If you didn't catch any of the new series Parenthood last year, you missed a gem. A capable ensemble cast tackles the topic pretty well, and doesn't pull punches (too much, at least).
Story-wise, there is a lot of depth and some profundity to find. One of the aspects I appreciated about the show was that they faced some real and substantial issues head-on: inter-racial couples, separation and divorce, learning disabilities, and teen rebellion were a few. They also didn't mind admitting frequently that there are always consequences to choices, and sometimes the consequences are severe.
At another level, we found the acting and direction to be of better-than-average quality as well. It's refreshing to find a show that, a) isn't presented as "reality"; b) doesn't rely on sexual innuendo or slapstick comedy and laughtracks; and c) doesn't revolve around some sort of behind-the-scenes legal or medical angle.
There are some disappointments. It's a little far-fetched how much this large extended family is able to prioritize things like a nephew's baseball game. And there are occasionally scenes that are suggestive enough that we'll make sure the kids aren't sneaking a peek.
But how can you NOT like a show that ends its first season with Craig T. Nelson (yes, "Coach") singing Herman's Hermits' "Something Tells Me I'm into Something Good" while playing the ukelele?
Parenthood starts season #2 tonight on NBC. You still have time to watch the last episode of season 1 online, if you hurry.