The Fosters (2013 TV series)
|Theme music composer||Kari Kimmel|
|Opening theme||"Where You Belong" by Kari Kimmel|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||2|
|No. of episodes||27 (List of episodes)|
|Running time||42 minutes|
|Distributor||Disney–ABC Domestic Television|
|Original channel||ABC Family|
|Picture format||480i (SDTV)
|Original run||June 3, 2013– present|
The Fosters is an American family drama television series that airs on the ABC Family network in the United States and ABC Spark in Canada. The series follows the lives of the titular Foster family, consisting of an interracial lesbian couple (portrayed by Teri Polo and Sherri Saum) raising a blended family of biological, adopted and foster children (portrayed by David Lambert, Maia Mitchell, Jake T. Austin, Cierra Ramirez, and Hayden Byerly).
The series was created by Peter Paige and Bradley Bredeweg, who also serve as executive producers alongside Jennifer Lopez for her production company Nuyorican Productions in association with ProdCo Original, Blazing Elm Entertainment and ABC Family Original Productions. The first season premiered on June 3, 2013, and concluded on March 24, 2014. The second season premiered on June 16, 2014.
In its first season, the series received generally favorable reviews from critics and has garnered particular acclaim for its portrayal of LGBTQ themes, winning the GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding Drama Series and earning the GLAAD Vanguard Award for executive producer Jennifer Lopez, as well as winning the Teen Choice Award for Choice Breakout Television Show.
The Fosters was originally conceived by openly gay creators Bradley Bredeweg and Peter Paige who wanted to write a drama that reflected the "modern American family". After originally considering a story about two gay fathers, the pair decided the subject of two men raising a family had already been done on television and began to instead consider a story about two women.
When discussing the initial inspiration for the concept of two lesbian mothers raising a blended family, Bredeweg stated, "We realized that there was a kind of a vacuum when it came to stories about women raising families. So we set off in that direction. Many of our own friends are moms raising biological kids. Some of them have fostered and adopted. Suddenly, we realized that we had a story here that hadn’t been told on television before."
In addition to drawing inspiration from friends who were raising families, certain elements of the series which deal with the foster care system are said to have been inspired by a troubled childhood friend of Bredeweg, who struggled in the foster system before eventually being adopted in her senior year of high school.
When developing the concept, Bredeweg and Paige were initially met with some resistance from Hollywood, with Bredeweg recounting, "[T]here were some people around us, some people in town who said, “You know, it is just not going to happen. You are never going to sell this show.” After completing the first draft of the pilot script, the team was introduced to Jennifer Lopez through a friend who worked at her production company Nuyorican Productions which was looking to branch out into scripted television. When describing their initial pitch to Lopez, Bredeweg stated, "When we met with Jennifer, she really fell in love with it. The moment we had her, we knew that we had a force behind us."
Jennifer Lopez's decision to become involved in the project is said to have been largely inspired by her late Aunt Marisa, Lopez's mother's gay elder sister who had faced discrimination during her lifetime due to her sexual orientation and was unable to have a family of her own. When discussing the show's concept, Lopez stated, "Although [the script] was about a non-traditional family and had some newer themes, it had some really basic themes as well about family and love and what's really important. And life can be complicated and messy sometimes and not simple. It gives a really good depiction of family in this day and age."
With Lopez on board, the team took the concept to several networks, including ABC Family, with Bredeweg recalling, "ABC Family was really receptive from the very beginning. Strangely, it felt a little like a match made in heaven. I mean, their slogan is 'A new kind of family.' We had a new kind of modern family and it took off from there." On July 6, 2012, The Hollywood Reporter, among other sources, reported that Jennifer Lopez and her production company, Nuyorican Productions, were developing the yet-to-be-titled hour-long drama for ABC Family, with Lopez set to executive produce alongside Simon Fields and Greg Gugliotta, as well as co-creators/writers Peter Paige and Brad Bredeweg.
On August 23, 2012, sources reported that ABC Family had ordered a pilot for The Fosters, a series which would tell the story of a lesbian couple raising a "21st-century" multi-ethnic mix of foster and biological children. On September 24, 2012, it was reported that Teri Polo and Sherri Saum had been cast to star in the pilot as the two leads, Stef Adams Foster and Lena Adams Foster respectively.
