There’s a lot of pressure on NBC’s Parenthood. After NBC’s less than happy last couple of months, the Olympics were seen as a reset for the network. And at the center of NBC’s reset is Parenthood.
The series was originally set for last Fall but delayed after Maura Tierney had to leave the project to focus on treatment for breast cancer (great news though, she has completed treatment and since returned to work).
The delay had a silver lining as it also provided a chance for Parenthood to step back and really put in all the effort they could, especially with the series now in the unenviable position of being the face of a “new” NBC. (And while Maura Tierney would’ve been excellent on the series, it presented the opportunity for the equally awesome Lauren Graham to join the cast.)
But Parenthood takes that responsibility and runs with it.
Family dramas are few and far between on television these days. Really, has there been a straight family drama since American Dreams? Family entertainment and family drama can be two different things. There’s plenty of family entertainment on TV, but not much family drama.
Parenthood fills that void and because of that, the series already is something fresh and different.
The series is a family drama in every sense. Yes, it centers on the normal, everyday lives of a big family in Berkeley. Yes it also has all the gooey, emotional, heartwarming moments you can expect in a real family drama.
Whenever a television series delves into a bucket of clichés and tugs on your heartstrings, it has got to do it in a way that doesn’t seem tired, old, or worn out. And Parenthood takes care of that.
Maybe it is the touch of executive producer Jason Katims who has mastered making “clichés” work on Friday Night Lights. Parenthood‘s premiere was full of the gooey stuff, but thanks in part to the direction and greatly on the spot on cast, these moments seem fresh and natural. It isn’t so syrupy sweet as it is relatable.
Some of the more average reviews of the show out there compare Parenthood to ABC’s Brothers & Sisters, but the ABC series definitely delves into more soapy elements, and so far Parenthood sticks to the basics.
Despite the 10pm timeslot which is more about the cushiest slot on NBC and the network making a statement about 10pm than about the show’s content, Parenthood manages to appeal to a wide audience. Both parents and children alike can relate to at least one or two of the characters.
It will definitely be very interesting to see Parenthood grow and develop and I think NBC will stick with the show regardless of what the numbers are (unless they’re really, really bad… like Heroes-bad), at least until the Fall when they can move the series to an earlier slot.
But all the ingredients are there to make Parenthood a hit; an excellent cast and a sincere relatable story. It is a good show. Simple, yet enjoyable. Something NBC hasn’t been able to put on in a long time. It just may be what brings positive vibes NBC’s way, especially moving forward.