You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

First impressions — “Parenthood”


Pros: All-around good cast. Strong pilot script from Jason Katims, very un-showy direction of pilot by Thomas Schlamme fits the material.

Cons: A little speechy here and there

I liked this one a lot. Katims has the very tough task of living up to his “Friday Night Lights” standard. “Parenthood” didn’t quite hit me with the same thunderbolt as “FNL,” but it’s oozing with potential by the end of the pilot

I liked the distinctiveness of the setting (Berkeley/Bay Area), and the foundation of the sprawling Braverman family of four adult siblings dealing with their own children of various ages and emotional states. There was great detail and specificity that gave the characters immediate depth and, well, character right away.

There’s a lot of plot and character development going on in the script, perhaps a hair too much at times. But in the main it delivers a lot of info without getting terribly bogged down in exposition. Some of roughest patches seemed to be out of the mouths of the teenage characters, which is a little surprising since “FNL” has excelled at portraying high schoolers in a credible way. But this is a minor quibble.

Among a uniformly good cast, Maura Tierney stands out in the pilot as Sarah Braverman, the daughter who instigates much of the basic plot by moving back with her parents in Berkeley after hitting hard times with her teenage kids in Fresno.

Craig T. Nelson is very good as patriarch Zeek. Bonnie Bedelia doesn’t have a whole lot to do in the pilot as matriarch Camille, but there’s clearly more coming for her. Dax Shepard makes a good impression as bohemian brother Crosby. Of the younger thesps, Mae Whitman impresses in the pilot as Sarah’s feisty, growing-up-in-a-hurry daughter, Amber.

Can’t help but wonder how an family ensembler without a built-in marketing hook will fare on NBC. Let’s hope viewers are drawn in by the familiarity of the 1989 movie (though there are few similarities, as I recall) and then suitably dazzled by the solid thesp roster.

More TV

  • Apple TV Plus Reese Witherspoon Jennifer

    What We Know About 'Amazing Stories' And Other Shows Coming to Apple TV+

    Viewers got a sneak peek of upcoming shows coming to Apple TV+, Apple’s newly unveiled streaming service, during the company’s live-streamed event in Cupertino, Calif., on Monday. The stars and creators of the most highly anticipated projects like Steven Spielberg’s “Amazing Stories” and “The Morning Show” from Reese Witherspoon appeared on stage to reveal more [...]

  • WARNING: Embargoed for publication until 00:00:01

    Richard Gere Series 'MotherFatherSon' Sold to Multiple Territories

    BBC Studios, the British public broadcaster’s commercial arm, has announced a raft of territory sales for Richard Gere starrer “MotherFatherSon,” a drama series written by Tom Rob Smith, Emmy-nominated for “The Assassination of Gianni Versace.” The show will screen Tuesday at Series Mania, France, in the International Panorama section. Buyers for the eight-part thriller include [...]

  • TV News Roundup: Netflix Releases Trailer

    TV News Roundup: Netflix Releases Trailer for 'Special'

    In today’s roundup, Netflix releases a trailer for “Special,” and Wrestlemania’s main event will be a women’s match, a first in WWE history. FIRST LOOKS Netflix has released the trailer for its upcoming 15-minute comedy show “Special.” Ryan O’Connell stars in the semi-autobiographical series about life as a gay man with cerebral palsy. The series is [...]

  • Apple Event: Everything We Learned From

    Everything We Learned From Today's Apple Event

    After revealing new services in news, finance, and gaming, Apple CEO Tim Cook kept the biggest, most anticipated announcement until last. Cook, along with heads of worldwide video programming Zack Van Amburg and Jamie Erlicht, and a whole group of Apple’s creative talents, presented the company’s new Apple TV+ streaming service, which is slated to [...]

  • Lauren Whitney

    Miramax President of TV Lauren Whitney Exits to Join Spyglass Media Group

    Lauren Whitney, the president of television for Miramax, is leaving the company, Variety has learned. She will now become the president of television for Spyglass Media Group effective April 1. The news comes less than two years after Whitney first joined Miramax. There, she oversaw the studio’s television development, in addition to “Spy City,” produced by [...]

  • Tim Cook Oprah Winfrey Steven Spielberg

    Apple Sits Out This Emmy Season, but Get Ready for a Frenzy of Contenders in 2020

    Apple won’t be entering the Emmy race this year — but get ready for 2020. The tech giant’s not-so-surprise launch of its new Apple TV+ video service on Monday included a hefty roster of top producing and acting talent that will immediately make the service an awards contender when it launches in the fall. That [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content