The Garcias is a next-generation reboot of the 2000-03 Nickelodeon sitcom The Brothers Garcia. Ray (Carlos Lacamara) and Sonia Garcia (Ada Maris) are now the elders in a massive family, with sons Carlos (Jeffrey Licon), George (Bobby Gonzalez), Larry (Alvin Alvarez) and daughter Lorena (Vaneza Leza Pitynski) all grown up with families of their own.
THE GARCIAS: STREAM IT OR SKIP IT?
Opening Shot: Looking at pictures of the Garcia family from 20 or so years ago, a girl’s voice says “If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a painting must be worth a million.”
The Gist: For now, some of the San Antonio-based Garcias are actually based in a massive beach house in Mexico. George, who with Carlos invests in apps that hilariously monitor bodily functions, has decided to give his activist daughter Victoria (Maeve Garay) a new phone, but both Victoria and her mom Ana (Nitzia Chama) are dismayed that he put a tracking app on it.
Meanwhile, Carlos, who has a great idea for a translation app that George doesn’t seem to want to listen to, has to also grapple with the fact that his older daughter Alexa (Trinity Jo-Li Bliss) wants to be an artist and not a scientist like younger daughter Andrea (Ayva Severy). It’s up to their mother, Yunjin (Elsha Kim) to make sure he doesn’t alienate Alexa with his non-artistic birthday present.
Back in San Antonio, Ray and Sonia are getting ready to go visit the family in Mexico, bringing Lorena’s son Max (Oliver Alexander) with them. She has to stay behind and work; she’s a weather forecaster for a local TV station, and when Ray interrupts one of her live remotes, she’s embarrassed at work by jerky anchor Conner Rascon (Jeremy Ray Valdez). It’s tough with her husband Julian (Paul Rodriguez Jr.) deployed overseas. Oh, and where’s Larry? He’s on the International Space Station.
What Shows Will It Remind You Of? As we said, The Garcias is a reboot of The Brothers Garcia, both of which are single-camera shows. Its feel is closer to other single-camera kidcoms of the era, like Lizzie McGuire, than guffaw-fest studio audience kidcoms of the time period.
Our Take: One of the original series’ creators, Jeff Valdez, created The Garcias along with Sol Trujilo, and the DNA of the original series is in this new one. It’s supposed to be light and warm, with conflicts that tend to resolve themselves during each episode. In a way, it’s a show that harks back to that aughts-age era of kid sitcoms, with the noted difference that the show had an all-Latinx cast and crew.
Because this is a next-generation reboot, however, with all the kids from the first version having kids of their own, the cast is pretty crowded. It’s great that the original six cast members are back, and they all seem to embody their parts well, though the whole “befuddled husband whose wife has to fix his mistakes” thing also feels like a throwback. But when you add spouses and kids, the show becomes huge and unwieldy. The main cast now numbers 13, and giving enough time to any of them feels like an impossible task.
What we wonder is if this is going to be about the kids, like other next-generation shows like Girl Meets World have been, or will it concentrate on the grown-up issues the used-to-be-kids face, more like the new version of Punky Brewster was. It can’t be both, not without such a sprawling cast. There’s a concern that, with so many characters to deal with, the kids will become adult-dialogue-spewing wise-alecks instead of real kids, and the broadness of having the dads having no authority within their own families will be enhanced.
What Age Group Is This For?: Despite the TV-PG rating, The Garcias is a show that kids 7 and up will enjoy.
Parting Shot: With the family gathered in the beach house (and on Zoom), Ray and Sonia tell everyone they want to stay in Mexico for awhile. When they say, “This is going to be a great two months!” a look of concern crosses Ana’s face.
Sleeper Star: We’ll give this to Maeve Garay, who play Victoria; she gulps down her grandpa’s “Atomic salsa” to prove to George that she’s old enough to not be tracked. But apparently it was just tomato sauce on top of the jar.
Most Pilot-y Line: All of the husbands say some variation of “Am I in trouble?” at some point during the episode. Listen, husbands and wives have disagreements all the time, but hearing grown men talk about being “in trouble” with their wives like they’re one of the children feels so retrograde it’s silly.
Our Call: STREAM IT. Despite the cumbersome cast and retrograde gags, The Garcias has the same warmth as The Brothers Garcia series, and should be a fun nostalgic watch for fans of the original show.
Joel Keller (@joelkeller) writes about food, entertainment, parenting and tech, but he doesn’t kid himself: he’s a TV junkie. His writing has appeared in the New York Times, Slate, Salon, RollingStone.com, VanityFair.com, Fast Company and elsewhere.