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Blood is thicker than water: 8 great sets of TV siblings

As any good shipper knows, a blooming romantic relationship is often all it takes to make watching a show worthwhile. Sometimes, though, there is a different kind of chemistry between characters. There are strong friendships or familial connections that are just as compelling—if not more so—than the sexual ones.

Here, the EW Community takes a look at some of television’s most extraordinary sibling relationships and the reasons we love(d) to watch them.

Fiona and Lip Gallagher, Shameless


At its heart, Shameless is a show about loyalty and love. The six Gallagher siblings have grown up without parental guidance, with only each other to rely on. Among them, no bond is stronger than the one shared between the two oldest Gallaghers, Fiona (Emmy Rossum) and Lip (Jeremy Allen White). From the moment we met them, Lip and Fiona have been working together to take care of the younger kids. Some of the most beautiful and profound moments of the show have involved this complex relationship. Watching Lip’s image of Fiona crumble and his journey to ultimately accept her, flaws and all, was a highlight of a masterful fourth season. Now, in season five, they have returned to being each other’s biggest supports; it’s glorious to behold. There are many great reasons to tune in to Shameless, but the moments when Rossum and White share the screen are some of the biggest. —Tamar Barbash

Ben and Kate Fox, Ben and Kate


Ben and Kate, we hardly knew ye! Fox prematurely canceled this laugh-out-loud family comedy in its first season, which was a huge bummer—not only was the show a lovely mix of smart, funny, and sweet, but it was also home to one of my favorite TV brother-sister relationships of all time. Nat Faxon and Dakota Johnson completely nailed the sibling chemistry, and Ben and Kate’s relationship perfectly (and hilariously) balanced the love, frustration, competitiveness, and unwavering support that a strong sibling bond can have. As a gal with a multitude of brothers, it was refreshing to watch a show that used a fun brother-and-sister pairing as its core focus. I mean, who needs relationship drama when you can have an epic sibling scavenger hunt instead? —Maggie Fremont

Sarah, Cosima, Alison, and Helena, Orphan Black

BBC America

Sarah, Cosima, Alison, Helena. The true definition of sisters, the Orphan Black clones have a bond unlike any other on television. Though not always so quick to jump to each other’s rescue, each girl, meticulously and fantastically portrayed by Tatiana Maslany, has found a unique connection that bonds these girls for life. Together, they’ve discovered their origins, fought against the Dyad Institute, and risked their lives to save each other from enemies and illness. Not to mention, these girls have had a built-in brother in the form of Felix (Sarah’s foster brother and best friend to each). Now they’ve landed at a pivotal point in the show—but nature vs. nurture can’t stand in the way of the Orphan Black sisters and the true family they’ve become. —Erin Resnick

Chuck and Ellie Bartowski, Chuck


Chuck and Ellie’s mom left when they were kids, and their dad wasn’t really around after that before taking off himself. But their absent parents forced them even closer together, and they have one of the sweetest, most supportive sibling relationships on TV. They shared an apartment for years, and Ellie was always there for Chuck, encouraging him to better himself, but understanding when he couldn’t. Chuck did everything he could to protect his sister and her family from the dangers that came with his secret spy life. Plus, they created their own holiday—Mother’s Day in October—to acknowledge the day their mom left them, and the day they learned to depend on each other. —Samantha Swank

Nate, David, and Claire Fisher, Six Feet Under


The Fisher siblings, one of the most peculiar yet lovable families to ever grace TV, gave us five years of “Should I laugh or should I cry?” moments on the deeply emotional show Six Feet Under. Older brothers Nate (Peter Krause) and David (Michael C. Hall) inherit their family’s funeral home, and live there with their younger sister, Claire (Lauren Ambrose), and mother, Ruth (Frances Conway). Despite how it may sound, Six Feet Under was no Addams Family. Much of the show revolved around Nate, David, and Claire getting to know each other as adults, and learning to support each other through difficult times—such as when David was abducted, when Nate faced a tough diagnosis, or when Claire stole a foot from a body. Yes, a foot. —Ariel Kay

