Six Feet Under (TV Series 2001–2005) Poster


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Raw, personal conflict was never so mesmerizing
stonedonkies22 August 2005
Six Feet Under is meticulous, beautiful, daunting, and powerful. One way or another, it will connect with you, perhaps in places you didn't expect and aren't willing to expose. At times wrenching, at other times cathartic, but always staring back at you knowingly, this show stands head and shoulders above the advertising-driven fare that clogs network TV with mediocrity, token minorities, and jarring commercial breaks. It changed the way I view television, and I recommend it to anyone who's tired of the same old crap.

After watching the series finale (which I won't spoil, don't worry), I sat in bed, unable to sleep. After poring over everything I'd seen over the past season, it struck me that SFU is the most raw and personal television show I've ever seen. Even more, there are no stand-alone episodes for easy syndication. Every single installment is part of a huge puzzle, or a few more miles on the Fisher family's road. I've always found Peter Krause to be a disappointingly flat performer, which is unfortunate because his character anchors the show, but the other actors are often transcendent. Regardless, every one of them radiates with a sometimes painfully familiar pathos. The cinematography is also staggering sometimes, taken from film rather than typical 3-camera TV work. If that's not enough, the music they choose to score the episodes is almost symbiotic; it seems ingrained into the film itself, even when you know it was just licensed.

This is not really a family-friendly show, though, encompassing profanity, nudity, violence, drug use, "alternative lifestyles" ... So in other words, it's just like real life. And despite the interpersonal conflicts that fuel the narrative to the point of melodrama, the show isn't afraid to pause every once in a while and let the show communicate without dialogue.

I feel very gratified to have watched SFU, and I've never felt that way about any other show in the almost-27 years I've been alive. Hopefully it will start a trend, if only on premium cable.
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This Show Does The Impossible
alexkolokotronis1 February 2009
When using superlatives with this show it is totally fair. This show does something all other movies, shows, etc cannot do: it can safely apply any genre and still function as a deep and very entertaining show. As everybody episode goes by the show only becomes more addictive. It taps into almost every aspect of life. Every emotion is shown; love, hate, forgiveness, triumph and the list goes on and on. In fact this show depicts life the most realistically. The strangeness and peculiarity of the many themes perfectly displays the confusion in life and how it affects us. The show displays confusion in the clearest way making it almost impossible not to some how relate to the characters in the show. Not to mention also the series ends on one finest note you will ever see not just satisfying the viewer but taking the show to a level far and above anything else I have ever seen before. This show does the impossible twice over.
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Entrancing, confronting, charming, absolutely mindbending. Feels like an insult to call it television
automation2131 May 2002
And I rarely even watch television. I'm a book person.

Not since the "X-Files" has a TV show been so intriguing. Every time I watch an episode, I am struck back be depth of storyline, the intricate characters and the left-of-the-middle storytelling. I literally cannot control myself from discussing each new episode with (bored) family members.

SFU is a very introverted show - it resembles more a book or play than television. While the latter is extroverted and relies on events happening to characters (eg: the overboard emergencies of ER or the romances in soaps) to carry the story, Six Feet Under wants to communicate the deepest feelings and ideals of the people on screen. As a result, it not only stimulates the mind but also helps us analyse ourselves.

In the hands of any other creators, this would make for a very dull hour of suburban spirituality, but Allan Ball's menagerie of ghosts, (past characters influencing the present) trippy daydream sequences, surreal atmosphere and some wicked black humour make for a very entertaining show and sell what would otherwise be a marketing disaster to the masses. On top of that, every component from acting to directing to screenplay is flawless. (the dead boy's ghost in "a private life" still chills me to the bone).

Most, of all I admire the characters: some of the most complex and enchanting creatures ever to grace the idiot box. After a few episodes, they feel like a second family.

While I do have my complaints about the amount of obscenity, (I can swear that sometimes the writers want to offend us just for fun) I have to give my show the highest commendations. There are, of course, moments when I feel like throwing my chair at the television, but that is simply the consequence of watching a show that challenges me, rather than offer cheap amusement.

SFU may take a while to get into, but the rewards are bountiful.
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This moved me...please opinion
StevenCouras20 March 2009
I started watching this show cause it was on cable HBO on-demand a few months ago. I always heard good things about it. Plus I figured HBO has provided me with some of my favorite shows in the past few years (Entourage, The Sapranos, True Blood) so this should be pretty good.

The show came out while I was in college, where we had no cable since I lived on campus but my friends and stuff that went home on the weekends raved about this show.

So needless to say I gave it a try. I was hooked…every month HBO on demand would give us 7 new episodes and I would watch them all within the first 3 days.

4 months later I was up to the first half of season 4. Finishing those episodes pretty fast I went online and started watching the second half and all of season 5 online cause I could not stop, I was SO hooked.

I just finished watching the final episode… WOW.

