In the space of a few months, we've had four cast departures - Rob Lowe (Robert), Luke Grimes (Ryan) and Balthazar Getty (Tommy) are all people not returning this season and after a two episode stint, Emily Van Camp will be leaving the series as the writers finally put viewers out of their misery and end the Justin/Rebecca dynamic for good. Another thing that's being ended is Kevin (Matthew Rhys) and Scotty's (Luke Macfarlane) plans to have an infant - instead it'll be a teenager named Matteo, whom Kevin meets now that he's back working as a pro-bono lawyer - one of the positive things about the upcoming season. Plus there's something 'risque' that will happen with Kevin/Scotty this season but I'm not sure what that will be in particular, though producer David Marshall Grant has said you can rule out an open marriage with them.
Other storylines in the 18 episode fifth and (more than likely) final run include the writers decision not to run with the implied HIV storyline with Saul (Ron Rifkin) - though both him and Scotty will be running their restaurant this year, Sarah (Rachel Griffiths) deciding to possibly sell up Narrow Lake, Nora (Sally Field)becoming a radio host (that could have potential) as well as Kitty (Calista Flockhart) trying to reinvent herself after Robert's death, Justin (Dave Annable) returning from another tour of Afghanistan and Luc (Gilles Marini) becoming an underwear model as the show follows a trend and flashforwards to a year since the fourth season finale.
I don't want to be uber-critical but I can't see this show coming after this fifth season to be honest. I know it's never generated the same type of acclaim/discussion from ABC that the likes of Lost, Desperate Housewives, Grey's Anatomy or even Modern Family has but it's a shame that it's being so shoddily treated in the last few years. All I can hope is that the show is allowed to end things on a satisfying note and repair some of the damages that past storylines have done to the series.
Ron Rifkin Advocate Interview: http://advocate.com/Arts_and_Entertainment/Television/Ron_Rifkin_All_in_the_Family/
Exclusive Scene Of The Homecoming: http://brothersandsisters-tv.com/sneak-peak-of-the-homecoming
Season 5 starts tonight on ABC at 10pm and will air in the UK, courtesy of More4 from January 2011.