Parenthood premieres on NBC tonight! I got the chance to check out the Pilot early, by which I was both pleasantly surprised and disappointed.
My disappointment came from the mixed messages in advertising the program as it's based on an 1989 comedy film by the same name, which I've not seen so it's possible watching that would clear things up, but knowing it's based on a comedy threw me off a bit when it turned out to be much more of a drama than comedy. The promos were also a tad confusing as they show some meaningful and discouraging moments of parenthood, but followed by such peppy music, it seemed it was going to be treated a little more like Modern Family showing the hardships of family, but the hilariousness in it all.
But, once I got over the full-on drama effect of the show, the Pilot proved to be quite good and while I'm not entirely sold on the show yet, I am pretty sold on the characters and am intrigued by the story.
Parenthood features the Braverman family which is made up of a fantastic cast, which I'm sure will be most of the draw for viewership as the show starts out. The family includes Craig T. Nelson of Coach among plenty else, Lauren Graham of Gilmore Girls, Peter Krause of Dirty Sexy Money, Sam Jaeger of Eli Stone, and various other great actors.
I won't give much away, but the basic premise of the premiere episode is Graham's character Sarah moving back home with her two teenagers as she goes through a painful divorce with their father. While they deal with that mess, the grandparents oversee it all as their adult children and grandchildren come in and out of their magnificent house in Berkeley, CA.
While Graham's character is not, thankfully, Lorelai Gilmore all over again despite the single mother aspect, she's only compelling so far for the sake of seeing how she deals with her teenagers as they deal with her during the rough time in their lives. There was a bit of her getting some further plot for her dating life, so hopefully that can become interesting instead of just the typical single divorcee going through dating disaster after dating disaster. (Cougar Town, anyone?)
The other grown-up siblings are dealing with their own relationship and family traumas including Krause's Adam married to Monica Potter's character. Their biggest issues seem to be Adam in constant demand as the one and only responsible brother, husband, and son, and then dealing with some increasingly serious issues with his own son. Another cliche that seemed to actually work in the premiere was the fact that Adam doesn't want to raise his son like his dad raised him, and he engages in the struggle of both not becoming his father and not letting his father take over parenting Adam's son.
The next sister in line is Erika Christensen as Julie, is a successful lawyer dealing with the fact that her young daughter much prefers her dad, played by Sam Jaeger, since he's the one around while Julie's at work. I didn't find anything much of interest or refreshing there except the intrigue of more in-depth conflict within that family as well as with Julie and her sister Sarah.
The last sibling is the one who will just not grow up, Crosby, played by Dax Shepard. He seems to carry the most personality of the siblings so far, and some of the more interesting storylines as the family "screw up." He seems more well-loved than a true screw-up, though, so it seems he has something else to him that will bring more interesting ups and downs for his character and storylines.
The characters are overall intriguing, and a fairly good hook to continue watching the show which is a difficult feat in any premiere episode. The biggest issue with the premiere was that they threw a lot of characters and big plot developments in quickly, so while it would have been boring to have no development as we got to know the characters, it was hard to keep up with the big changes in their lives happening as we were just meeting them.
But, while I was thrown off by the more comedic advertising vs. the dramatic premiere, the show is by far not the heaviest drama out there, and is probably most comparable to the likes of Brothers & Sisters or Friday Night Lights, which is a good sign if Parenthood continues to follow that successful path.
Check out the Parenthood premiere on NBC tonight at 10/9c and share what you thought in the comments below!