In The Mix

Come Together

The principals of a beloved series reunite for a new take on family — genetic testing not required.

Nicole Pajer
  • Maia Mitchell and Cierra Ramirez

    Beth Dubber/Freeform

After a successful five-year run, The Fosters came to an end in 2018.

But the team behind the groundbreaking, stereotype-defying drama was not quite ready to let go — and the network agreed.

"I couldn't bear the thought that The Fosters would not continue on my watch," says Karey Burke, Freeform's executive vice-president of programming and development. So executive producers Peter Paige, Bradley Bredeweg and Joanna Johnson went into a huddle, and they came up with Good Trouble. The three are showrunners of the new series, set to premiere January 8.

Picking up where The Fosters left off, Good Trouble finds Callie (Maia Mitchell) and Mariana (Cierra Ramirez) living in downtown Los Angeles after college.

They share a communal space called The Coterie with a diverse array of loftmates, including Alice (Sherry Cola), an Asian-American lesbian struggling to come out to her parents; a Black Lives Matter activist named Malika (Zuri Adele); Davia (Emma Hunton), a body-positive Instagram model; and Gael (Tommy Martinez), a Latin-American artist who takes an instant liking to Callie.

"That theme, which was central to The Fosters — DNA doesn't make a family; love does — is evident once again in this group of 20-somethings trying to figure out their lives," Paige says.

Good Trouble will feature some familiar faces — every member of The Fosters principal cast will appear in one way or another — but Johnson says this show is unlike its prequel: "We have a totally different look and different camera angles, and the story is not told in a linear format." Tonally, every episode is unique.

"You don't know when you tune in if this is going to be one of the more serious episodes, one of the more comedic episodes or one of the sexier episodes," says Johnson, who wants to keep the audience on its toes every week.

Following in The Fosters' footsteps, Good Trouble will explore timely plotlines.

"Callie gets a job clerking for a very conservative judge [Roger Bart], who has very different politics than she does, and Mariana is trying to navigate the male-centric world of tech," Paige says. "We deal with issues of race," Johnson adds, "and also explore how this younger generation has a far more fluid way of dealing with their sexuality."

Good Trouble will inevitably appeal to fans of The Fosters, but Johnson sees it attracting its own audience, too.

"Good Trouble is messier and louder than The Fosters was, but it has the same beating heart, the same ethos, the same drive to help understand the world we live in a little bit better," she says. Paige calls the show "a really fresh, really modern, sexy, way more adult opportunity to explore the themes that The Fosters always had."

Bredeweg hopes the series will drive home this thought: "We are all so divided right now, and we need to break down what divides us. It's time for all of us to get into some good trouble!" he says.

Ramirez promises the show will have plenty of that, noting, "It's definitely been fun to watch Callie and Mariana getting into trouble that doesn't have to do with school!"


Tis article originally appeared in emmy magazine, Issue No. 11, 2018