Pilot Watch: Parenthood

The networks have announced their Fall schedules, but which series will be worth watching? Throughout the Summer, as I watch the pilots, I'll be posting my first impressions. Note that a lot can change before a show actually makes it to air, so these aren't reviews, just quick thoughts on how the shows look now. Today's pick: the NBC drama Parenthood.

The show's premiere has been moved to midseason due to Maura Tierney's medical issues, which is a little sad because I'm kind of excited about Parenthood now. I hope Tierney's surgery and recovery go smoothly!

What's it about? Loosely based on the Steve Martin movie of the same name, Parenthood focuses on the Braverman family, a group of wildly different adult siblings and their parents and children living near each other in Berkeley.

Who's in it? Peter Krause, Maura Tierney, Monica Potter, Craig T. Nelson, Dax Shepard, Erika Christensen

The good: Jason Katims of Friday Night Lights wrote this script, and the man just knows how to write a TV show. By the end of the 50 minutes, I had a good sense of all of the characters and felt thoroughly invested in their lives. A lot of storylines are packed into this pilot, but it still felt well-paced. The big surprise to me was Shepard, who looks like exactly the right pick for the slacker Braverman brother.

The bad: Parenthood could run into the Brothers and Sisters problem, with too many characters and not enough time to show them all (especially the kids — I occasionally forgot about the existence of a child or two). The first episode is bleaker than I expected, with every character having his or her share of problems, and a little bit of humor could really help the show from getting too heavy.

Will I watch? Absolutely. At the end of the show, I felt a little sad and a little emotionally manipulated — but in a way that made me want to tune in again.

To watch a promo for the show and see some pictures of the cast, just read more.

Photos courtesy of NBC