Using a memorable tagline “Every Day Above Ground Is A Good One”, “Six Feet Under”, an American drama television series became a hit and it’s regarded as one of the greatest television series of all time (I agree with that). Created and produced by Alan Ball and the premium network HBO , the series ran from June 2001 to August 2005, with 63 episodes across five seasons. It portrays the lives of the Fisher family, who run a funeral home in Los Angeles, along with their friends and lovers.
The series unfolds Nate Fisher (Peter Krause ), whose funeral director father (Richard Jenkins) dies and bequeaths ownership of ‘Fisher & Sons Funeral Home’ to his brother David (Michael C. Hall) and him. The Fisher clan also includes widow Ruth Fisher (Frances Conroy) and daughter Claire Fisher (Lauren Ambrose). Other regulars include mortician and family friend Federico Diaz (Freddy Rodríguez), Nate’s on-again/off-again girlfriend Brenda Chenowith (Rachel Griffiths), and David’s long-term boyfriend Keith Charles (Mathew St. Patrick).
On one level, the show is a conventional family drama, dealing with such issues as interpersonal relationships, infidelity, and religion. At the same time, it is distinguished by its focus on the topic of death, which it explores on personal, religious, and philosophical levels. Each episode begins with a death, the cause of which ranges from heart attack to murder to sudden infant death syndrome. The death set the thematic tone for each episode, instigating the characters to reflect on their current fortunes and misfortunes in a way that is illuminated by the death and its aftermath. The show also uses dark humour and surrealism throughout its seasons.
A recurring plot device consists of a character having an imaginary conversation with the deceased; for example, Nate, David, and Federico sometimes “converse” with the deceased at the beginning of the episode, while the corpse is being embalmed, or during funeral planning or the funeral itself. Sometimes, the characters talk to other deceased characters, most notably Nathaniel Fisher, Sr. The show’s creator Alan Ball avers that this represents the living characters’ internal dialogues expressed in the form of external conversations.
Alan Ball was inspired to write this series after losing his sister and father.
Within a week of the first episode being aired, HBO renewed the show for a second season.
“Six Feet Under” received widespread critical acclaim, particularly for its writing and acting, and consistently drew high ratings for the HBO network.
The show’s finale has also been described as one of the greatest television series finales.
The series is ranked #27 on Empire magazine’s “50 Greatest TV Shows Six Feet Under Every Day Above Ground Is A Good OneOf All Time” (2008).
Check out the trailer – season 1