The Byrds of Paradise

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The Byrds of Paradise
The Byrds of Paradise.png
Created by Charles H. Eglee
Channing Gibson
Starring Timothy Busfield
Seth Green
Jennifer Love Hewitt
Ryan O'Donohue
Arlo Guthrie
Elizabeth Lindsey
Bruce Weitz
Opening theme Mike Post
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 1
No. of episodes 13 (1 unaired) (list of episodes)
Production
Executive producer(s) Steven Bochco
Charles H. Eglee
Running time 47 minutes
Production company(s) Steven Bochco Productions
20th Century Fox Television
Release
Original network ABC
Original release March 3 – June 23, 1994 (1994-06-23)

The Byrds of Paradise is an American television series that ran during the 1993–94 season on ABC. One of the few series executive produced by Steven Bochco that he did not help create, the hour-long drama centers on a father and his three children, abruptly relocated to Hawaii from New Haven, Connecticut after the sudden death of the children's mother. Much of the show dealt with the titular Byrd family adjusting to their lives in an entirely new environment as they recovered from their loss, similar to the premise of the later Everwood.

Filmed on location in the state of Hawaii, The Byrds of Paradise was unique in the inclusion of the local culture of Hawaii in the lives of the originally mainland Byrd family, rather than their maintaining a lifestyle nearly indistinguishable from that on the mainland with Hawaii's tropical scenery serving primarily as an attractive background.

Plot[edit]

Sam Byrd, the family's father, accepts a headmaster's position at a private school in Hawaii, which his children attend along with local students. All of the Byrds interact with local characters, some of whom speak pidgin (performed with varying degrees of authenticity) and reflect a far more realistic portrait of Hawaii's culture than is usually shown in film and television depictions of Hawaii. This tendency includes the romantic interests of the Byrds, who are local characters (played by local actors) rather than mainland transplants. Topics such as teenage pregnancy and underage drinking were featured, as are usually presented in a television show with teens as central characters.

One of the more distinctive aspects of The Byrds of Paradise was the role of Dr. Murray Rubinstein, an unpretentious beachside psychiatrist. Originally doctor to Franny, the temperamental middle child who is the most obviously traumatized by her mother's death, Murray eventually treats Sam, the children's father who is also suffering from the loss of his wife. A voice of reason who counsels his patients with an unconventional bedside manner, the doctor makes significant progress with Franny and Sam.

Again in a more realistic rather than idealized representation of Hawaii, a tsunami strikes mid-season, threatening the lives of several characters. The doctor's residence is destroyed, prompting him to continue his practice on chairs in the sand while he is rebuilding his house.

While the finished episodes were not aired in their entirety on the mainland, one of the last episodes, entitled 'Twelfth Night o' Whatevah', featuring a school production of Shakespeare presented entirely in pidgin, was aired in Hawaii.

Cast[edit]

Actor Role
Timothy Busfield Sam Byrd
Seth Green Harry Byrd
Jennifer Love Hewitt Franny Byrd
Ryan O'Donohue Zeke Byrd
Arlo Guthrie Alan Moon
Elizabeth Lindsey Healani Douglas
Bruce Weitz Dr. Murray Rubinstein

Reception[edit]

Variety television critic Tony Scott describes the series as a 'viable if familiar concept for family viewing' that 'plays comfortably and attractively.' He further states that the realistic treatment of the difficulties faced by a family moving from the mainland to Hawaii 'give the program heft.'[1] Ken Tucker of Entertainment Weekly found the series to be 'at once charming and predictable.' Tucker found Busfield's character to be more confident and decent than his other roles, in particular Elliot Weston on thirtysomething. 'When Busfield plays nice, his natural glow dims somewhat.'[2] Benjamin Svetkey, also from Entertainment Weekly, describes the series as a 'shockingly wholesome new drama' from Steven Bochco. Svetkey quotes Bochco describing the series, 'We're not pushing the envelope. We're just doing a show about how families wire up to each other in the 1990s.'[3] Jerry Schwartz of the Associated Press describes the series as 'an archipelago in a sea of earnestness' that does have 'an occasionally quirky sense of humor.'[4] Scott D. Pierce of Deseret News describes the series as 'a quality hour drama about a family. It is far from a perfect family, but it is an engaging one.' He cautions that parents may want to screen this for their younger children but then goes on to say 'Byrds of Paradise is the sort of family show viewers have been insisting they want to see.'[5]

Episodes[edit]

No.TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air date
1"Pilot"Bradley SilberlingCharles H. Eglee & Channing GibsonMarch 3, 1994 (1994-03-03)
2"The Nenes Have It"Joe Ann FogleNick HardingMarch 10, 1994 (1994-03-10)
3"Moon, Man"Stephen CraggCharles H. Eglee & Channing GibsonMarch 17, 1994 (1994-03-17)
4"This Band is My Band"Dennis DuganNick HardingMarch 24, 1994 (1994-03-24)
5"The Secret Life of Underpants"Oz ScottGrace McKeaneyMarch 31, 1994 (1994-03-31)
6"In Todd We Trust"John FleckensteinNick HardingApril 7, 1994 (1994-04-07)
7"Mi Casa es Tsunami"Félix Enríquez AlcaláStory by: Nick Hardin & Channing Gibson & Charles H. Eglee
Teleplay by: Jon Harmon Feldman
April 14, 1994 (1994-04-14)
8"The Bottle Show"Mark HorowitzCharles H. Eglee & Channing GibsonApril 21, 1994 (1994-04-21)
9"Back in the Saddle"Daniel AttiasStory by: Channing Gibson & Charles H Eglee
Teleplay by: Nick Harding
April 28, 1994 (1994-04-28)
10"Kimo the Magnificent"Charles HaidCharles H. Eglee & Channing GibsonMay 5, 1994 (1994-05-05)
11"Hair Today, Gone to Maui"Dennis DuganElaine AronsonJune 16, 1994 (1994-06-16)
12"He Hawai'i Kakou I Ka Pu'uwai"Joe Ann FogleCharles H. Eglee & Channing GibsonJune 23, 1994 (1994-06-23)
13"Da Play's Da T'ing"
"Twelfth Night o' Whatevah"
TBANick HardingUnaired

References[edit]

  1. ^ Scott, Tony (February 28, 1994). "The Byrds of Paradise". Variety. Retrieved June 4, 2010.
  2. ^ Tucker, Ken (March 4, 1994). "Byrds of Paradise; The Road Home". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved June 4, 2010.
  3. ^ Svetkey, Benjamin (March 11, 1994). "Byrds Watching". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved June 4, 2010.
  4. ^ Schwartz, Jerry (March 3, 1994). "...as 'Byrds' prepares to fly tonight". The Daily News, Bowling Green, Kentucky. p. 6–B. Retrieved June 4, 2010.
  5. ^ Pierce, Scott D. (March 3–4, 1994). "'Byrds of Paradise' soars". Deseret News. p. C3. Retrieved June 4, 2010.

External links[edit]