On Wednesday, March 4, Freeform aired the 90-minute season one finale of Party of Five, titled “Mexico,” which saw the Acosta children unexpectedly reunited with their parents, only to find there are now some cracks in their family’s seemingly happy facade.
The season finale naturally has fans wondering if this reboot of the popular 1990s series is renewed for a second season or if Freeform has canceled it after one season.
Here’s what we know so far.
Freeform Hasn’t Decided Yet
Heavy reached out to Freeform for comment on whether Party of Five would be canceled or renewed and were told there is no official statement yet.
The Party of Five reboot took the premise of five children who are suddenly living alone without their parents and turned it into a modern story by having the Acosta parents face deportation rather than be killed in a car accident, as in the original series. It provided an on-going sense of urgency for the show since the parents are still very much alive and yet gone at the same time. It was also something a lot of families in the U.S. can relate to right now.
“One thing that’s different is when we looked at the Salinger family in the 1990s, they were having an experience that was really unique and it was their own and they didn’t have a lot of people who could relate to it,” creator Amy Lippman told the 2020 Television Critics Association winter press tour audience. “And I think one of the things that we’re doing with this go-round is it’s an experience that is not unique to them. It’s happening across the country. So there is the sense that they are not alone in their experience of having to raise themselves.”
The critical reception was almost universally positive. Party of Five has a 96 percent fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes, with critics praising its heart, timeliness, and “compelling premise.”
“It’s a compelling premise … the strongest aspect of the show is how it commits to an agonizing situation that is easy for unaffected people to simply look away from,” wrote New York Times critic James Poniewozik ahead of the show’s premiere.
And IGN critic Matt Fowler said, “Party of Five is a tender, topical revamping of an already-tragic story that somehow makes things even more heart-wrenching. To the story’s benefit. This time, we get to know the parents while watching both sides of the sad situation react to getting ripped apart and it makes for a pulsing [show].”
However, the ratings have never matched the critical acclaim.
Party of Five Averages Just 400K Viewers Per Episode
There are no numbers for the season finale, obviously, but over the first nine season-one episodes, the show averaged just .406 million viewers, according to weekly data from Programming Insider.
Those are not great ratings. By comparison, three of Freeform’s longest-running dramas all averaged at least four times that number of viewers for their inaugural seasons: The Fosters averaged 1.7 million for its first season, Switched at Birth averaged 2.1 million viewers for its first season, and Pretty Little Liars averaged a robust 2.8 million viewers for its first season.
Party of Five’s first season numbers are more on par with the Pretty Little Liars spinoff The Perfectionists and that show was canceled after airing just 10 episodes in the spring of 2019.
So that does not bode well for Party of Five.