HBO has just released the first trailer for Nuclear Family, its upcoming docuseries from director Ry Russo-Young. The three-part series follows Russo-Young‘s parents, Sandra Russo and Robin Young as they pioneered gay parenthood in the ’80s, and the legal battle that threatened to tear their family apart.
Combining home videos, press coverage, and astonishingly raw interviews, the trailer offers a clear glimpse of the scope and personal stakes of the story. The series details how Russo and Young sought to start a family at a time when same-sex marriage wasn’t legal, and sperm banks refused to serve lesbian couples. They ultimately turned to at-home insemination methods, relying on sperm donors introduced to them by a mutual friend to each conceive a daughter. When their relationship to Ry’s biological father, Tom Steel, became frayed almost a decade later, it kicked off a custody battle that posed a threat to their unconventional family.
Russo-Young, whose directing credits include 2017’s Before I Fall and 2019’s The Sun is Also a Star, is at once an observer and the subject of the story, grounding the conflict from the point of view of the person it was all about. From that perspective, the issues of landmark legal decisions or the justice system’s oppression of homosexuals fall away, revealing the human connections underneath them all. The result is a remarkably universal story designed to resonate with anyone who struggles with unresolved issues in their own families, lives, or in the broader world.
The series is produced Russo-Young and Warren Fischer, who previously worked with the director on The Sun is Also a Star, as well as by Dan Cogan, whose Allen v. Farrow took a similarly humane look at a high profile legal battle. Executive producers include Liz Garbus, Jon Bardin, Julie Gaither, Jenny Raskin, Geralyn Dreyfous, Lauren Haber, Peter Saraf, Leah Holzer, Alex Turtletaub, Maria Zuckerman, Christine Connor, Ryan Heller, Barbara Dobkin, Eric Dobkin, Andrea Van Beuren, and Joe Landauer.
Nuclear Family debuts on HBO on September 26, with subsequent episodes following weekly. Check out the trailer for Nuclear Family below.