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Cisco's Journal:

A personal
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Gonzalez family.

About the Series

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American Family
American Family: Journey of Dreams

American Family,,” the first drama series ever to air on broadcast television featuring a Latino cast, and the first original primetime American episodic drama on PBS in decades, first premiered in January 2002. Episodes currently air on Sunday nights (check local listings).

Starring Academy Award® nominee Edward James Olmos, Constance Marie, Yancey Arias, Jesse Borrego, Patricia Velasquez, Kate del Castillo and Raquel Welch, with special guest stars Esai Morales, Lynn Whitfield and Rachel Ticotin, and special appearances by Sonia Braga, the second season takes a look at major historical events of the last century as seen through the eyes of the Gonzalez family. From their ancestors’ participation in the Mexican Revolution in the early 1900s, to son Conrado’s participation in the 2003 Iraq War, to the daily struggles of modern-day life, the Gonzalez family eagerly seeks to live the American dream.

"The episodes flow like lava from one to the next... it's hot"

- Paul Droesch, TV GUIDE
(April 3-10, 2004)

“I wanted to do something different with AMERICAN FAMILY this year,” said series creator, Academy Award® nominee, writer/director Gregory Nava (El Norte, Selena). “Instead of doing an episodic series, I wanted to tell one epic story that unfolds like a mini-series over 13 parts. The topical story lines will be based around events of the Iraq war, and will show how the Gonzalez family came to America during the Mexican Revolution. AMERICAN FAMILY will depict all the sacrifices they have made through the years to achieve the American dream. In every household in America, there is an epic story – this year AMERICAN FAMILY will tell that story.”

Major funding for the “American Family” television series is provided by Johnson & Johnson, the American Legacy Foundation, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and PBS.

"Nava also invokes the spirit of writers like Gabriel Garcia Marquez by bending the rules of space and time..."

- Cynthia Littleton, HOLLYWOOD REPORTER
(March 29, 2004)

AMERICAN FAMILY — JOURNEY OF DREAMS is told from the vantage point of family patriarch Jess Gonzalez (Olmos), whose hopes for his family’s future and fears for their well-being have sometimes unexpected consequences. His eldest son, Conrado (Arias), is a doctor who is serving with the Army in Iraq; his second son, Esteban (Morales), is starting a new life after scrapes with the law; his daughter Nina (Marie) is a progressive attorney with whom Jess is constantly at odds; his other daughter Vangie (Ticotin) is a clothing designer; and his youngest son, Cisco (Torres), is a cyber punk who is constantly filming his family and posting the footage on the Gonzalez family Web site. Esteban’s son, Pablito (Marques), and the flamboyant Dora (Welch), Jess’ sister, a former aspiring entertainer, round out the Gonzalez household.

"'American Family'" shows that long form television is a rich genre allowing characters to live and grow... Gregory Nava... is basically making a thirteen-hour movie in thirteen weekly segments."

- Roger Ebert, EBERT & ROEPER
(March 20, 2004)

The 13-part miniseries begins with the joyful marriage of Esteban and Ofelia (del Castillo) and the shocking news that Conrado, an Army doctor, is being sent to the Middle East just as the country is preparing for war in Iraq. Torn by their disparate views about the war, their concern for Conrado’s safety and the impact that has on their relationships with one another, the family is forced to deal with their personal history. In the thick of battle, Conrado finds himself in conflict with his Army superior (Whitfield) because he is a doctor first and soldier second. He also finds himself haunted by memories of a past love relationship and struggling between feelings of gratitude for the sacrifices his family endured in order to send him to college, and guilt over the fact that he is living out his family’s dream and not his own. Jess and Nina fight about the war, causing a deep divide in the Gonzalez family, which mirrors the divide that exists in the country. Esteban’s attempts to carve out a new life for his wife and son are threatened by the appearance of Shady (Borrego), a gang member from his rebellious past.

Overwhelmed by dreams of his family’s past because of his fears for Conrado’s safety, Jess is visited by the ghost of Adela (Velasquez), his late grandmother. Although he and his brother survived the Korean and Viet Nam wars respectively, he is convinced that his son’s life is at stake because of a family curse that began when the family fled the Mexican Revolution to come to America.

Gregory Nava is creator and executive producer of “American Family.” Robert Greenblatt, David Janollari, Eric L. Gold and Barbara Martinez Jitner are also serving as executive producers.

© 2004 Public Broadcasting Service. All Rights Reserved.