Roush Review: Freeform Reimagines ‘Party of Five’ With Brave Timeliness

Freeform/Gilles Mingasson

For anyone who remembers crying along with the Salingers, the orphaned family who held it together for six seasons on Fox (1994–2000), have I got a tearjerker for you. The creators of the original Party of Five have reimagined their series, updating it sensitively and with brave timeliness.

This is now the story of the Acostas, four siblings (plus baby Rafa) left to run a family restaurant and a household when the parents are arrested by ICE agents and deported to Mexico after 23 years in the U.S. “Heartbreak is anything but uncommon in these cases,” says a sorrowful judge. He’s not kidding.

The pain of separation, of only communicating via Skype and phone, is palpable as the overwhelmed family regroups. Eldest son Emilio (heartthrob Brandon Larracuente) gives up his music dreams — and, for a minute, womanizing — to move back in and look after his shattered sibs.

(Credit: Freeform/Nino Munoz)

Bookish Lucia (Emily Tosta) rebels in anger, twin Beto (Niko Guardado) is on academic probation and adorable Valentina (Elle Paris Legaspi) is too wracked by anxiety to sleep.

Life is no party for the Acostas, but when has a reboot ever felt so relevant?

Party of FiveSeries Premiere, Wednesday, Jan. 8, 9/8c, Freeform