Sullivan and Son (TBS) - Series Premiere: Synopsis and Review

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‘Sullivan and Son’ is TBS’s newest series. The show premiered on July 19th and will continue to air on Thursdays at 10/9c.

Update: 'Sullivan and Son' has been renewed for another ten episodes, after being one of the 25 top summer series, receiving an average of over 2.5 million viewers.

The series starts with Steve Sullivan (Steve Byrne), a corporate attorney in New York City, going from New York to his father’s birthday in Pittsburgh with his girlfriend. Here his father, Jack (Dan Lauria, ‘Independence Day’), announces that he's going to sell his bar, 'Sullivan and Son'. It upsets all the regular customers a lot, until someone says Steve, being the son, should take over. Steve’s girlfriend doesn't want him to stay, but he decides he should. Of course, his girlfriend goes back to New York.

The second episode shows Steve running the bar. He finds out his mother, Ok Cha (Jodi Long, ‘Miss Match’), has been paying off the health inspector. He refuses to do this, and the inspector finds a little issue with hand washing instructions. Consequently, the bar is shut down for a week. Ok Cha pushes Steve about how to run the bar, and they get into an argument. She decides they're moving out and will be moving in with Steve's sister Susan (Vivian Bang, ‘Yes Man’). Susan isn't very happy with this, because it seems her mother doesn't think she can do anything right.

With the bar closed, the regulars are confused about where to spend their time. When they sneak in the back room to drink, Steve realizes he can still make money by serving his customers in the back room. Susan goes over to the bar to get a gun to murder Ok Cha because she's driving her crazy, although it’s evident she isn’t really planning on doing this. Jack follows her and tells Steve he really needs to make things right with his mother. Steve refuses to do so. After his father and sister leave, the police come by the bar and find the customers in the back room, who just happen to be hosting a cockfight at that exact moment. Steve tries to make a deal with the officer, and gets arrested. Ok Cha comes to prison to talk to him, and somehow they come to an understanding. She pays his bail and the bar opens again.

I didn’t really like ‘Sullivan and Son’. The characters are shallow and one sided, and the series portrays Korean people as heartless, mercenary, stubborn and controlling. It doesn’t really provide great storylines either. However, if you just go along with the shallowness and stereotypical characters, you will be able to enjoy this series. It’s definitely not for me though.

What do you think of Sullivan and Son?

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Jools99 profile image

Jools99 4 years ago from North-East UK

The premise for this story sounds interesting enough but you seem unimpressed Robin. I will watch out for it on Sky Atlantic and see what I think when it gets over here to the UK. Good review, very interesting.


Robin Oatley profile image

Robin Oatley 4 years ago Author

Hi Jools,

You're right, I'm not very impressed. Maybe it's because the episodes have such a small storyline. (For instance, the first episode revolves solely around Steve saying he will take over the bar. And it was pretty clear he'd say yes, seeing as how he's the main character and the show is called 'Sullivan and Son', just like the bar.) It's just not very interesting. Perhaps it will change, but I can honestly say I have better things to do than wait for this show to get better storylines.

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