On February 6, 2013, it was reported that ABC Family had picked up the show, with production set to begin that spring for a summer 2013 premiere. The rest of the principal cast was also announced at that time, including Danny Nucci as Stef's ex-husband Mike Foster, David Lambert as their biological son Brandon Foster, Jake T. Austin and Cierra Ramirez as Stef and Lena's adopted twins Jesus and Mariana Foster, and Maia Mitchell and Hayden Byerly as their foster children Callie and Jude Jacob.
When recounting the casting process, Bredeweg explained, "[W]e spent tireless hours trying to find the right person for each role. Then they all began to line up -- it was like dominos -- the moment we found our Lena, the moment we found our Callie, the moment we found our Stef, it sort of all started to line up perfectly for us. On April 11, 2013, TV Guide unveiled the first official cast photo of The Fosters, while its first-look trailer was released on April 19, 2013.
Lena Adams Foster (Sherri Saum) and Stef Adams Foster (Teri Polo) are a couple living in San Diego, California. Lena, a school administrator, and Stef, a police officer, are raising three children: Stef's biological son from a previous marriage, Brandon (David Lambert), and a pair of adopted twins, Jesus (Jake T. Austin) and Mariana (Cierra Ramirez). In the pilot episode, Lena and Stef also agree to take in a troubled foster child, Callie (Maia Mitchell), and her younger brother, Jude (Hayden Byerly). Their lives become more complicated as the family members deal with Stef being partnered at work with her ex-husband, Mike (Danny Nucci), Mariana secretly reaching out to her drug-addicted birth mother, and a growing romantic attraction between Callie and Brandon.
Cast and characters
Main cast and characters
- Teri Polo as Stefanie "Stef" Marie Adams Foster: Stef is a police officer. She and Mike Foster, her partner at work, are Brandon's biological parents, who divorced shortly after Stef met Lena and realized she was a lesbian and wanted to be with Lena. In a flashback in episode 9 about when she first met the twins, it is shown that she has a very loving nature. At the end of 1x10, Stef and Lena were officially married, legally cementing their long-term union of ten years. Stef is very strong and tough, but is also very funny and loving. Callie initially doesn't feel comfortable around her due to her position as a cop. While Stef likes to act tough around everyone, especially Lena, it is also shown that she cares a great deal about both her wife and her family, although she won't hesitate to discipline her kids if need be.
- Sherri Saum as Lena Elizabeth Adams Foster: Lena is Stef's wife, Brandon's stepmother, and the other children's adoptive/foster mother. While neither she or Stef are really the dominant one in their relationship, Lena has a more motherly nature. She is good with kids and tries often to reason with her kids more so than punish them, despite Stef's usually "quick to act" nature. She is the biracial vice principal of the charter school the kids attend. In episode 8, she and Stef get into a fight about Lena wanting to be married and never discussing it with Stef, showing that while she is more a lover than a fighter she will defend herself, but more so around Stef than anyone else. She first took Callie in after she got out of the juvenile detention center. Lena is very aware of the people around her and takes on the role of caring mother to all of the kids.
- Maia Mitchell as Callie Quinn Jacob: Callie, 16, is one of the Foster family's new foster children. Callie is beautiful, headstrong, and tough. She deeply loves her younger brother, Jude, and was sent to Juvie for destroying a car in order to protect Jude from his foster father's abuse. After she is released from Juvie and placed with the Fosters, Callie and Brandon rescue Jude, who is subsequently fostered by the Fosters as well. Callie has had a hard life—her mother is dead and her father is in jail, and she has been abused in many ways in the foster care system. She initially has trouble opening herself up to her new family, but she is slowly coming to love and accept them. Initially Callie opens up mainly to Brandon, and the two develop a romantic relationship, although it is forbidden by the rules of the foster system. Callie is also friends with/dating a boy named Wyatt, and the nature of their relationship remains unresolved. She can not be adopted with Jude because Donald is not her father.
- David Lambert as Brandon Foster: Brandon is the 16-year-old son of Stef and her ex-husband, Mike. He is one of Callie's love interests. He is very talented musically, specifically with the piano, and writes piano pieces which he presents for chances at scholarships. He has been shown to have an unsteady relationship with his father, Mike, due to the fact that Mike is a struggling alcoholic and has disappointed Brandon many times through his childhood and teen years. At the start of Season 1 Brandon has a girlfriend named Talya, but he breaks up with her in "Quinceanera" because of his growing feelings for Callie and his annoyance and anger at her harassment and jealousy directed at Callie. For most of Season One Brandon has continued to pursue Callie romantically, even though she warned him that she could be kicked out of the house if they got involved. Brandon continues to make reckless decisions, included violating a restraining order, in order to be with Callie. Ultimately, he accepts that Callie needs a family more than a relationship, and agrees to a mutual break up in episode 1x15.