This show came full circle and ended so perfectly. Watching all 5 seasons, I was moved. The final 8 minutes I watched 4 times cause it was done so well, I was moved… I lost a best friend of mine a year ago to a tragic accident. I think about her every day. Death has always scared me, its my biggest fear and watching this show sometimes made me go nuts with all the analyzing of death and life but I still watched and sometimes it made me feel better and gave me some perspective on the subject.

I really related a lot to the character of Nate. He reminds me of me in a lot of ways and I liked Clair also but towards the end of the series I fully understood each character, their pain, their lives, everything… I have family and friends just like them, we all do.

This show really captures life. The bad and the good… and the really bad…and the moments in between.

I am 26 years old, and I don't think their will ever be another show like this on TV ever again. I am even a little bit sad that I wont be keeping tabs on the Fisher family and their friends ever again now that the show is over.

"Everyone, Everything, Everywhere, ends" and so did Six Feet Under.

Thank you to the writers, producers, director, and actors for making this important show about life and death. It helped me in some ways with my own views on death and life…Thank you.
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Excellent, one of the best shows I've ever seen.
Bgb2178 May 2002
It's hard to describe to those who haven't watched this brilliant show what it's like. Six Feet Under is simply in my opinion, the best hour on television, and one of the best shows ever. Of all time. Brilliantly written, brilliantly told, brilliantly acted, brilliantly brilliant. I've never used brilliant so much in a review before.

First off, it's a show about a very real family, with very real issues to deal with. The family, who have just recently lost the father consists of the mother Ruth, two sons Nate and David, and sister Claire. The two brothers run the business prviously owned by the father, a funeral parlor. I just love this show. There is not a single bad actor on the show, in every role. The family is probably one of the most real ever portrayed on TV, the characters being all easily relatable to, I myself can relate to two of them in particular. It's fresh, at times funny, at times sad, at times everything. Every single actor is amazing in their roles from Brenda to David to Keith to Ruth to Frederico to everybody. And the story lines are just so brilliant, dealing with life and it's purpose, seen throught the eyes of these people who work with death in a funeral home. It's just amazing.

I could rave on and on for hours about how great this show is and how much I love it, but I have to stop sometime. If you haven't yet watched Six Feet Under please do yourself a favor and do. I love it and it's one of my all time favorite shows. Simply, yes, you guessed it, brilliant.
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Free Therapy
plumberguy6626 March 2002
As I was reading through the comments about Six Feet Under I was struck by how many people expressed how this series made them FEEL. And how many people admitted to tearing up or even crying while watching the show. I admit I have done the same.

From the very beginning …no before that… From the moment I heard that Six Feet Under was created by Alan Ball, I knew I would like this show. I figured how could the maker of American Beauty go wrong? Boy am I glad I figured that.

To some degree I can relate to all of the characters on the show. And that speaks volumes because all of the characters on the show are kinda messed up in the head. And that is what I think speaks to so many people. I mean before Donahue was the most popular show on TV, I don't think most Americans even knew the word ‘dysfunctional' as applied to the family unit. Then it seemed a badge of honor to wear. And it was ok to go about telling people that you are from a dysfunctional family just to be ‘in'. Now after all this time and openness about our dysfunction, we begin to see how very much alike we all are. And that I feel is one of the binding elements of the watchers to this program. We sit each week and watch, basically, a part of ourselves work through personal issues, prejudices and shortcomings. Not always pretty, not always successfully but always openly, to us, the viewers. For me, to watch these characters struggle through some of their problems (which usually make mine look like a day at the beach) and let us come along with them to learn about their weaknesses and fallibilities and humanness is a lot like therapy for me. And in the end it only costs the subscription rate for HBO (no, I don't work for them).

I have never been that attached to the boob-tube (my father's word for the television) before. I have never had a reason to be. The programs that where on never more that mildly held my attention until now. I HATE commercials, I think they speak down to the public. So now I have no excuses and for that I am grateful.

Bottom line: I'm looking forward to the next few sessions… uhm I mean seasons. That's my take, what's yours?
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The Greatest Show I've Ever Seen
cmelleno1 December 2006
Warning: Spoilers
It took me six months to watch the last season of Six Feet Under...because I couldn't bear for it to end. Finally, my ex-husband, who'd seen it, volunteered to watch the last show with me so I could get on with grieving its loss...knowing I'd never see these characters (I mean people) again, their incredible lovely, funky, quirky, unpredictable, moving, funny, loving interactions. Somehow, sitting down with that show made me feel at home in myself and I love myself more for it. So, tonight, I saw the last episode and I'm here because I needed to tell someone...I miss it, I love it, I'm sad, I'm better for it. Thank you Alan Ball and everyone connected with making it happen.

