‘Parenthood’ a promising family drama

Posted March 01, 2010, at 5:55 p.m.
PARENTHOOD -- &quotPilot" Episode 101 -- Pictured: (l-r) Peter Krause as Adam, Max Burkholder as Max -- NBC Photo: Chris Haston
? NBC Universal Inc.
PARENTHOOD -- "Pilot" Episode 101 -- Pictured: (l-r) Peter Krause as Adam, Max Burkholder as Max -- NBC Photo: Chris Haston

At long last, NBC has found a spot for a promising family drama.

Now that Jay Leno has moved back to late night where he belongs, “Parenthood,” the latest TV version of the 1989 Ron Howard film, gets one of the five 10 p.m. slots suddenly freed up on NBC.

Debuting tonight, “Parenthood,” the second TV version of the film, focuses on two grandparents (played by Craig T. Nelson and Bonnie Bedelia), their two sons and two daughters and their extended families.

Responsible oldest sibling Adam (Peter Krause, “Six Feet Under”) and wife Kristina (Monica Potter), teen daughter Haddie (Sarah Ramos) and her oddball little brother Max (Max Burkholder) constitute the normal family of the clan. This gets turned upside down when they discover why Max is so strange.

Career woman Julia (Erika Christensen struggles to deal with the fact that her young daughter prefers the company of her stay-at-home dad, Joel (Sam Jaeger).

Sister Sarah (Lauren Graham, “Gilmore Girls”), a financially strapped single mom, decides to move home, much to the disapproval of her two teens, Amber (Mae Whitman) and Drew (Miles Heizer).

Finally, there’s younger brother Crosby (Dax Shepard), a commitmentphobe who refuses to have a child with his longtime girlfriend. Soon, though, a secret from his past leads to a strange shift in his status.

“Parenthood” is a winning blend of melodrama and comedy, a welcome break from the procedurals that clog the network airwaves. It’s a character study with a wide range of characters. CBS’ “The Good Wife” has too much of a ratings head start on it, but “Parenthood” should still outperform the aptly named “The Forgotten,” which is what ABC seemed to have done with it.

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