- Jake T. Austin as Jesus Foster: Jesus is one of the twins that Lena and Stef fostered as children and eventually adopted. He is 15 years old and is the more laid-back of the twins. He has ADHD, for which he takes medication. After a fainting spell caused by his pills in "House and Home", he decides with the suggestion of Mike to join the wrestling team to cope with negative effects of ADHD. He is close with his sister as they were both in the foster care system and he acted as her protector; however their personalities and values clash occasionally, causing many arguments. He even went as far to take the blame for her selling his pills to have money for their birth mom, Ana, who he feels disgust and resentment towards because she uses drugs and gave him and Mariana away for them. He starts dating his sister Mariana's best friend Lexi whom he has known for many years as Mariana and Lexi have been friends since the first grade, in "Consequently" after defending her from a guy. He falls out with his sister in "Quinceanera" when she finds out he's been secretly dating Lexi and feels betrayed by Jesus for doing so. They make-up in the "The Fall-Out". He has sex with Lexi once in "The Morning After". His relationship with Lexi is on hold when she moves back to Honduras because her grandmother is sick and her family cannot find a way back as they are illegal immigrants.
- Cierra Ramirez as Mariana Foster: Jesus's 15-year-old twin sister, Mariana was fostered as a young child, and eventually adopted, by Lena and Stef. She is very smart and girly, and cares about her appearance very much. She is popular and social, likes to gossip, and speaks Spanish fluently. She is naive when it comes to certain topics - especially her birth mother but she smartens up about her in "Consequently", realizing she was using Mariana for money. She changes herself for guys like in "The Morning After" when she sees that an old friend, Garrett is cute now and writes poetry, goes to a Poetry Slam with him, and pierces her nose herself for him since he was hanging out with a girl who was dressed much edgier than Mariana. In "House and Home", her self-absorbed and manipulating friend Kelsey slips a hat into Mariana's bag without paying, Mariana is angry once finding it and declares she'll return it when Chase who plays a lead in the play Mariana and Kelsey are involved in says it's perfect for his character and this immediately justifies not returning it for Mariana.
- Hayden Byerly as Jude Jacob Adams Foster: Jude is Callie's 13-year-old half brother, who Callie and Brandon rescue from an abusive foster home. He is a quiet child with somewhat more optimistic views on foster homes than Callie, though he has been moved from foster home to foster home along with his sister. Once he is moved into the Fosters' home, he quickly begins to adjust to the new lifestyle and becomes more talkative and energetic. At school, he develops a close friendship with a handsome and kind-hearted boy named Connor, a relationship which prompts Jude to begin questioning his sexuality. As the series progresses, Jude turns 13 and is subsequently adopted by Lena and Stef, although a technicality regarding Callie's birth certificate prevents her from being adopted along with him.
- Danny Nucci as Michael "Mike" Foster: Mike is a San Diego police sergeant, Brandon's father, and Stef's ex-husband and ex-police patrol partner. As the series progresses, it is revealed that Mike has a drinking problem. An often visior to the Foster household, Mike is familiar with his son's family. Toward the end of the first season, he started dating Dani, who helped him to keep his sobriety.
Recurring cast and characters
- Bianca A. Santos as Lexi Rivera: Mariana's best friend and Jesus' girlfriend who moves to Honduras in "Honeymoon". She is also an undocumented immigrant.
- Alex Saxon as Wyatt: Callie's love interest. In "I Do" Wyatt reveals that his mother is moving him to Indiana to live with his grandmother. He returns in "Metropolis" and resumes his relationship with Callie.
- Madisen Beaty as Talya Banks: Brandon's ex-girlfriend and Callie's enemy.
- Alexandra Barreto as Ana Gutierrez: Mariana and Jesus' biological mother. She is a drug addict, and repeatedly tries to manipulate Mariana into giving her money. She even suggests that Mariana steal something from her parents in order to obtain more money for herself.
