Kristina Braverman ‘Won’t Back Down’ as ‘Parenthood’ bravely tackles school choice

Mainstream TV dramas, most of which are produced in statist Hollywood, are still far from libertarian-leaning. But "Parenthood," which as recently as last fall had Jasmine talking about how good she felt voting for Obama in 2008 (without any follow-up about her thoughts on his performance as president), is bucking the trend with a storyline that launched last week. Frustrated with Max being squeezed out of the education system (he's too Aspergery for public school, too normal for special schools), Kristina is looking into starting her own school.

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War — what is it good for? A few good TV plots, at least

We're in a curious situation right now where 94 percent of the country supports pro-war presidential candidates yet other polls show that the majority of people are against war (although most of Congress is pro-war). Of course, war is a complicated issue, and I don't pretend to understand all of it (although I certainly respect soldiers' views, which tend to lean anti-war, in my experience). But because of the mainstream media's focus on the two major parties, the raw fact of our involvement in the Middle East is generally not questioned -- rather, the questions are about the details of how to conduct the wars.

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First episode impressions: ‘Parenthood’ Season 4

"Parenthood" (9 p.m. Central Tuesdays, NBC) started Season 4 with a combination of a pitch-perfect life threshold yarn (Haddie goes off to college), a funny family-dynamic oddity (Crosby finds his son praying) and a believable issue that you don't see explored too often on TV (Julia is finding it hard to love her adopted son).

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(Hopefully not) a fond farewell to ‘Parenthood’

I don't spend too much time anymore worrying about whether a show will be canceled; I take the "enjoy it while it lasts" approach to everything. So Season 3's penultimate episode of "Parenthood" took me off guard, first with the sad-tears moment of Julia not getting to adopt the baby, then with the happy-tears moment of Jasmine asking Crosby to marry her, then with the preview of the season's final episode, which looked very much like a series finale.

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First episode impressions: ‘Parenthood’ Season 3

I detest the phrase "something for everyone" because 95 percent of the time when an event claims to offer "something for everyone," it doesn't interest me in the least bit. "Parenthood" (9 p.m. Central Tuesdays on NBC) is very much a "something for everyone" show, and indeed it doesn't have a singular, definable hook (other than what's right there in the name, but to me, a show entirely about parenthood sounds terrible, and I've wisely looked past the title).

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Sarah Braverman is no Lorelai Gilmore, and that’s a good thing

Could it be that Sarah Braverman is a better TV character than Lorelai Gilmore? To even type that question seems sacrilegious, but I will say this: When I watch Lauren Graham as Sarah on "Parenthood" (9 p.m. Central Tuesdays on NBC), I don't think of Lorelai. That might be because I don't get a weekly reminder of how great "Gilmore Girls" is anymore, but it's also because Graham and the writers have made Sarah into a completely fresh character.

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First episode (of new season) impressions: ‘Gossip Girl,’ ‘Life Unexpected,’ ‘Parenthood’

"Gossip Girl" (8 p.m. Central Mondays, The CW)

1. The actors who play Dan and Vanessa continue to look like they punch a clock, sleepwalk through their scenes, punch out and go home. What's particularly strange about this is that I thought both Penn Badgley and Jessica Szohr were good actors when "Gossip Girl" started.

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‘Parenthood’ is hit-and-miss, but the hits are really good

Jason Katims, whose resume includes "My So-Called Life," "Roswell" and "Friday Night Lights," is now on that short list of producers where you have to check out all of his products, 'cause it's gonna be good. His latest project, "Parenthood" (9 p.m. Central Tuesdays on NBC) follows three generations of Bravermans. Two episodes in, about half of the plotlines are really good and half are merely OK.

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