TV series review: Family Tree

By , December 13, 2013

Family Tree. The complete first season.
Created by Christopher Guest and Jim Piddock.

Yikes!  We’re right in the midst of Holiday Season 2013.  If you’re looking for something to pass the time during those more awkward family gatherings, I highly recommend a group viewing of the mockumentary series Family Tree. (The family that laughs together, stays together, am I right?)

The plot revolves around Tom Chadwick (Chris O’Dowd), a 30 year old Englishman who’s hit a bit of bad luck.  Not only has Tom lost his job, his girlfriend unceremoniously dumped him.  When he inherits a box of family heirlooms from a recently departed great aunt, Tom decides to research his family tree.

That’s all you really need to know to start watching the series.  But let me gush a bit about the outstanding cast!  Michael McKean sports a great Cockney accent as Tom’s father, Nina Conti incorporates her deadpan ventriloquist skills as Tom’s eccentric sister, actor Tom Bennett provides a little Mighty Boosh-inspired humor as character Tom’s best friend Pete the zookeeper, and series creators Christopher Guest and Jim Piddock both appear in hilarious supporting roles; Guest as an American cousin, and Piddock as a London antiques dealer.  Guest project regulars Ed Begley Jr. and Fred Willard enter the action when Tom travels to Los Angeles to meet his American cousins.

While watching Family Tree it occurred to me the series tickles the same funny bone that both  Modern Family and perennial holiday favorite  National Lampoon’ s Christmas Vacation hit every time I watch them.  Everyone’s family ranks on the offbeat scale, and that’s why movies and TV series featuring families can be so entertaining.

Enjoy the rest of Holiday Season 2013.  Have fun, be safe, and above all, be good to one another.  May 2014 be our best year yet!




2 Responses to “TV series review: Family Tree”

  1. Jack Frost says:

    Oh man, this sounds good! BTW, there’s a great doc about Nina Conti available at the library:, and I think it’s another Guest collaboration…

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