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Until she finds a place of her own, the divorced Sarah lives with parents Zeek (Craig T. Nelson) and Camille (Bonnie Bedelia), who aren't as happy as she thought. She also reconnects with an old high-school boyfriend (Glee's Mike O'Malley) and considers a relationship with Amber's English teacher (Joan of Arcadia's Jason Ritter), while Crosby gets to know his son with Jasmine (Joy Bryant), a former flame. Adam's 15-year-old daughter, Haddie (Sarah Ramos), also starts dating, which causes her father and mother, Kristina (Monica Potter), no end of stress.
The cozy California setup--including overlapping dialogue--recalls Brothers and Sisters, except Parenthood moves at a more relaxed pace. The entire ensemble is strong, even Shepard, an actor best known for comedies, like Idiocracy. In their commentary on the first episode, Katims and director Thomas Schlamme say they shot the pilot with Maura Tierney, who had to drop out due to health reasons (they re-shot after Graham joined the cast). If Parenthood is rarely as funny as the 1989 movie, it becomes more emotionally involving as these 13 episodes unfold (a benefit of long-form storytelling). Interestingly, it's the second series to spin off the film--the 1990 version met with cancellation. --Kathleen C. Fennessy