Six Feet Under is a drama TV series which made its debut on HBO in 2001. It lasted for five seasons and focuses on a family called the Fishers who live in LA and run a funeral home.
The show resulted in consistently high ratings for the HBO network, with publications such as TIME, Empire and The Guardian rating it as one of the greatest television series of all time.
A funeral director dies and bequeaths ownership of the Fisher & Sons Funeral Home to brothers Nate and David. Other members of the Fisher family include mom Ruth Fisher and daughter Claire Fisher.
There is a recurring theme where a cast member will have an imaginary conversation with a dead person, during events such as the corpse being embalmed, funeral planning or during the funeral itself.
Cast and characters
- Eldest child Nate Fisher – Peter Krause
- Middle child David Fisher – Michael C Hall
- Emotionally repressed matriarch Ruth Fisher – Frances Conroy
- Youngest child Claire Fisher – Lauren Ambrose
- Business partner Federico Diaz – Freddy Rodriguez
- David’s on-off partner Keith Charles – Matthew St Patrick
- Nate’s on-off partner Brenda Chenowith – Rachel Griffiths
- Brenda’s younger brother Billy Chenowith – Jeremy Sisto
- Federico’s wife Vanessa Diaz – Justina Machado
- Ruth’s second husband George Sibley – James Cromwell
- Fisher family patriarch Nathaniel Fisher Sr – Richard Jenkins
- Brenda and Billy’s mother Margaret Chenowith – Joanna Cassidy
Six Feet Under was primarily filmed in Los Angeles, California. For example, the Fisher house exterior is located on W 25th Street, LA. Filming also took place on Long Beach, Hollywood, Gramercy Park, Lakewood and Van Nuys within the Los Angeles area. The main title sequence was filmed in Gas Works Park, N. Northlake Way, Seattle, Washington.
We see a guy saying to the girl lying next to him on a bed ‘I think it’s cool you live in a funeral home.’ Then three men are seen watching someone, and they say in unison ‘Casket climber.’ The matriarch says ‘I think your father’s having some sort of mid life crisis,’ as he’s seen dancing around a room, then pausing in his car to light a cigarette as a bus crashes into him.
The matriarch then says ‘There’s been an accident. Your father is dead’, and one of the brothers says ‘Sometimes I kinda feel like Dad’s around. Do you?’ The ghost of the Fisher father is seen looking down on the son. Then the ghost asks: ‘Where do you think I am, Heaven or Hell?’
The overall plots and characters in Six Feet Under were created by Alan Ball, but there isn’t a clear overview of how the series came about. One story states that Ball came up with the show’s premise after the deaths of his sister and father. However, he also spoke in an interview implying that Carolyn Strauss – HBO entertainment president – put forward the idea to him.
A copyright-infringement lawsuit saw screenwriter Gwen O’Donnell claim that she was the original source of the idea, that went through Strauss and was passed on to Ball. However, the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit rejected her claim.
Episodes and reception
Six Feet Under has a rating of 8.7 out of 10 on IMDb at the time of writing. It has a rating of 83% on Rotten Tomatoes. Furthermore, 90% of Google users have reported that they like this TV show.
The first three seasons of Six Feet Under have 13 episodes, and the last two have 12. The average viewership for the first three was around the 5 million mark, but it dropped to 3.7 and 2.5 for seasons four and five respectively.
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Six Feet Under
Nathaniel Fisher Senior hands over his funeral home business to his two sons before he passes away. However, this leads to the brothers and the rest of the family fighting about the decision.
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