Well, that's what I wrote last night. This morning I'm beside myself and I think this is the best place for me to talk about it (I see my therapist on Monday and of course will discuss it then). I don't know many people who've watched SFU. Many of my friends fear seeing it and my clients who've seen it -- sometimes due to my recommendation -- didn't want to "spoil" it for me and it's really not appropriate to bring it up, "hey, I just saw the last episode of SFU and I'm crying all the time." About an hour ago I realized that I saw everyone I love on SFU die. That's a lot to deal with. I'm flooded with thoughts and feelings about these characters and my own life. My past is churning up inside of me and I wish my mother was still alive to talk to and to comfort me. I'm really sad. I hope other people will write about their experience of the show, what it has meant to them, not just review it. It is brilliant television...the actors are beyond the beyond...blah, blah, blah, but the real change, the surge, the action is what's happening inside of me. How about you?

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Absolute Perfection
DSchrute18 June 2008
Having just watched the series finale I sit here at my work desk unable to cope with the "real world". What can I find now that will fill the void left by this deeply moving and profound masterpiece?

SFU deals with many taboo life events and leaves one with a sense of empathy and sheer admiration at how beautifully the writers roll up their sleeves and sully their hands with topics such as incest and drug abuse.

Having recently experienced the death of my own father I can honestly say SFU invoked feelings and emotional responses that I didn't realise I was capable of experiencing. I would even go as far to say it has helped me identify and ultimately cope with my own loss.

Superb characters, inspired story lines and a thoughtful soundtrack make SFU easily the best TV programme I have ever watched (and I have watched a lot of TV in my 30 odd years).

I make no apologies when I raise my hand to my heart and honestly state that watching SFU has put a new perspective on my life and made me a better person.

Congratulations America for making this superbly refreshing and often dark masterpiece.
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The Complete First Season Review - Superb
morphion22 November 2005
Screenwriter Alan Ball is most well-known for his 1999 film debut American Beauty (directed by another first-timer, England's Sam Mendes). His first work was a stunning success, captivating audiences all over the world and winning five Academy Awards. In 2001, the pilot for Ball's first television series Six Feet Under aired. While being considerably darker than audiences might have expected, the series soon found its fan base and secured a place in the list of all time greats.

The show revolves around the Fishers, a rather isolated and dysfunctional family who run their own independent funeral home, and whose eldest son Nate (Peter Krause) is reunited with them in the wake of his father's untimely death. Once he is home, Nate learns that he has inherited the family business with his gay brother David (Michael C. Hall) and he has to learn how to again become a part of this bizarre family. Meanwhile, David, we learn, is struggling to reconcile his homosexuality with his home-taught Christian values, while his younger sister Claire (Lauren Ambrose) is forced to battle the hell of adolescence and the children's mother Ruth (Frances Conroy), a deeply devoted mother and wife, has to learn to face life without her husband. The complete first season sees the growth of the Fisher family as they slowly begin to disband their isolation and seek comfort, support and love from one another in the face of hardships and tragedy.

Six Feet Under is what every show should strive to be – it is intelligent, witty, sincere, realistic and completely unashamed to show the dark, painful side of life, without being depressing or nihilistic. It deals with an unfathomable amount of very significant issues, but on such a personal and relatable level that it doesn't even begin to feel preachy or self-important. It explores society's position on gays, women, young people, the elderly, the mentally ill and looks very openly at religion and death. A series of this standard is a surprise even from the production company that brought us Angels in America and The Sopranos.

One of the most fundamental principles for engaging an audience is to present engaging characters. Six Feet Under is a prime example: each character we're introduced to does take some getting used to, but all are wonderfully rich and complex and three-dimensional, balanced nicely by each other. Not only the Fishers but all their friends, acquaintances and lovers are well-developed, highly-involved and important to the show in its many layers. Nate's girlfriend Brenda (Rachael Griffiths) and her manic-depressive brother Billy (Jeremy Sisto), David's boyfriend Keith (Mathew St. Patrick) and the Fishers' Puerto Rican employee Rico (Freddy Rodriguez) are all fantastic characters that do far more than just complement the show's funeral home family.

Alan Ball is a truly gifted writer and an even more amazing artist; his ability to create such a delightfully unique environment and then to build on that environment to such incredible heights is nothing short of genius. His signature style of dark humor is one of the best things about Six Feet Under; even in a show about such somber and sometimes even morbid material, laughter is not uncommon, as he is able to recognize that there is more to life than pain. Ball has, within 2 short years, proved that he is one of Hollywood's most talented minds, and we can all look forward to further work from him.

More than any other television series in history, Six Feet Under is able to connect with its audience on a raw and emotional level that makes the sentimental soap operas of prime time television look like badly acted school plays. Joining the ranks of the most intelligent and heartfelt shows of today, it can rest assured that it will be remembered in the world of tomorrow as one of the most innovative and poignant shows of all time.
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The greatest show in the history of television. Warning: Spoilers
Although it is dead and buried, at least physically, Six Feet Under lives on as simply one of, if not, the greatest television show of all time. Event television is something that doesn't come along very often but the likes of Twin Peaks, The Sopranos and Six Feet Under are perfect examples of 'must see TV'.

The perfect combination of humour and tear jerking emotion, Six Feet Under brings with it a legacy of creating television that you don't just watch. You live it. These characters became YOUR family. We all wanted to shake some sense into Nate when he began spiralling out of control in the third seasons thrilling climax, we all desperately wanted Keith and David to get together and stay together during the second season, and we felt for Ruth as she dealt with borderline depression and agonising loneliness during the fifth season.

