- 4 Seasons
Breeders is a comedy-drama television series that premiered on FX in 2020. The show follows the lives of a couple, Paul (Martin Freeman) and Ally (Daisy Haggard), who are struggling to raise their two young children, Luke and Ava, while also dealing with their own personal demons. The show is co-created by Simon Blackwell, Chris Addison, and Freeman himself and is directed by Ben Palmer.
The show begins with Paul and Ally, who are both in their 40s, trying to balance their busy lives as working parents while also making sure their children are taken care of. However, their efforts are often thwarted by the challenges of parenthood, which range from the mundane, such as potty-training, to the more serious, such as dealing with puberty and adolescence.
One of the standout aspects of the show is the chemistry between Freeman and Haggard. The two actors have a natural rapport that brings a level of authenticity to their portrayal of a couple struggling with the challenges of raising children. Their performances are both hilarious and touching, particularly when they confront the various ups and downs of parenthood.
The show's supporting cast is also excellent, particularly Alun Armstrong, who plays Paul's father, Michael. Michael is a cantankerous old man who often adds to Paul's stress, but also provides some much-needed humor. Joanna Bacon and Stella Gonet also stand out as Ally's mother, Leah, and sister, Sarah, respectively.
As the series progresses, the show examines a wide range of parenting issues, including the struggles of balancing work and family life, the challenges of disciplining children, and the fear of failing as a parent. However, it manages to do so in a way that is both funny and heartfelt, never losing sight of the fact that raising children is a difficult and often messy experience.
Another notable aspect of the show is its use of flashbacks. While flashbacks are often overused in television, in Breeders they are used sparingly and to great effect. They provide insights into the characters' pasts and help to deepen their relationships with each other.
Despite its often heavy subject matter, Breeders manages to be consistently funny. The show's humor is derived from the characters themselves, who are flawed and often frustrating, but ultimately endearing. The jokes come fast and furious, but never feel forced or overly cheesy.
One of the strongest episodes of the show's first season focuses on Paul's experience with depression. The episode is handled with surprising sensitivity, as it sheds light on the stigma surrounding mental health and the challenges of seeking help. Freeman's performance in this episode is particularly impressive, as he manages to convey the complexity of depression without resorting to melodrama.
Overall, Breeders is a standout show that manages to balance humor and heart while also confronting the challenges of parenthood head-on. The show's excellent performances, clever writing, and willingness to tackle serious issues make it a must-watch for anyone who has ever raised (or been) a child.
Breeders is a series that is currently running and has 4 seasons (40 episodes). The series first aired on March 2, 2020.