1 9 9 4 – 1 9 9 5 (USA)
17 x 30 minute episodes
This ensemble comedy from CBS featured four dissimilar sisters-in-law united by a common enemy: their husbands’ domineering divorced mother.
Alex (Judith Ivey) was a quick-witted, sharp-tongued Jewish feminist from New York City who ran an antique and collectables store and was married to high school principal Roy Buchanan (John Getz).
Sexy but ditsy Delilah (Beth Broderick) was a former stripper and bar dancer from Texas who had married the preacher son, the Reverend Charles Buchanan (Mark Moses).
Status-conscious Republican Vivian (Harriet Sansom Harris) was stuck in a passionless marriage with stuffy used car salesman Ed Buchanan (Richard Poe) and tyrannical twin sons, Lyndon and PJ.
Sweet, naive Californian Bree (Charlotte Ross), a former Disneyland employee, was newly-married to Jesse Buchanan (Tommy Hinkley).
The husbands were seldom seen on-screen leaving the four wives to trade insults and battle it out with the cruel (but hilarious) gravel-voiced Mother Buchanan (Eileen Heckart) – the matriarch of the Buchanan clan in suburban Mercy, Indiana – whose specialities were meddling and manipulating.
Like The Golden Girls, The 5 Mrs Buchanans featured some tough subject matter, including surrogate motherhood, child abuse and feminism, dealing with the issues with humour and class.
Though it earned some respectable reviews, the series never really performed well ratings-wise. CBS eventually buried it on Saturday nights and the show was cancelled after 17 episodes. Co-creator Marc Cherry worked on a handful of failed sitcoms before finding success with Desperate Housewives.
Alexandria ‘Alex’ Buchanan
Harriet Sansom Harris
Mother Emma Buchanan
Rev. Charles Buchanan
Pilot | The Other Woman | Clyde and Vivian and Ed and Malice | A Ring of Truth | Nothing on Delilah | The Mothers-in-Law | Then and N.O.W | Spare the Rod, Spoil the Buchanans | Five Buchanans and a Baby | Emma in Love | What Child Is This? | The Incredible Journey | All About Bree | The Heart of the Matter | Becoming a Buchanan | Never on the Road Again | Viv’acious