7TH HEAVEN centers around the Camdens, a tight-knit family living in Glenoak, California and consisting of minister dad Eric, homemaker mom Annie, and their brood of five children: Matt, Mary, Lucy, Simon and Ruthie and their adorable dog, Happy. The series chronicles the many complex issues of growing up in the world today, and the Camden family tackles these issues head-on. Unafraid of intervening in the lives of their children, Eric and Annie discuss serious issues with them in an effort to educate them on the ways of the world. The family remains a tight unit as a result of their love for one another, and their faith in God.
Unlike the Brady Bunch, the Camdens of Seventh Heaven aren't a blended family. And unlike the Partridge Family, they aren't a band. They're just a family--a large, if normal family with normal problems and concerns. A little like the Waltons, perhaps, but set in the present day. The parents are Eric (Stephen Collins from All the President's Men), a minister, and Annie (Catherine Hicks from Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home), a homemaker. They live in the suburbs of Glenoak, California, with their five children: 16-year-old Matt (Barry Watson), 14-year-old Mary (Jessica Biel), 12-year-old Lucy (Beverley Mitchell), 9-year-old Simon (David Gallagher), and 5-year-old Ruthie (Mackenzie Rosman). By the end of the pilot ("Anything You Want"), they'll add the dog Happy to their household.
Created by Barbara Hampton (Blossom) and produced by Aaron Spelling (Beverly Hills 90210), Seventh Heaven premiered on the WB in 1996 and would become its most enduring hit. It may lack a gimmick, but this heartwarming family drama doesn't lack a theme: communication. And since the Camdens are a minister's family, faith comes up often, as well, which gives the show something in common with such otherwise disparate programs as Touched by an Angel and Joan of Arcadia. Throughout 1996-1997, the Camdens would deal with many tough issues, both internal and external, including teen pregnancy ("Family Secrets"), death ("In the Blink of an Eye"), racism ("The Color of God"), spousal abuse ("What Will People Say"), and alcoholism ("Last Call for Aunt Julie"). In the years to come, the cast would have their own real-life issues with which to contend, such as Watson's battle with cancer (after taking 2003 off to recover, he would return in 2004) and the gradual loss of Biel (The Texas Chainsaw Massacre) to the movies. --Kathleen C. Fennessy