These are just a few of the dozens and dozens of complicated, beautiful and thought-provoking plot threads that weaved in and out of the Fisher family and their extended families.

It showed us death was something that happened and it wasn't anything to be scared of. It allowed us a glimpse into the lives of a few very special people. It gave us a sense of belonging that very few if any television shows can bring us.

To this day, over a year since the final ever episode aired, a masterpiece in itself, there is not one day that goes by that I don't think about and wish I could still visit with my friends the Fishers and spend some quality time with some old friends.

R.I.P. Six Feet Under 2001 - 2005
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Magnificent and Compelling.
eamon-hennedy4 February 2004
Warning: Spoilers
A drama series about undertakers shouldn't really be compelling drama, but when I heard that this was to be a drama about undertakers created by the writer of American Beauty and developed by HBO I took notice. Those pedigrees instantly suggest a great series and I am happy to say I am not disappointed. First of all this is television of almost redefining brilliance. The series is hard edged (some of the death scenes of the clients (i.e the guess characters whose funeral takes center stage of each episode) tends to be quite graphic, such as the auto-erotica asphyxiation scenario), the language frequently strong (the c-word has been uttered frequently) and there are many number of sexual scenes. However, unlike HBO's other golden child, The Sopranos, Six Feet Under may be undeniably adult fare, this is a series with heart and emotional integrity and is frequently very moving, but does so without dipping into the realms of sentimentality. Don't kid yourself if you haven't seen this series yet, we're not in made for television film territory here. This is dark stuff, full of disturbing dream sequences, downright strange dream sequences and sex of every kind (heterosexual and homosexual both get an equal look in here).

A great series would be nothing without great characters and Six Feet Under has them in abundance. The Fisher family are at the forefront of the story and each one has their inherent little pet foibles that mark them out as superb to watch. Nate is laid back and is starting a serious relationship with Brenda, his brother David is gay (for the first season heavily closeted), sister Clare is a teenager coping with peer pressure and boyfriend trouble, mother Ruth is severely insecure while father Nathaniel senior is, well, he's dead and his ghost shows up every so often to give guidance to his family, most often to David. Then there's Brenda, Nate's girlfriend who has a crazy, psychopath of a brother, and her subsequent problems with sex addiction. If this all sounds crazy, then you're right, Six Feet Under is crazy, but with television getting increasingly lazy by relying on formulaic reality television show, Six Feet Under is breath of fresh air. It's surreal, downright strange yet compelling and beautiful. The wonderful music score by Thomas Newman, the great scripts and wonderful direction, and let's not forget the fantastic Emmy nominated performances, all help to make this one of the most moving shows on television. The way that the family deal with the funeral at the heart of each episode and the way that the writers deal with the story makes Six Feet Under one of the most poignant shows on television today.

A series that is disturbing, puzzling but eventually moving, this is truly one of a kind.
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One of the best show's of all time
bbgrl9317 October 2018
This is by far one of the best shows I've seen. As with every show, there were a few episodes that were dry but overall it was really good and I couldn't resist binge watching episodes! The shows final finale was by far one of the best I've ever seen, couldn't help but shed some tears. They tie everything together perfectly, I would deff rewatch this series
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Even more profound almost 20 years later
aabonander27 January 2021
I watched Six Feet Under when it originally aired on HBO. Hard to believe that was almost 20 years ago. At the time I remember thinking this was the best thing I'd ever seen on television. It was too good for television. It just transcended anything I had ever seen. Over the years I've recommended the show to countless others. After recommending it to another friend recently I decided to rewatch the show. I finished the series in less than two weeks and it is still one of the best things I've ever seen on TV. The effect this show has on me is even more profound today than it was the first time I watched it. This show punches you in the gut. It makes you think. It makes you reflect. It makes you question your choices. It makes you evaluate life. A lot of incredibly great television series have come along since Six Feet Under originally aired but none of them will hit you as deep as this show.
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Arguably the best hour on television.
TuckMN29 April 2002
Warning: Spoilers
From the haunting opening strains of the incredible theme music by Thomas Newman (part of The Fabulous Newman Boys, Alfred, Lionel, Emil, David and Oscar-winner Randy -- probably the most talented Hollywood musical family ever) to the scene of the death that will be this week's ‘client' of the Fisher family funeral home you know that you are in for a different type of viewing experience.

The amazing Alan Ball has put together a staggering ensemble of actors, directors, writers, photographers and editors that, without fail, present one of the finest hours on television. The make-up department deserves a special commendation for the work they do on the sometimes horribly mutilated ‘corpses' of the ‘clients.'

Peter Krause (Nate Fisher) who did such an excellent job in `Sports Night' and worked with Mr. Ball before in `Cybill' is the reluctant head of the family mortuary business. He carries the huge burden of having a potentially deadly problem with the vascular system in his brain -- and like all the Fishers -- is reluctant to share the information with the people in his life that most need to know...

