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NBC Gets it Right with New Show "Parenthood"
Review of the new family dramedy Parenthood on NBC starring Craig T. Nelson, Lauren Graham, Peter Krause, Erika Christensen and more.
Oldest son Adam (Peter Krause) and wife Kristina (Monica Potter) have a teenage daughter Haddie, played by Sarah Ramos, who definitely holds her own amidst this star-studded cast. Their adorable but withdrawn and disconnected son Max has several unusual issues and fears that begin to make sense when a behavior therapist suspects Asperger's Syndrome. Young actor Max Burkholder has the acting chops most adult performers strive for, yet he makes it look so effortless.
The role of oldest daughter and single mom Sarah was originally intended for former ER star Maura Tierney. Just before production began a shock came when Tierney was diagnosed with breast cancer. She has undergone treatment and Parenthood exec Jason Katims says she is doing well. Lauren Graham stepped in to fill Tierney's place and the role suits her quite well. At first there would seem some similarities between the role of Sarah and Graham's most famous character Lorelai Gilmore. But as the show goes on there are in fact far more differences between the two.
Mae Whitman, playing Sarah's rebellious teen daughter Amber, is fantastic as always. On the surface Amber seems she couldn't care less what her mother thinks of her. But when Sarah shows her disappointment we see a different side of Amber and an unexpected layer of emotions and pain. Amber's brother Drew (Miles Heizer) is sweet and endearing with an impressive range of emotions as well.
Younger daughter Julia (Erika Christensen) is a successful attorney who wants to be a good mom. But since their four-year old daughter Sydney spends most of her time with Dad, it's all too clear that Julia's husband Joel (Sam Jaeger) is her favorite. Christensen isn't featured as much in the pilot but we see a lot more of her and Jaeger in the next episode.
Dax Shepard provides a nice amount of humor as youngest son Crosby. This commitment-phobic, immature but likeable guy has been putting off his girlfriend Katie's (Marguerite Moreau) desire to have a baby for quite some time. But toward the end of the pilot he learns he has fathered a child. His five year old son suddenly enters his life wanting to know his Dad. As of the second episode, Crosby still has yet to tell Katie that he is a father.
As far as drawbacks go, there is A LOT happening in the pilot episode. Some may find it a little hard to keep up with all the different storylines. Parenthood has it share of predictable moments, including a slightly cheesy ending to the pilot. Reviews range from statements like, "The best pilot we've seen in a long time", to the belief that the show tries too hard and won't be able to hold onto it's audience. Who knows what the result and ratings of future episodes will be.
Even with heartbreaking moments of real life issues scattered throughout, Parenthood still has that overall inspiring, "feel good" trait that many viewers love. No doubt NBC is hoping this show will be the hit they desperately need.