A drama series about undertakers shouldn't really be compelling drama, but when I heard that this was to be a drama about undertakers created by the writer of American Beauty and developed by HBO I took notice. Those pedigrees instantly suggest a great series and I am happy to say I am not disappointed. First of all this is television of almost redefining brilliance. The series is hard edged (some of the death scenes of the clients (i.e the guess characters whose funeral takes center stage of each episode) tends to be quite graphic, such as the auto-erotica asphyxiation scenario), the language frequently strong (the c-word has been uttered frequently) and there are many number of sexual scenes. However, unlike HBO's other golden child, The Sopranos, Six Feet Under may be undeniably adult fare, this is a series with heart and emotional integrity and is frequently very moving, but does so without dipping into the realms of sentimentality. Don't kid yourself if you haven't seen this series yet, we're not in made for television film territory here. This is dark stuff, full of disturbing dream sequences, downright strange dream sequences and sex of every kind (heterosexual and homosexual both get an equal look in here).
A great series would be nothing without great characters and Six Feet Under has them in abundance. The Fisher family are at the forefront of the story and each one has their inherent little pet foibles that mark them out as superb to watch. Nate is laid back and is starting a serious relationship with Brenda, his brother David is gay (for the first season heavily closeted), sister Clare is a teenager coping with peer pressure and boyfriend trouble, mother Ruth is severely insecure while father Nathaniel senior is, well, he's dead and his ghost shows up every so often to give guidance to his family, most often to David. Then there's Brenda, Nate's girlfriend who has a crazy, psychopath of a brother, and her subsequent problems with sex addiction. If this all sounds crazy, then you're right, Six Feet Under is crazy, but with television getting increasingly lazy by relying on formulaic reality television show, Six Feet Under is breath of fresh air. It's surreal, downright strange yet compelling and beautiful. The wonderful music score by Thomas Newman, the great scripts and wonderful direction, and let's not forget the fantastic Emmy nominated performances, all help to make this one of the most moving shows on television. The way that the family deal with the funeral at the heart of each episode and the way that the writers deal with the story makes Six Feet Under one of the most poignant shows on television today.
A series that is disturbing, puzzling but eventually moving, this is truly one of a kind.