Based on chef Eddie Huang's best-selling memoir of the same name, "Fresh Off the Boat" takes a humorous look at the lives of immigrants in America. In the 1990s, Eddie, a hip-hop-loving 11-year-old, relocates with his parents and two brothers to suburban Orlando from the Chinatown section of Washington, D.C. As Eddie's dad, Louis, pursues the American dream by opening a western-themed restaurant named Cattleman's Ranch Steakhouse, Eddie and the rest of the family try to acclimate to their new, strange surroundings.
Dre Johnson (Anthony Anderson) has it all: a great job, a beautiful wife, Rainbow (Tracee Ellis Ross), four kids and a big home in a classy neighborhood, but as a black man, he begins to question whether all his success has brought too much cultural assimilation for his family. With the help of his father (special guest star Laurence Fishburne), Dre begins to try to create a sense of ethnic identity for the members of his family that will allow them to honor their background while preparing them to embrace the future.
In the Heck family, middle-age, middle-class, middle-America mom Frankie Heck (two-time Emmy winner Patricia Heaton) uses a sense of humor to try to steer her family through life's ups and downs as she tackles her career goals. Her unflappable husband, Mike (Neil Flynn), is a manager at the local quarry. Oldest son Axl is an obstinate young man; awkward daughter Sue cannot seem to find her niche -- despite much enthusiasm in her attempts -- and youngest son Brick is an unusual child whose best friend is his backpack.
Maya DiMeo, a wife and mother, is fiercely protective of her husband, Jimmy, and their three children, Ray, Dylan, and J.J. -- who has a condition that leaves him with unique mobility and communication challenges. While Maya's mama bear instinct may be one of her most admirable qualities, it's not without its drawbacks and sometimes the injustices she sets out to make right end up being all in her head. Together, the family members work to make a new home for themselves and find the right person to come in and give J.J. a voice of his own.
In the 1980s, geeky Adam uses a video camera to document his family's crazy life. His mother, Beverly, is overprotective and lacks boundaries, while his dad has a hot temper and finds it difficult to parent without screaming. Rounding out the clan are Adam's terrifying sister, Erica; his older brother, Barry, who has middle-child syndrome; and the family's beloved grandfather, Al "Pops" Solomon. Pops is responsible for wild antics, including offering drinks to Barry and teaching Adam about the ways of love -- which create more chaos in an already high-strung family.
Michael Kyle is a man on a tragically funny quest for the perfect "traditional" family while his wife searches for her own path in life.
Mickey, who is intelligent but lacking ambition, is always hustling and looking for the next easy payday. It seems like her ship has finally come in when she goes to Greenwich, Conn., to visit her estranged sister and billionaire brother-in-law in search of a handout, and they flee the country to avoid federal fraud charges, leaving her with everything. But nothing in life is free, and "everything" includes guardianship of her sister's three ill-mannered children -- teenage Sabrina, future Republican and middle child Chip, and the fragile youngest, Ben. Though motherhood was never in her plans, Mickey discovers a little responsibility never hurt anybody.
Adam has been operating under the assumption that his three children are little angels, but when his wife decides to rejoin the workforce after being a stay-at-home mom for 13 years, and he starts taking on more of the parenting responsibilities, he's quickly disavowed of that notion. Kate, a preteen, is a master manipulator and excited to take advantage of her father's naivete; Teddy spends too much time with his hands down his pants; and Emme frets over school. After recovering from the initial shock -- and with the advice of equally stressed parents Marie and Lowell -- Adam is confident he can lay down the law and keep the house in order.
Accomplished actors Dianne Wiest and James Brolin star as the heads of a large, happy family, in which each member is approaching different milestones. Their eldest daughter, Heather (Betsy Brandt) and her husband consider having another child as they get closer to an empty nest; middle child Matt (Thomas Sadoski) thinks he has found true love; and the youngest of the three siblings, Greg (Colin Hanks) is overwhelmed after having his first child with his wife. Various perspectives are employed as each family member's story unfolds.