Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Parenthood Under Friday Night Lights Part 2

Parenthood Under Friday Night Lights Part 2

I talked a great deal in the past about Friday Night Lights, a show that I should not give a shit about given the facts that I neither care about Football or High school. Well, the show runner of that masterpiece of underrated television had his hand in reviving something else. Parenthood

Parenthood is now a show.. again. Yes, this is a show based on the 1989 movie, that had a short run TV series on NBC in 1990. I'm sure if this one fails, in 2040 there will be another Parenthood series. It's just the way that the world works. If you recall during the Olympics, two shows got heavy advertising on NBC. One of them was The Marriage Ref, which apparently is the kind of smug, elitist, "let's all laugh at the know-nothing schmucks" entertainment that midwesterners with a Nelson ratings box tend to accuse Hollywood folks like myself of priding themselves on. It started out strong but may not last the test of time.

The other is Parenthood.

Which as I addressed, is a show based off an old movie.. a 20 year old movie. The act of bringing this show to air was troubled, to put it nicely. Soon after the pilot was shot and the show was ordered, original star Maura Tierney was diagnosed with breast cancer and had to drop out. She was replaced by her friend Lauren Graham and the show had to be reshot and pushed off the fall schedule.

And if that wasn't enough, during these re-shoots, an NBC executive dropped dead of a brain aneurysm while visiting the set. I'm sure I'll let snoops start and debunk any rumors of this production being haunted. So even though it has all this history behind it, I'm sure that you're wondering what this show is all about.

Well...it's about...parenthood, I guess?

Seriously, though, it's based on the excellent movie from Ron Howard. It follows three generations of The Braverman Family as they deal with, well, each other. It's a family drama, guys; it doesn't lend itself well to synopsis and it's sold on the strength of the cast.

And look at this fucking cast:
  • Peter Krause
  • Lauren Graham
  • Erika Christensen
  • Dax Shepard
  • Craig T. Nelson
  • Bonnie Bedelia

And the lead writer is none other than Jason Katims.. The whole reason why Friday Night Lights is an amazing show in itself. That should have grabbed your attention and told you exactly what to expect, didn't it?

Yeah, you do. You've just told me that NBC's going to repeatedly fuck it over on scheduling and advertising.

NBC's putting it on after one of their best performers, The Biggest Loser.

But NBC doesn't GET good television! Surely the show must suck!

I thought there was a chance of that too, but lo and behold, people seem to be digging it. Granted, there are others who dismiss the show as too schmaltzy. They might have a point, but I'm a huge sap and I have enjoyed it so far on a weekly basis. I have to say that I firmly believe this is one of the best casts I've seen in a long time. There isn't a time where I'm bored about who is on the screen, each of the characters have something going on that I care about and all of the stories are compelling in themselves.

Even better news is that NBC has renewed it for a second season
NBC president: "It's gratifying that 'Parenthood' continues to garner critical acclaim and is generating highly positive reaction from viewers, thanks to the fearless creativity of its producers"
While I think it may be a little much to call it fearless or even very creative. It's sort of like they're serving me good chocolate chip cookies at exactly the right temperature. It's throughly satisfying and makes me very happy, but it's not like the idea of a warm chocolate chip cookie is breaking new ground. Part of the reason this show is so enjoyable is because it's familiar and they do what they know we will like good.

I can't say I have been surprised by the way the stories have been going. All of them seem to be telegraphed a good two or three episodes down the line. But again, that's not a bad thing. I work in the film industry and I just have read so many scripts and worked on so many shows already that I just have a gut feeling on how things go. As for her next clause, though, "and the extraordinary performances delivered by its ensemble cast." is definitely true.

I suppose there's always hope that if it doesn't get picked up for season 3 and on, DirecTV will be happy to pick it up.

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