Specifically his fiancée, Brenda Chenowith, Golden Globe winner Rachel Griffiths, who most Americans were introduced to in the Australian film `Muriel's Wedding.' Brenda has her own secrets -- not the least of which is the effect that one of her massage clients -- a prostitute -- seems to be having on her.

Lauren Ambrose (Claire Fisher) continues to grow weekly as a character. She is fiercely independent and just as unwilling to share her life with her family as the rest of the Fisher clan. Her bitingly satirical look at the world she grew up in comes out in her language and her on-line screen name: ICDeddPeople. (There actually is an AOL profile for that screen name which adds to the verisimilitude of her character.)

Which of course brings us to David (Michael C. Hall) the gay son and real heart of the family. David has his own demons. Occasional drug use, unsafe sex and the need to be loved for who he is -- of course following in the family trait of not telling anyone about who he really is and what consumes him.

These myriad pieces, strong characters and outstanding production values all come together brilliantly under the firm hand of Mr. Ball and provide a fascinating look into a life that we all know exists but most of us have never explored.

The tag line says it all: `Your whole life is leading up to this...'
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Best Show EVER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
alabuszewski00319 January 2005
Oh my God, where do I start. This show is so amazingly awesome. I loved it after the first episode. The plot is so thick and rich. The character development is immense. It's like watching a one hour movie. Hell, it's better than most movies. The twist and turns and the ironies make you cry for more when the show is over. And I don't know, but I love the style of everything in the show. Brenda's apartment and the decorating, the whole show has this west coast down to earth natural but not stinky hippie contemporary modern ambiance. It's just a great show and it is pleasing to the eye in the process. I'm sad to hear there is just one more episode. But I will def. buy the DVD's even though I've seen all the shows!!
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So hard to say goodbye to it
rebelliousjf31 August 2020
I just finished it and I'm in tears. One of the best shows out there, because everything looks so real, everybody cries, even men very often, everybody argues all the time, everybody hates themselves from time to time, there's not always a happy ending, and acceptance is very hard, relationships are very hard, finding, discovering yourself is so overwhelming, working on yourself is even harder, all of which are captured so spectacularly real. I've enjoyed it so much, it's so hard to say goodbye to it. It's like letting go of a loved one. I am so thankful for this show, I'm going to go cry myself to sleep.
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A masterful look at life through death
MaxBorg892 August 2008
For five years Six Feet Under entranced, entertained and moved audiences all over the world with its black humor, sharp characterization and flawless cast. It is now justly remembered as one of the best programs in television history, and can undoubtedly be considered HBO's masterpiece, hand in hand with The Sopranos - that's how groundbreaking its five seasons and 63 episodes were and still are.

The show was created by Alan Ball, the Oscar-winning writer of American Beauty, and it is easy to see how SFU is Beauty's small-screen companion piece: they're both poignant, funny, original studies of traditional American values and families gone wrong, two pitch-perfect satires that hit the target with unprecedented accuracy, unafraid to use foul language, sex, drugs and - a truly brilliant choice, this - dream sequences to achieve their goal.

What the Burnhams did on the big screen, the Fishers do on the small: they appear to be normal, but are really too dysfunctional to even accept themselves. Of course, "normality" is a bit of an odd concept when your house is a funeral parlor and you spend day after day comforting strangers while wearing a mask of thinly veiled hypocrisy.

From that situation Ball got the premise of the show: what if one day you had to bury a family member? When Nathan Samuel Fisher Sr. (Richard Jenkins), owner of Fisher & Sons, is run over by a bus in the first scene of the series, the rest of the family slowly falls apart: the adulterous widow Ruth (Frances Conroy) is overcome by guilt; the eldest son, Nate Jr. (Peter Krause) is forced to reluctantly join the business; his brother David (Michael C. Hall) is completely dedicated to the family trade, but also gay and a bit awkward when he has to express his feelings; and the youngest sibling (Claire) has a thing for experimenting with drugs and dating the wrong boys. Helping them, or possibly not, in their attempts to cope with the new situation, are Federico Diaz (Freddy Rodriguez), who embalms the corpses over at Fisher & Sons, Keith Charles (Mathew St. Patrick), an African-American police officer who is dating David, and Brenda Chenowith (Rachel Griffiths), Nate's girlfriend, who has to deal with a twisted brother of her own, the mentally disturbed Billy (Jeremy Sisto).

Six Feet Under was an essential tool in dealing with one of the biggest taboos in television: death. Every Single episode begins with someone biting the dust, often in a darkly comic way (the porn-star who gets electrocuted by her cat in the fifth episode comes to mind). Subsequently, the Fishers have to arrange the burial, and in most cases the departed come back in ghostly form to offer advice (the most notable case is that of Nathaniel Fisher himself, who pops up regularly in all five seasons). Many people were shocked by the almost grotesque tone of the series (the pilot episode even had fake commercials for funeral products), but what they failed to understand is that Six Feet Under deals with death as a means to celebrate life. To fully embrace existence implies that at some point one must also discuss the end of it all, and like Alfred Hitchcock used to say in his own TV series, what better way to face death than with a smile on your face? In its own, twisted way, this show confirmed that once again laughter is the best medicine.

