Browsing Tag

NBC’s Parenthood is based on the 1989 film directed by Ron Howard, and aside from a large cast of characters who are all related in some easy-breezy way, the similarities with the movie seem to end. The series is a dramedy focusing on the Braverman clan and the trials which shaped their lives.

Where Parenthood really excels is its excellent casting much like ABC’s Modern Family, its all about the people behind these characters and how well they gel together. Anchoring the show are the beautiful Lauren Graham (Sarah Braverman), Peter Krause (Adam Braverman), and Braverman patriarch Zeek Braverman played by Craig T. Nelson who always shines.

The first hour provides a decent amount of laughs, mostly when Graham is in the room, and sets up a seasons worth of storylines with Sarah moving back in with her parents have a financial downturn, Adam dealing with the diagnosis of his son Max with Asperger’s. There are your typical sitcom moments, such as Sarah’s son catching her sexual escapades with a portly, balding former-classmate (Mike O’Malley) and your typical drama moments with long pauses and furrowed brows.

There’s definitely a lot to like here, and while the episode blows all of its comedic chops in the first 20 minutes, and loads up the final two acts with heavy drama, it’s still easy to see that the writers are mixing in a healthy balance of both. Ultimately the show needs time to grow into its own, but from what we’ve seen so far there are very capable people both behind and in-front of the camera and Parenthood can easily make its way into can’t miss territory with a few more episodes like the pilot.

NBC’s long list of great comedy shows can add another entry in Community, which is aptly being called The Office in Community College. The series doesn’t present itself as a documentary like the aforementioned workplace comedy, however the cast of characters is every bit as memorable and the writing is top notch throughout the pilot.

The series focuses on Jeff, played by the very funny and criminally overlooked for years Joel McHale (The Soup, The IT Crowd), the series centers on the happenings of a group of students from all walks of life at Greendale Community College. From the opening speech by the school’s dean till the end credits role there’s a lot of clever moments even while some of the problems borrow from the sitcom cliché handbook.

Jeff is a washed up lawyer whose degree from “Columbia” has been brought into question. Now he needs to secure a degree from the United States to prevent himself from being disbarred. Our introduction to him and Danny Pudi’s Abed is just one of the episodes shinning moments. Jeff wants to get with Britta (Gillian Jacobs) so he organizes a Spanish study group which grows to eventually include several other students including Chevy Chase’s Pierce whose grandiose stories could only be true if he owned the college and was just milling about.

While a lot of the pilot’s jokes hit, only accentuated by the wonderful cast, the predictable story about boy meets girl, boy lies to girl, tries to cover it up, girl finds out, etc. is so overplayed that the ending of the episode is pretty much known from the very beginning, however getting to the end is the fun part and that’s where Community is able to keep your interest for 22 minutes.

While it remains to be seen if Community can break out like The Office, or if it will disappoint like Parks & Recreation, but when the season starts in mid-September there will be at least one person firmly tuned in.