If you have had at all been watching the Olympics this year, you have been told a thousand times, “Parenthood is….,” and could not be happier to have that put in your face. Parenthood is a new drama by Brian Grazer and Ron Howard based on the 80’s movies of the same name. The show centers around the Braverman family, a typical California family, with four grown up children at different stages of adulthood, a patriarch that is overbearing, and a matriarch that stands and watches. The series begins Tuesday at 10/9c after The Biggest Loser on NBC and it is a series that celebrates the ideas, the hopes, and troubles of beginning a family in the best possible way.
Parenthood has a tremendous cast, centered around Craig T. Nelson (The Incredibles) as Zeke, who loves to be included in anything that his children and grandchildren are involved in. He is married to Camille, played by Die Hard‘s underrated Bonnie Bedelia, who takes a back seat to Zeke’s powerful attitude. We are brought into the series through the eye’s of Sarah, played by the wonderful Lauren Graham (Gilmore Girls) who replaced Maura Tierney, who departed the series after she learned of her breast cancer. Sarah after getting divorced, takes her two kids (Miles Heizer and Mae Whitman) back home to move in to her parents house much to the dismay of her teenagers.
The other three children are leading successful and unsuccessful lives, Crosby (Dax Shepard) is the youngest and is still trying to find himself, not wanting to settle down with his girlfriend. Julia, played by Erika Christenson,who gave an amazing guest stop in Lie to Me last year, is a successful lawyer with a little girl that she does not see enough as her husband (Sam Jaeger, Eli Stone) stays at home. Finally, Adam and Krisina (Peter Krause and Monica Potter) are your typical suburban parents, three kids, all in various points of childhood, and as in the pilot they encounter a problem that is more and more prevalent that will pull at your heartstrings.
Parenthood sure lives up to its name with all the possibly meanings represented in the family. The pilot is full of drama, humor, and depth that pulls you in immediately to the family and after the first ten minutes I found myself caring about what happens. I true gem I found in the series are the kids. Child actors can sometimes be the burden but even with the youngest of kids, I found true to the character. I believe you will be especially taken with Max, Adam’s child, played by Max Burkholder, who has to deal with a lot in the pilot.
The second hour airing next Tuesday is just as fun on the pilot and includes a little more humor which I think the show does best. It also shows a great use of all the family, each having seperate but easily entangled stories. Also look for great comedic actress, Erinn Hayes, to show up as a mom from Julia’s daughters school. So glad she is getting work.
Parenthood is one of the best new series this year, and with all the behind-the-scenes troubles that came up, you never get that on-screen. What you get is a well-made, well acted family drama, that tells a real tale in an excellent way. It enters the new NBC lineup tonight at 10/9c.