That doesn't mean the series should be mistaken for a full-on comedy, though: like stablemate The Sopranos, Six Feet Under remains, at its core, a pure American tragedy, the black humor being there just as a partial relief from the bleaker events occurring throughout the show's five-year run. The drama is perfectly served not just by the outstanding writing, but also, fundamentally, by the actors: Krause and Hall received most of the early praise, the former for acting as the audience's guide into the Fishers' twisted world, the latter for playing a believable, three-dimensional gay person, as opposed to the deliberately excessive and flamboyant characters depicted in another HBO hit, Sex and the City. The truth is, everyone gives their best, both the show's regulars (Rodriguez and Griffiths in particular) and the magisterial guest stars, including Patricia Clarkson, Lili Taylor, James Cromwell and Kathy Bates (who also directed a few episodes, like Steve Buscemi in The Sopranos).

With its unique perspective on life and death, which was controversially amusing and surprisingly serious at the same time, Six Feet Under stands out as one of the edgiest, most brilliant and thought-provoking products American TV has ever spawned, a series whose reflection on the American way of life has few rivals in any artistic category.
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Mandatory viewing for all humans
I discovered this show super late so i know everything I have to say has probably been said by now but wow this is my favorite show of all time sorry game of thrones /: Somehow its both the funniest and saddest show i've ever seen.. no other series has played with my emotions like this.. maybe bojack or shameless but if you like dark humor and real, gritty drama like those then watch this
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No exaggeration to call it a masterpiece
gus1209706 November 2005
Warning: Spoilers
Now that Six Feet Under is complete, it can be viewed as a totality. Whether just a convenient way of bookending 5 seasons of television, the arc of the show's narrative - starting with the death of a family patriarch and the reassembly of a family; and effectively ending with the death of his son five years later and its dispersal, provides a satisfying moral and narrative symmetry which cuts across plot line and cliffhanger devices used to propel and sustain commercial television shows. Six Feet Under had indeed completed its artistic mission of staring death solidly in the eye and viewing its from almost every conceivable angle.

There is nothing more prosaic, yet unfathomable in human existence than death. Life often consists of so many explorable, yet unrealised elements, whereas death is impenetrable but utterly inevitable.

Attempting to say anything meaningful and original about the subject within the medium of television, with its time-slices, ad breaks and audience considerations is brave. To do it consistently, across 63 episodes, and collaboratively, is arguably, an artistic triumph.

Television is devalued as an artistic medium. At best it is seen as a transmission medium for the cinematic form outside the cinema.

But the character and philosophical development made possible across 63 hours of storytelling is not possible within the structure of the feature film or theatre.

In that sense television is a valid medium with unique potential that perhaps 'Six Feet Under' has realised for the first time in its history.

Is it hyperbole to draw a parallel to Mozart's unlocking of the potential of the orchestra in the same way? Television is probably as far away from high art in the hierarchy of human expression as it is possible to get, but future times may think differently.

I am confident that even as far ahead as 200 years, the very best contemporary television will still be watched and treasured, and Six Feet Under will be one of those treasures.
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The best show ever!
PoisonKeyblade1 February 2008
Warning: Spoilers
Six Feet Under, HBO's most accomplished and consistently excellent show, ended a little more than two years ago. So why review the show, and learn about it now? Six Feet Under is much more than it seems. A rich show with several layers, it's all about people living their lives, making discoveries about themselves, and of course some drama, romance, and suspense thrown in for good measure. Not only is the show the best and most amazing show in television history, but it is also an incredible portrayal of human life and what it means to live. We live, we die, and the world keeps moving on. Six Feet Under is all about life and loss and all of the emotions, horrors, and realization that come with it. It is at times depressingly realistic, but it can also be beautifully true. There are so many beautiful things in this world, and if you just look or listen, you can find them. You can take joy in your life and make it worth living.

The dialogue, the writing, and the acting make this show a real treasure, and there isn't a single flimsy patch in this perfectly built house. Every time a character has an argument or gives a big speech, everything is just perfectly laced with dark humor and an often cynical approach to life that everyone can openly relate to. We've all lost people that we care about, and we all have to move on. All of these situations and interactions seem so entirely human and possible that they really pull you in with their hard-hitting content. Which is also to say that this show doesn't hold anything back. It's raw. It's mean. It's real. There are practically no boundaries because that's exactly what life is; it's a big roller coaster ride of breaking rules, learning lessons, making mistakes, meeting new people, and new experiences. This show never teaches and preaches: it tells it like it is, and doesn't bother with subtlety.