- April Parker Jones as Captain Roberts: Stef and Mike's boss.
- Anne Winters as Kelsey: A girl who is sent to a rehab after having problems with drugs. She is a friend of Mariana's, and after coming back from rehab, becomes her enemy because they both like the same guy.
- Brandon W. Jones as Liam Olmstead: A boy from one of Callie's previous foster homes. Liam raped Callie while she was living with his family as a foster child.
- Justina Machado as Sofia "Sophia" Rivera: Lexi's protective and religious mother.
- Carlos Sanz as Ernesto Rivera: Sofia's husband and Lexi's father.
- Gavin MacIntosh as Connor: Jude's best friend and classmate, who accepts Jude as he is and encourages him to express his true personality. In season two, he informs Jude that his dad thinks he is gay.
- Amanda Leighton as Emma: A girl on Jesus' wrestling team, and a love interest for Jesus. The two were dating. She is known to be independent, semi-bossy, and tom-boyish.
- Julian De La Celle as Zac Rogers: A boy who worked on the school play with Mariana, and was her first boyfriend before having to move away to live with his dad. His mother had Alzheimer's.
- Garrett Clayton as Chase: Mariana's former love interest and star of the high school play.
- Jay Ali as Timothy: Callie's and Talya's literature teacher. They call him by his first name. He will be Stef and Lenas' new baby's father.
- Mary Mouser as Sarah: A foster child in Callie's foster child support group who was staying with Liam and his family. Callie is worried for her safety. She was then taken out of Liam's home.
- Sam McMurray as Frank Elkin: Stef's late father, who struggled to accept Stef's relationship with Lena. He dies in "Family Day".
- Annie Potts as Sharon Elkin: Stef's supportive mother and ex-wife of Frank.
- Lorraine Toussaint as Dana Adams: Lena's mother who is oblivious to Lena's biracial struggles. The two had a rocky relationship, but Dana is there for Lena when she needs it.
- Stephen Collins as Reverend Stuart Adams: Lena's father.
- Daffany Clark as Daphne: A girl in Callie's group home who becomes one of her best friends. She has a daughter.
- Rosie O'Donnell as Rita Hendricks: A leader of a group home who befriends Callie.
- Tom Phelan as Cole: A transgender boy in Callie's group home.
- Marla Sokoloff as Dani: Mike's girlfriend and recovering alcoholic. She wants to help Brandon out a lot. After she and Mike break up, she ends up having sex with Brandon. But she later gets back with Mike.
- Romy Rosemont as Amanda Rogers: Zac's mother who suffers from Early-onset Alzheimer's disease.
- Reiley McClendon as Vico: A boy on the wrestling team that brings Brandon in on the fake ID's. After Brandon scares away all his costumers, he seeks revenge by resolting to physical violence. He is now attending military school and is on probation.
- Caitlin Carver as Hayley Heinz: A dancer with Mariana on the dance team who has a secret relationship with Jesus.
- Kerr Smith as Robert Quinn: Callie's biological father.
- Bailee Madison as Sophia Quinn: Robert Quinn's other daughter and Callie biological paternal half-sister, who wants to meet her.
- Ashley Argota as Lou: An attractive singer in whom Brandon takes an interest.
- Jordan Rodrigues as Mat: A guitarist in Lou's band. Mariana has a small crush on him.
The Fosters premiered on June 3, 2013 and ran for ten episodes. On July 30, 2013, the series was picked up for a full season and an additional eleven episodes were produced, with the season returning on January 13, 2014. On October 11, 2013, ABC Family renewed The Fosters for a second season, set to premiere on June 16, 2014.
|Season||Episodes||Originally aired||DVD release date|
|Season premiere||Season finale||Region 1||Region 2||Region 4|
|1||21||June 3, 2013||March 24, 2014||TBA||TBA||TBA|
|2||TBA||June 16, 2014||TBA||TBA||TBA||TBA|
On January 27, 2014, it was confirmed that ABC Family green-lighted a spin-off digital series of The Fosters, named The Fosters: Girls United. The five-part web series follows the residents of the Girls United group home. Maia Mitchell, Daffany Clark, Cherinda Kincherlow, Annamarie Kenoyer, Alicia Sixtos, Hayley Kiyoko, and Angela Gibbs star in the series.
