Will Judge Franck Tabouring make a good parent? He'll let you know in about six years.
The Bravermans are back in action…
Heading into its second season, NBC's Parenthood remains one of network television's smartest drama series. Boasting compelling characters who struggle with real-life issues and mostly refrain from obnoxious, implausible behavior, the show does a fabulous job addressing the various delights and hurdles of modern family life. On top of that, it also scores high in the entertainment department. It quickly found a solid enough following to give NBC a good enough reason to keep it alive for Parenthood: Season 2.
Facts of the Case
Produced by Brian Grazer and Ron Howard, and developed by Jason Katims, the show follows the day-to-day experiences of the Bravermans, a large Berkeley family trying to deal with all the ups and downs life throws at them. The second season DVD set includes twenty-two episodes spread across five discs.
Who are the Bravermans? If you haven't had a chance yet to meet TV's most energetic family, this is your opportunity to get hooked. As the second season kicks off, Adam (Peter Krause) and Kristina (Monica Potter) are still having a hard time dealing with their son's Asperger's syndrome. Adam's brother Crosby (Dax Shepard) takes on more responsibility as a first-time father, while their sister Julia (Erika Christensen) and her husband are thinking about a second child. Meanwhile, Sarah (Lauren Graham) is trying to balance life as a single mother with the prospects of a better career, and her parents Zeek and Camille are struggling to save their marriage.
The Braverman clan must face a horde of new, unexpected challenges this season. Herein lies one of the primary reasons the show works so well. While the depth of the main characters is certainly the strongest asset of Parenthood, it's the realistic approach to their problems that keeps the plot compelling throughout. The people you see on the screen here are as smart and as down to earth as fictional television characters can get. Thanks to superb writing and a strong effort to prevent an overload of schmaltz and monotony, the show succeeds in building on its clever, heartwarming story lines.
The importance of a strong family bond and the benefit of sticking together in harsh times are two themes continuously explored in Parenthood, which takes great pride in the way it treats its growing characters. Whether they're exploring new romances, trying to save crumbling relationships, resolving tricky conflicts, or learning valuable life lessons, the Bravermans also have their hands full trying to preserve harmony between siblings, and parents and kids. Watching them interact, fight, make up and simply enjoy the benefits of a large family remains a stimulating viewing experience we so rarely get to enjoy on network television these days.
Occasionally, the Bravermans straighten out some of their troubles in record speed. While this slightly damages the strikingly realistic feel of the show, it never grows into a major problem. The characters get to stay true to themselves, and that's what really counts. Great characters require exquisite acting. Even in this department, Parenthood scores high. The ensemble cast of talented film and television players hits all the right notes.
On DVD, Parenthood looks and sounds fabulous. The show is presented in a clean 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer boasting strong colors and a sharp image, and the quality of the sound excels as well. In terms of specials, the discs feature deleted scenes, a behind-the-scenes special, and audio commentaries for several episodes.
Season Two of Parenthood is just as delicious as the first. The show takes both the characters and family issues it introduced in Season One to the next level, successfully raising the entertainment value. NBC renewed the show for a third round, and I'm eager to discover what the Bravermans are up to next. There is never a dull moment with these folks, and that's exactly how it should be.
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