Mitchell and Claire Pritchett, Modern Family


I always think it’s great when a brother and sister can be best friends even when they’re grown and have families of their own. Mitchell and Claire have always represented to me what a relationship between adult siblings should be like. The two are different but kind of exactly the same. They’re a little uptight, and kind of control freaks. They each grew up with strained relationships with their parents, and each felt it was them against the world. But now that they’re grown, they realize how important their entire family is. So they make it a point to remain close siblings and close friends, and that’s what I like about them. —Cara Cooper

Oliver and Thea Queen, Arrow

The CW

Oliver and Thea have always been close, but Oliver’s secret identity drove a wedge between them. In season one, Oliver and Thea have to get to know each other again, after Oliver was presumed dead for five years. In season two, Thea distances herself from Oliver because he keeps the true identity of her father from her. In season three, Thea runs away. She hides from Oliver, trying to recover from the trauma of losing her mother and being lied to by her brother. Ultimately, Oliver lets Thea in and he tells her the truth. Everyone assumed Thea would push Oliver away once he came clean about being the Arrow, but she actually embraces him and thanks him for all the lives he has saved. Now they are teaming up for the ultimate fight, and their relationship couldn’t be stronger! It’s #TeamQueen, Oliver and Thea, versus the ultimate threat: Ra’s Al Ghul and the League of Assassins. —Lauren Gallaway

Meredith and Lexie Grey, Grey’s Anatomy


When Lexie Grey (Chyler Leigh) first arrived at Seattle Grace hospital, the last thing Meredith (Ellen Pompeo) wanted to do was be friends, much less sisters. Lexie, or “Little Grey,” as she was often called, was one of the daughters Meredith’s father had with his new wife after Meredith’s mother left him. Despite this strain on their relationship, Lexie’s persistence eventually wore Meredith down; they became both sisters and friends, helping each other through tough times and relationship drama. Meredith even donated a part of her liver to her father just because Lexie asked her to. It was heartbreaking when Lexie died in the plane crash. Although Meredith now has a new sister, it will never compare to the Meredith/Lexie sister pair. —Zakiya Jamal

Did your favorite TV siblings make the list? Tell us about it!

TV Families | EW.com
Mark Harris
February 23, 1990 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Bradys are back, with a passel of 90’s hassles. Do they represent the typical American Family? Did they ever? Who does? Stare and compare!

Kind Of Family
TheBradyBunch 1969-74: Blended
The Bradys 1990-: Enormous
Married…With Children 1987-: Postnuclear
Thirtysomething 1987-: Extended
The Flintstones 1960-66: Modern Stone Age

Family Pet
The Brady Bunch: Tiger
The Bradys: Alice
Married…With Children: Buck
Thirtysomething: Grendel
The Flintstones: Dino

Typical Guest Star
The Brady Bunch: Davey Jones
The Bradys: There’s no room
Married…With Children: Sam Kinison
Thirtysomething: Carly Simon
The Flintstones: Ann Margrock

Expression Of Joy
The Brady Bunch: Groovy!
The Bradys: Ritual hugging
Married…With Children: ”Oh, great.”
Thirtysomething: ”Of course I’m happy for you. Really. But what about me? Why does it always have to be about you?
The Flintstones: ”Yabba-dabba doo

Expression Of Rage

The Brady Bunch: ”Hmmm…”
The Bradys: ”If you back away from something you really want, then you’re a quitter!” (the angriest any Brady has ever been)
Married…With Children: ”Aaagh, God, take me from this miserable life!”
Thirtysomething: ”I’m not angry, OK?”
The Flintstones: ”Willllmaaaa!”

Typical Problem
The Brady Bunch: Marcia and her rival both want to be the prom queen.
The Bradys: Bobby gets paralyzed.
Married…With Children: Al doesn’t buy his family Christmas presents.
Thirtysomething: Nancy gets cancer.
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney are staying out too late.

