Freeform has officially picked up the reboot for the 90s family drama Party of Five. The show will take on parts of the original version, but will also largely be its own series, having different actors and characters than the first rendition. The newest Party of Five (not yet the official name for the reboot) is set to also tackle issues of immigration, which the original show did not. The Buendias family, who face a separation somewhat similar to that of the Sallinger family from the original series, will be the focus of the new program.
In the newest iteration of the series, the children of the Buendias family, originally from Mexico, have to find a way to live their lives after having their parents deported back to Mexico from the United States. This situation requires the kids to look out for each other as well as themselves, while they work to get by in the country without parental supervision. This is a very timely topic, with immigration becoming one of the most widely-discussed concepts throughout the modern world. Although the discussion influences politics, economics, and so much more, this is not the first instance of it’s portrayal in television. On shows like the similarly rebooted One Day at A Time, immigration is an underlying theme throughout the entirety of series. Themes like that of immigration function as both a “regular” story in the sense that it contains a problem that needs to be solved by the characters, but also connects the series to a timely topic, which many viewers may deeply desire to see.
The Sallinger family that made up the original Party of Five were thrown into a similar situation after their parents were killed in a car accident when driving together one night. The news of the accident sent shock waves through the family and community, and left a sense of emptiness that could never be refilled throughout the Sallinger home. The children, which included baby Owen, an elementary-aged girl, Claudia, two teenagers, Bailey and Julia, and Charlie, who had just turned 24 and was about to start a career of his own, were not at all ready for the strain this would put on each of them.
The family dealt with struggles from relationships, school, and work, to moral conundrums regarding “right” and “wrong”. Charlie was often in charge of the kids, having been the oldest and a legal adult, but was accepting and truthful of the fact that he could not fill his father’s footsteps. He knew he did not know enough about raising a child to do it without warning, especially four times over. This dynamic truly went against the format of a typical parent-to-child relationship in which the adult was almost always the trusted adviser in a family television series. However, it also widened the idea of just what a close family can be.
Although not much information has been released on the reboot of the series, questions can already be raised about exactly what the plan is for the show. Rather than having the parents die like in the original series, it can be questioned if the show runners may plan to have the children fight for their parents to come back to the United States, which would create a plot-line never possible in the original series.
The reboot is a project from the same creators of the original program, Amy Lippman and Chris Keyser, who will also serve as writers and executive producers for the new series. A release date for the first season of the show has yet to be announced, as it is still expected to be in its very early stages. The original Party of Five series can be streamed in its entirety on Netflix.