Some said "DSM" was loosely based on the Kennedy clan, but I think there was some Hearst family influence as well -- you know, the publishing dynasty. Heck, there was even a little channeling of Rupert Murdoch thrown in for balance, but what do I know?
This show moved a mile-a-minute, and if one did not pay attention, or -- God forbid! -- happened to miss an episode, then too bad, so sad, 'cause one missed some plot point. That was a draw of this show: it made us (me) want to tune in for the next episode. I quickly learned to TiVo each show so I could watch it again more carefully. The Darling family was just over-the-top, and I wanted to slap most of them on a regular basis. Poor Nick was definitely torn between family and clients, and didn't his father sound like a real jerk? As time went on, I went from having sympathy for Nick's wife to wanting to push her in front of a bus (no, not really). And I ended up hoping Karen Darling and Nick could make a go of it. The Darlings definitely put the "fun" in dysfunctional!
But as good as this show was - excellent dialogue, cool scenery, and great actors - it was hit very hard by that jackass Writers' Strike, from which it could no longer recover. By the time production on many shows had cranked up again, viewers had moved on, gotten DVDs from NetFlics or couldn't find their shows anymore. Perhaps the writers had a valid point, but they killed some very good TV shows and hurt a lot of people who were out of work while the studios were dark. We now have tons of idiotic Reality Shows that popped up during The Strike and will not go away. But I digress.
Even I, loyal viewer of DSM, had trouble picking up where they had left off. I thought Season One was better than Season Two. While it was a fast-paced show to begin with, Season Two seemed almost frantic and a big rushed. ABC did no one a service when they cancelled this show. It could have gone on to becoming even more entertaining, as did "Boston Legal", to name but one example. Oh well, it was fun while it lasted!