After the oldest member of the family, Nathaniel Fisher (Richard Jenkins), is killed suddenly in a car crash, all of the Fisher family is brought together under the strangest of circumstances. The family is very off-beat and bizarre, and each member lives (or lived) in the family house, a very large funeral home. There is: Ruth Fisher (Frances Conroy), caring, troubled mother who is still not sure what pleases her; Nate Fisher (Peter Krause), oldest son who was coming home for the holidays when tragedy struck; David Fisher (Michael C. Hall), closeted homosexual who takes over the family business in the wake of Nathaniel's tragedy; and Claire Fisher (Lauren Ambrose), quirky young high school student who becomes obsessed with photography. And of course, there is Federico Diaz (Freddy Rodriguez), facial restoration expert who works at the funeral home, Brenda Chenowith (Rachel Griffiths), a woman Nate meets in the first episode and becomes extremely attached to, and Keith Charles (Matthew St. Patrick), David's boyfriend and a mysterious figure to the rest of the family. The show is all about the budding family business, losing a loved one, Nate's reluctance to embrace his family, and David's reluctance of coming out, along with much more.

The show is host to a series of spectacular performances from the likes of Michael C. Hall and Lauren Ambrose to the underrated Rainn Wilson and Peter Krause. Most of these episodes are filled to the brim with such heady emotional drama that if the wrong actors were participating, the show would be a total wreck. There are so many fantastical opportunities and guest appearances, and there were some truly amazing episodes every week. The people with smaller roles are even spectacular, and the ones that come in later in the series are simply to die for. Some of my favorite smaller-role characters: Bettina, played by Kathy Bates; Maggie, played Tina Holmes, Gabe, played by Eric Balfour; and Jimmy played by Peter Facinelli. It is also of note that nearly every cast member in any given episode contributes to the altogether perfect and realistic quality of this series.

Six Feet Under might have ended in 2005, but its relevance to society and culture will probably not fade for quite some time. It remains the best show of all time simply because it was consistently superb, with not a single bad episode. The writing was the very best and there were constant references to previous seasons. With the finale, everything came full circle and we are left to reflect on our lives and the entire series. Each scene is so rich with detail and the final ten minutes are just stunning. After seeing this finale, this show truly moved from being extremely excellent to being the best show ever. After watching through the series twice now, it has become all the better because of the season finale. The characters are just so perfect and they are given what can only be described as extremely satisfying conclusions. There has arguably never been a more thought-provoking, realistic, moving, spectacular scene in the history of television. If you're a lover of Six Feet Under, here are some amazingly good recommendations: check out Dexter, Queer as Folk, Nip/Tuck, and Heroes.
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You Will Find Its Rewards Owed No More Than a Handful of Superlatives That Do Justice
jzappa4 January 2009
Warning: Spoilers
Alan Ball's Peabody-winning seriocomic five-season saga is about a family with a particular blessing in disguise. Three siblings have spent their childhoods growing up with death ceaselessly in their home. And as a part of the business of death, they are on the receiving end of the grief and shock of murders, diseases, accidents and old age suffered by the loved ones of complete strangers (mostly). Each episode, save a baby's handful of significant ones, opens with the death of any given person, caused by anything from gang shootings or heart attack to too much LSD, and that death generally sets the pitch for its episode, pressing the characters to consider their present fortunes and hardships in a manner that is clarified by the death and its aftermath.

Their customers' loved ones sprawled out in their birthday suits in the basement, which for decades has never had a break from the presence of lifeless rotting corpses with which the Fishers and their frustrated reconstructionist Rico become intimately acquainted during the exhuming process. This is the last environment in which most people---really, all people like Nathaniel Fisher, Sr.'s wife and children---would ever want to live their lives. However, they learn more about the realities of the world's two biggest fears, life and death, than the rest of us will ever confront. How does your old friend from high school run over himself? How does one deal with never knowing how and why your husband, wife, daughter, son, mother, father died so suddenly? The situations, circumstances, philosophies and moral dilemmas are endless.

The catch-22 is that even though the Fishers and those close to them are reasonably wiser, they are not all necessarily stronger. Some become more reticent, or more resigned, or face more and more demons, or they cannot seem to do anything that doesn't feel like a waste of their time to exist.

To a significant degree, the show is a square family drama, taking in hand such concerns as relationships, betrayal, and religion. In chorus, it is a show characterized by its unwavering spotlight on the upsetting matter of death. This notably Bergmanesque melodrama also has a pungent dose of black comedy, the element of surprise, unexpected juxtapositions and non- sequiturs. Time and again watching the show, one is shocked by its admirable run on the American air. US audiences don't tend to seek out shows in their free time about their worst fears, dealt with in heavy symbolic and cerebral ways and wracking you with longing, rage and tears. But the show is one of the healthiest, most cathartic things you could do in front of the television set. It makes you accept death. It causes you to reflect on the pros and cons of one's own situation just as the Fishers do every day. I, for one, am frequently bothered by the ambivalence of purpose to existence as a whole, and, while many would much rather escape into the worlds of Monk, Bones, Psych and other fluffy shows, I feel comforted by the likeminded company of these self-reflexive characters and their journeys through fatalism, existentialism, epiphany, joy and pain, especially when they do not belong to a commonly sensationalized world like crime or policework or sports. Rather, they are what many TV viewers I know would find repellant as characters to face each week. And these characters know this.