Typical Solution
The Brady Bunch: The prom committee decides to have two queens.
The Bradys: Bobby gets married.
Married…With Children: They hate him.
Thirtysomething: If only we knew…
The Flintstones: Wilma and Betty decide to follow them.

House Style
The Brady Bunch: Conservative but mod, circa ’69
The Bradys: Conservative but mod, circa ’90
Married…With Children: Roach motel
Thirtysomething: Enviable
The Flintstones: Suburban cave

Clothing Style
The Brady Bunch: Early Osmonds
The Bradys: Made in the USA
Married…With Children: Flammable fabrics
Thirtysomething: Eclectic earth tones; nice ties
The Flintstones: One-piece

Most Annoying Character
The Brady Bunch: Alice’s cousin Emma, the substitute housekeeper (too strict)
The Bradys: Marcia’s husband, Wally (chronically unemployable)
Married…With Children: Steve (supercilious)
Thirtysomething: Ellyn (goes through Hope’s drawers, babbles, changes hairstyle every other week, generally mistreats her friends)
The Flintstones: Mr. Slate (bossy)

Attitude Toward Sex
The Brady Bunch: Never heard of it
The Bradys: Omigod — even Cindy does it!
Married…With Children: Peg: Yes. Al: No.
Thirtysomething: They didn’t get all those kids by accident.
The Flintstones: Prehistoric

How Spouses Fight
The Brady Bunch: They don’t.
The Bradys: Infrequently, but it happens
Married…With Children: Tooth and nail
Thirtysomething: They stop talking
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney go bowling while Wilma and Betty max out their charge cards.

How Kids Get Into Trouble
The Brady Bunch: Greg takes a puff of a cigarette.
The Bradys: Carol’s grandson steals her business cards and sticks them in the spokes of Bobby’s wheelchair.
Married…With Children: By committing felonies
Thirtysomething: Ethan plays with a forbidden toy rocket.
The Flintstones: They don’t.

How They’re Punished

The Brady Bunch: ”It’s not what you did, honey — it’s that you couldn’t come to us.”
The Bradys ”Next time, ask.”
Married…With Children: By the authorities
Thirtysomething: It blows up in his face.
The Flintstones: They’re not.

What Family Does For Fun
The Brady Bunch: Takes special three-part vacations to Hawaii and the Grand Canyon
The Bradys: Has flashbacks
Married…With Children: Exchanges insults
Thirtysomething: Talks
The Flintstones: Attends showings of The Monster at the Bedrock Drive-In

Unsolved Mysteries
The Brady Bunch: How exactly did Carol’s first husband and Mike’s first wife die?
The Bradys: What’s with Marcia’s new face and Bobby’s blonde hair
Married…With Children: What kind of hair spray does Peg use?
Thirtysomething: Why did Nancy take Elliot back? What do Gary and Susanna see in each other?
The Flintstones: How does Barney’s shirt stay on if he has no shoulders? Where do Fred and Wilma plug in their TV?

Worst Behavior
The Brady Bunch: The Brady children once made Alice feel under-appreciated.

The Bradys: Marcia’s son Mickey watches Bobby’s car-crash tape for fun.
Married…With Children: The Bundy’s kill their neighbor’s dog.
Thirtysomething: Elliot has an affair and talks about it.
The Flintstones: Characters don’t wear under-clothes.

Best Reason To Watch
The Brady Bunch: This is what life should be.
The Bradys: They’re all grown-ups now!
Married…With Children: Terry Rakolta hates it.
Thirtysomething (Tie) This is your life. This isn’t your life.
The Flintstones: This is what life might have been.

Best Reason Not To Watch
The Brady Bunch: Blurred vision from rerun overdoses.
The Bradys: You’re all grown-ups now.
Married…With Children: She has a point.
Thirtysomething: After a while, you think it’s real.
The Flintstones: The Simpsons

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