The Fosters received a Metacritic score of 70 out of 100 in its first season, based on reviews by eleven critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews". While acknowledging its network was somewhat beholden to the "soapy" format its target demographic had become accustomed to, critics praised the series for its ability to appeal to adults and younger viewers alike, with Boston Herald critic Mark A. Perigard writing, "The show cannily plays to teen hopes and dreams [...] but there’s story for the adults as well." And St. Louis Post-Dispatch critic Gail Pennington echoed the sentiment, writing "Intelligent enough for adults, accessible enough for younger viewers and entertaining enough for both."
The series has garnered critical acclaim for its innovative portrayal of LGBT characters and themes. Entertainment Weekly critic, Sarah Caldwell wrote that "[s]eeing a lesbian, biracial couple on a family TV show is a big deal. [I]f you look at the demographics of most TV shows, it's easy to realize how important, and deliberate, this choice was." Philadelphia Daily News critic Ellen Gray wrote, "Stef and Lena [are] the kind of parents I've met more in real life than on television. I hope they'll be as welcome there as they seem to be welcoming." And TV Guide critic Matt Rousch felt similarly, writing, "there's something refreshing about its unforced approach to redefining what a family looks like." In addition to its adult characters, the series garnered praise for its handling of 13-year-old Jude's questioning of his sexual orientation, with Hollywood.com citing Byerly's "heartwarming" portrayal when naming Jude to its list of "Favorite LGBTQ Characters on TV" in 2014. The LGBT advocacy organization GLAAD and gay-interest media outlet TheBacklot.com also commended the show's decision to introduce the character of transgender teenager Cole, portrayed by transgender actor Tom Phelan, in the second half of its first season.
In his review of the pilot episode, Variety's Brian Lowry criticized what he felt were formulaic elements, writing that what was distinctive about the series appeared to have been "extracted during the pitch meeting, indicating a show either built by committee or incorporating too many notes." Although acknowledging that Polo and Saum were competent actresses and that the show "had its heart in the right place", Lowry described the series as an "utterly by-the-numbers affair." PopMatters critic Maysa Hattab detected some of the same problems, writing "[T]he Fosters feel less like a family than a careful assembly of machine-tooled parts, as if the show were engineered for a focus group approved 'family drama' category.", while conceding that the lead characters, Stef and Lena were "a likeable pair."
On October 8, 2012, more than seven months prior to the series debut, the socially conservative One Million Moms organization, a division of the American Family Association, which has been certified a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, condemned Lopez and the show, encouraging audiences to boycott it. The group, which has routinely been an advocate for traditional marriage in media, stated: "While foster care and adoption is a wonderful thing and the Bible does teach us to help orphans, this program is attempting to redefine marriage and family by having two moms raise these children together." They issued the following statement:
- "Obviously, ABC has lost their minds. They haven’t let up so neither will we. ABC’s Family Channel has several anti-family programs, and they are planning on adding to that growing list. ABC Family has approved a series pilot from Jennifer Lopez’s production company, Nuyorican, about a lesbian couple and their diverse family".
In response, ABC defended the television show, with ABC Family President Michael Riley countering that The Fosters merges perfectly with the network’s "groundbreaking storytelling and iconic characters" and will feature “the same depth, heart, close relationships and authenticity that our viewers have come to expect". Other sources have also defended the show. Josh Middleton, a writer from Philadelphia magazine, called One Million Moms' statement "silliness" as well as "ridiculous" and said, "They obviously missed the boat on shows like Modern Family and The New Normal, which have been on air — and killing it in the ratings game — for a while now".
Awards and accolades
|2013||Teen Choice Award||Choice TV Breakout Show||The Fosters||Won|||
|Choice Summer TV Show||The Fosters||Nominated|||
|Choice Summer TV Star: Male||Jake T. Austin||Nominated|
|Choice Summer TV Star: Female||Maia Mitchell||Nominated|
|2014||NAACP Image Award||Outstanding Directing in a Drama Series||Millicent Shelton
|2014||GLAAD Media Award||Outstanding Drama Series||The Fosters||Won|||
|Vanguard Award||Jennifer Lopez
|2014||TCA Awards||Outstanding Achievement in Youth Programming||The Fosters||Won|
|Teen Choice Award||Drama Show||The Fosters||Pending|||
|Drama: Actor||Jake T. Austin||Pending|
|Drama: Actress||Maia Mitchell||Pending|
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