Season three started September 13 at 10 p.m. on NBC.Why It’s Worth Getting Into: Nothing will ever replace Friday Night Lights
, but showrunner Jason Katims brings the same emotional intelligence to the Braverman family that he did to the Taylors (and the Panthers and then the Lions). Family dramas are a rare breed today, but Parenthood
’s many in-show factions somehow make it feel like many different dramas in one. Plus, Lauren Graham is great (if a bit Lorelai Gilmore 2.0) and Mae Whitman is the best crier on television
.All You Need to Know: Grandparents Zeek and Camille Braverman (Craig T. Nelson and Bonnie Bedelia) have four adult children: the self-destructive Sarah (Graham), who, with her two teenagers Amber and Drew, moved back in with her folks; the upstanding Adam (Peter Krause), whose young son has Asperger’s; the uptight Julia (Erica Christensen), who is the family overacheiver; and the free-spirited Crosby (Dax Shepard), who’s still trying to figure out how to be a parent to the 6-year-old son he didn’t know he had. And don’t worry about much else: The Bravermans are a very verbal bunch, with the
naming their feelings, which brings new viewers up to speed in pretty
much every scene.
Three Episodes to Get You Up to Speed:
” (season 1, episode 4): The show starts finding its regular internal rhythms, with Crosby learning to parent and Sarah dealing with the fact that her kids don’t have a strong father figure in their lives.
(season 1, episode 12): Everyone gets in some good screaming and crying when Amber sleeps with her cousin’s boyfriend. Hoooo boy.
“Meet the New Boss
” (season 2, episode 12): Parenthood
blends sentimentality with vulnerability, and one of the show’s most perfect moments is teenage Amber singing at an open-mike night at a coffee shop. Her family’s there, beaming at her as she sings through her nerves, so proud but so scared that she’s almost grown up.
Alternately, just jump right in with last night’s season premiere