After five seasons of Walker-clan drama, ABC has announced that it will not bring the prime time series Brothers & Sisters back next fall.
The show's cancellation will bring to a close one of the most fully realized gay relationships ever to appear on television, not to mention serve as a significant blow to LGBT representation on the broadcast networks.
Brothers & Sisters followed a large group of siblings in Pasadena, CA coping with the death of a parent, revelations of his infidelity, and a floundering produce company, as well as their own assortment of interpersonal conflicts. One of those siblings was uptight and openly gay attorney Kevin Walker, who at the outset of the show was successful in his professional life but not so much in his personal one. He eventually met a waiter named Scotty who would become his husband by the end of the show's second season, and co-parent to two children by the end of the fifth. Rather than sending them down an idealized path, the show's writers tested Scotty and Kevin's relationship with the same kinds of trials and tribulations that their straight counterparts were experiencing, while still emphasizing the show's core values of familial bonds and love. In doing so they created a relatable and engaging couple that anyone would root for.
Perhaps even more groundbreaking was the late-in-life coming out of Kevin's uncle Saul, who would become a close confidant of the couple while taking his first steps in the gay dating scene at 60 plus years old. A regular gay character at that age is rare enough as it is, but in season four Saul also discovered that he had been living with HIV. However, what could have been portrayed as a singularly tragic turn of events soon became a much more grounded story of a man learning to manage his condition while simultaneously navigating a new love life.
The show won the GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding Drama Series in its first season, going on to receive a total of five nominations and four wins in that same category. Needless to say, they were all well-deserved. Though we're sad to see it go, GLAAD would like to thank the show's creators and writers, and its home network of ABC for telling the stories of Kevin, Scotty, and Saul with fairness, humor, and sensitivity, and for bringing those stories to tens of millions of American homes on prime-time broadcast television. In terms of gay storylines on TV, Brothers & Sisters will be a hard act to follow.