“Just because it’s rare, doesn’t mean it’s impossible.” Katie Leclric
When it comes to romantic dramas or any kind of series in the drama category, I tend to dislike them because of how over-dramatic the scenes are and how ridiculous the drama can get. But, I found a drama series more than two years that has kept me on my toes and entertained throughout each episode, and that show is…Switched at Birth. Many people that I knew a couple years back recommended this drama to me and I was a bit hesitant at first. Well, after watching the first three episodes during my winter break of 2014, I was hooked! I practically binged this Freeform series (once called ABC Family) in just two months before catching up to the newest episode of season three! While this is an addicting drama to view, there are a few flaws found in the series that are hard to look away from, which I will name in a bit.
For all of the people interested to know what Switched in Birth has in store, the synopsis revolves around these two teenagers named Bay Kennish and Daphne Vasquez, who are told one day that they were, well, switched at birth. Bay’s parents, John and Kathryn Kennish, then let Daphne and Regina Vasquez move into their empty guest house so that the families can get to know each other more.
From the first episode to the middle of the end of the first season, the plot mostly focuses on the struggles of the Vasquez and Kennish families and them trying to form a special bond, despite their different cultures. Towards the end of the second season, the drama peaks towards the romantic relationships the main characters are a part of, which somewhat steers away from an important theme: family. I understand that this drama tries to fit in with the rest of the shows on the Freeform series by adding over dramatic scenes, but that special element of adding lots of family conflicts is what makes the show extra special and unique. Don’t worry, though, the fourth and fifth seasons draw back to adding more drama other than romance, such as money problems, conflicts with family, learning to live on one’s own, and much more.
I’ve got to hand this to the crew, especially creator Lizzy Weiss, who is in charge of producing this series, they do an amazing job developing their main characters. At first, a lot of them seem very unlikable, except for a few, but the characters form into people that the audience can’t let go of at the end of the show. For example, Daphne comes off as selfish when his best friend, Emmett, starts liking Bay, but she moves on from that drama and instead focuses on her career path of becoming a doctor and her schooling. As for the side characters, they are some really good ones, but the viewers do not get to see the spotlight on them as much as the other characters in the series. In the last season, some characters show up and some fans end up having no clue who he or she is because they have not been on the screen since the first or second season!
The actors and actresses for Switched at Birth play their characters pretty well, especially towards the newer seasons! In the beginning, the acting skills from them do not look as neat and professional as one would expect, but as the series progresses, the cast improves their acting skills and the series becomes more exciting, especially from Vanessa Marano (Bay Kennish), Katie Leclric (Daphne Vasquez), and Ryan Lane (Travis).
If one finds songs from a romantic drama, he or she will run into songs used by famous singers, such as Jar of Hearts by Cristina Perri, one of my favorite songs ever, Stranger by Katie Costello, and Here is a Heart by Jenny Owen Youngs. In each season, there are a ton of songs, each of them different ones to give each important scene touch the hearts of the audience, whether it be sentimental or thrilling. Here are how many tracks are used in each season; there are tons of them:
Season 1: 108 Songs
Season 2: 100 Songs
Season 3: 73 Tracks
Season 4: 96 Tracks
Season 5: 35 Tracks
As a teen interested in video editing and cinematography, the camerawork and transitions used in the series are excellent…up until the final season. Just like I mentioned in my previous review for Thirteen Reasons Why, the camera crew have some unsteady frames in certain scenes, but the color schemes used make up for that. All of the colors seen in High Definition can look stellar in the audiences’ point of view and fit just right with the scenes in the show.
There is another aspect added into Switched at Birth that makes the series stand out in its own way and touched my heart from the very beginning: the use of American Sign Language (ASL). One of the main characters, Daphne, played by Katie Leclric, is deaf and uses Sign Language to communicate with other people. There are also other deaf actors and actresses in the series and they all are remarkable at playing their characters. That’s not the only cool parts about this series, though. The crew does an excellent job translating the sign language to almost a T, which helped me learn a bit of ASL while watching the series. Gosh, once I finished watching the first season, I was inspired by these actors and actresses to start learning sign language again after I stopped learning in elementary school.
When watching the very last episode tonight, I had to pull out so many tissues to clear my tears away because of how sentimental it is and because of how much I am going to really miss waiting for new episodes of this wonderful and unique drama. Overall, I am going to rate this series a four out of five stars because of the uniqueness of the drama. I recommend it to anyone who would love a good drama, especially a longer one. I would like to thank all of the cast and crew that are a part of Switched at Birth for such a heartwarming series that taught me so much about the meaning of family and to never give up on my dreams, even during the rough times of my life.
Show aired: June 6, 2011 – April 11, 2017
Warnings: Some Profanity, Drug and Alcohol Use, A few Instances of Sexual Abuse, A Few Sex Scenes, THE FEELS!!