There is not only a lot of tremendous talent but tremendous wisdom at work in this show, from the cast of both actors I already knew, like Rachel Griffiths, Freddy Rodriguez, James Cromwell, Patricia Clarkson and Kathy Bates, and remarkable actors I was just discovering, like Peter Krause, Michael C. Hall, Lauren Ambrose, Frances Conroy and Matthew St. Patrick, to the out-of-the-box master writers, Nancy Oliver and the show's Oscar-winning creator Ball.

There are times when this show seems to drag, as surreal and genre-bending as it relentlessly is. Griffiths seems to always be having sex with someone. Lauren Ambrose indulges every narcissistic or pretentious pitfall of her, and my, generation. No one can seem to escape tactless, unpredictable pain and pain never seems to escape anyone's addicted control. Just know that if you persist till the show's finale, you will find its rewards owed no more than a handful of superlatives that do justice.
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An absolute master piece
audreyheler8 June 2018
This show explores the taboos of death, sex, drug and religion in a very sensitive and realistic way. We quickly get attached to the characters that seem strong but hide their weaknesses resorting to extreme behaviours. What I enjoyed the most about it is that we never see the limit between the imagination of the characters and the reality, until it is revealed to us. I do must report that, in spite of all its quality, I got a bit bored during season 3 because of one character. Without wanting to give any spoiler, be prepared to cry in the end...
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A masterpiece in television
adastrame4 October 2005
Warning: Spoilers
This is probably one of the best TV Shows ever. It's a pity that it's already over. There were 5 Seasons with each 13/12 Episodes á one hour. The Pilot introduces us to the Funeral Home 'Fisher & Sons' and the Fisher family who is hit with the tragedy of losing their father, husband and funeral home owner Nathaniel Fisher in a car accident.

After his death Ruth, goes on a journey to find herself and goes through a lot of trouble while doing that. She has several affairs, but somehow she doesn't seem to find anything to make her content, and she's always having a hard time.

The oldest son Nate lived in Seattle but after his father's death he stays in LA and becomes a funeral director himself, which he swore never to become in his youth. Eventually he's beginning to like his 'new' job. He has a wild relationship with Brenda Chenowith who is a very complex person, raised by Therapists and over-analyzed as a child, she is just longing for a normal life.

The middle son David is deeply ashamed of being gay, which causes a lot of trouble in his relationship with his lover Keith in the first season. After his father's death he is the head of the funeral home, assisted by their employee Rico who makes up the dead.

The youngest is Claire, she has a 'thing for sociopaths' and during the show she starts to go to art school, she wants to become an artist and she really does quite a lot of nice artwork. She's on drugs a lot, which the others are occasionally too.

The show lives a lot of it's little 'dreams', 'ghosts' and 'imaginations' which are weird or unreal scenes during the real ones, showing the imagination of the characters. Those are a really fantastic thing. Also, the death's at the beginning of each episode are quite nice. Those are small scenes showing the perish of the funeral home's 'customers'.

It's a very complex show even though it 'only' has 63 episodes in all. Most of it is rather dramatic because it is a Drama show, but some parts are funny, some are morbid, some are weird. This show certainly breaks an awful lot of Taboo's in the environment of TV Shows. The dead are shown - sometimes more and sometimes less grotesque, drugs are more or less common, swearing and sex are anyway, and the show also has highly political aspects, for example the state of homosexual people in the society. Episode 5x11 also is very critical towards the war and crap like that.

Throughout the show we accompany the Fisher family through a lot of small and some big tragedies, which in the end all tie up. Therefore it doesn't make sense to just watch it 'every now and then', you really have to watch every single episode from the beginning, otherwise you won't have a clue of what's going on and what's this all about. It's like a huge complex storyline in a book or similar. You can't just skip pages when you're reading a book ;) The show is of course essentially about death and everything that surrounds it (like the Fisher family ;) When I just watched the 4 Final Episodes yesterday and today, I really couldn't stop myself from crying, and I haven't cried over movies or shows since a couple of years. It's so damn unbelievably sad. But the last 5 or 10 minutes in the very last episode make it good again, when a small glimpse of the future is shown.

It's simply a great show.
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As most reviewers have already stated-'Probably THE greatest tv series ever made'.
philadams-987239 May 2020
This series will take you on a rollercoaster of emotions & it will stay with you forever!

It is one of the few tv series that I try to rewatch every few years.

It is a complete masterpiece & timeless classic & nothing has come close in the twenty years or so since it was first made.

I envy those that have not watched it yet, as you have it all in front of you! Enjoy the most awesome ride.
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So powerful
diddens-2535129 May 2019
I have watched this series many times through. It validates a piece of me that lingers deep within and dances with it when it wants to be seen. I relate to every charterer in some way. Thank you HBO for making this series.
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