NBC’s Parenthood

One of NBC’s post-Leno-debacle series is Parenthood, Tuesdays at 10/9c. The show is about four adult siblings and their families, making quite an ensemble cast. The show has a tendency to get cheesy, but great performances by castmembers (including Lauren Graham, who played Lorelai in the hit WB series Gilmore Girls, and Craig T Nelson of Coach fame [or so I hear…I never watched Coach. A little before my time]) make the show an enjoyable guilty pleasure.

I tend to avoid silly ‘touching dramas’ produced by major networks, but I was intrigued by the inclusion of Lauren Graham in the cast. As a longtime Gilmore Girls fanatic, I liked the idea of Graham basically reprising the same role–a quirky single mother dealing with precocious teens.

So I watched the first couple episodes. Graham is definitely one of the stronger characters, though her storyline seems to be taking a back seat to the family saga of the Adam Braverman family with their recently-diagnosed Aspbergers-inflicted son, Max. Max is an adorable kid, but the parents and overall story are just…meh.

The storyline of Crosby (played by Dax Shepard, whom I’m desperately trying to tolerate) is also iffy for me. Crosby discovers that he has a five-year-old son named Jabbar (yeah…terrible name). There is potential for a great plot, but Crosby seems so unlikeable as a character. Of course, my hesitance could have something to do with my dislike for Dax Shepard, who has yet to convince me that he can do a serious role.

Then there’s the obvious potential affair situation with fourth sibling Julia and her stay-at-home-dad husband Joel, and Racquel, the potential mistress.

But the real charm of the series comes from the supporting cast–the children. Sarah’s (played by Graham) two teenage children, Amber (played by Mae Whitman, whom I remember from the short-lived yet excellent State of Grace, where she played the title character) and Drew (whom I find absolutely adorable in that too-bad-he’s-under-18 way) are interesting characters. Nelson plays his character well.

Overall, a show with great potential. Let’s hope it sticks around. It’s nice to see a new show on television that I could actually consider watching. There seem to be fewer and fewer quality shows hidding among the hordes of terrible reality programming and CSI-wannabes.

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