of later.

    Interestingly, I’m not thinking of many pairs in science fiction. David Weber’s Honor Harrington books have a few – Michelle and Calvin Henke are Honor’s cousins, and Honor eventually gets a pair of twin siblings.

    Callista and Ellemir (yet another pair of twins) in Marion Zimmer Bradley’s The Forbidden Tower. Also, Donal and Dorilys in Stormqueen. There are lots and lots of others in the Darkover novels, but in those two the sibling relationships are particularly important to the plot.

    Singer and Arin in Marvin Kaye and Parke Godwin’s The Masters of Solitude. That’s a relationship I’d like to see explored further if they ever got to write the third book in that trilogy (Singer is offstage throughout the second book).

  • (oops – Bujold’s Vorkosigan books are science fiction, of course; the Chalion ones are fantasy.)

  • Paul Balze

    Other siblings-as-adults from TV: Ray and Robert on Everybody Loves Raymond and Roseanne and Jackie on Roseanne. Oh, yes, and Peter and Nathan Petrelli on Heroes.

  • Matt

    The Winchester brothers on Supernatural

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