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'The Fosters' review: Teen soap with 2 moms

This undated image released by ABC Family shows,

This undated image released by ABC Family shows, from row from left, Maia Mitchell, executive producer Jennifer Lopez, Cierra Ramirez, from back left, David Lambert and Jake T. Austin from "The Fosters," premiering June 3 on ABC Family. Credit: AP

THE SHOW "The Fosters"

WHEN | WHERE Premieres Monday night at 9 on ABC Family.

WHAT IT'S ABOUT A one-hour drama about a multi-ethnic family mix of foster and biological kids raised by two moms (Teri Polo, "Meet the Parents" and Sherri Saum, "Rescue Me.")

Written by Bradley Bredeweg and "Queer as Folk" actor Peter Paige, "The Fosters" brings together fairly unconventional elements -- a foster family, two women heading a household -- and whips them into the perfect-for-ABC Family conventional mélange of soapy teen drama and issue-oriented storytelling. Jennifer Lopez is an executive producer, giving the show added promotional star power.

The blended family at the show's center includes Steph's biological son, Brandon (David Lambert), from a previous marriage, and the couple's adopted twins, Mariana (Cierra Ramirez) and Jesus (Jake T. Austin). Lena (Saum) is vice principal at a swanky charter school that sits on a California beach that all the kids attend. Their already hectic family life grows even more complicated when Lena brings home another stray, Callie (Maia Mitchell), a teen with an abusive past who has been in and out of foster homes.

MY SAY The pilot episode is a pretty entertaining and well-plotted introduction to the series. It breezily introduces the characters, conflicts and relationships and confronts reactions to all three head-on without treacle or mawkishness. For the most part, the scenarios feel real and there's a lived-in quality to the family and how they relate to one another.

BOTTOM LINE As teen soaps go, "The Fosters" is far from worthless in its initial outing. Now, it's up to the writers to make the show worth watching weekly.


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