Family Legacy takes a look at some of the most influential artists in the music business through the perspective of their children, exploring new sides to legendary musicians such as The Notorious BIG, Chester Bennington and the Backstreet Boys, and the impact they left on the cultural landscape as well as their respective family legacies.
It’s an interesting enough concept, but while Family Legacy more or less succeeds in representing the lives of its subjects and their famous parents, it falls short of any real in-depth analysis. The show explores its central themes in very surface-level ways, reaching for the safest questions and easiest emotional responses without much ambition to sink its teeth into the complex subject matters of fame, family and the music industry.
Notably, the stories told by the series are also very MTV-centric, focusing heavily on the video channel’s impact on up-and-coming talent in the music industry instead of more detailed looks at the artists’ entire careers. This spotlight on MTV’s contributions to fostering musical talent takes up a not-insignificant amount of descriptive real estate that could have been spent on more interesting examinations of the topics at hand.
However, it’s not all bad. Although they don’t have much in the way of depth or complexity, the interviews are fun, and the combination of these with archival footage and small MTV Cribs-style house tours ensures that Family Legacy’s storytelling is at least visually interesting, even if it lacks that same interest in its structure and narrative.
With each episode clocking in at under 30 minutes and focusing on two famous families each, every episode of Family Legacy seems more like a whistle-stop tour of long and storied careers than the unique insight into the lives of these stars promised by the show’s premise. This approach isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but this narrative incuriosity robs the programme of a lot of its potential and makes for an unengaging – if still entertaining – experience. Critically, it feels like a documentary series that isn’t trying to learn or teach anything about its subject matters, which leaves it feeling disappointingly hollow.
Family Legacy is released on Paramount+ on 26th April 2023.
Watch the trailer for Family Legacy here: