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The Lauren Graham drama gets a TV-on-DVD release just before its fourth season kicks in....
Universal / 775 Minutes / 2011-2012 / Unrated / Street Date: August 7, 2012
Ron Howard's Parenthood seems perfectly applicable as the seed of a television entity: That 1989 film about mothers and daughters, of sons and dads was an interwoven, multi-character study of the delicate art of family relations at the end of the 1980s - the kind of thing that could keep storylines afloat for years in a television syntax. And while none of its offshoot NBC series hearkens specifically back to Parenthood the film, it can definitely be argued that the show does exactly what Howard's film did, only way more of it.
For the most part, the show works with a craftsmanlike diligence. There isn't a wild amount of organic dramatic quality to the show - as solid as it can be, it has 'night-time TV' stamped squarely and directly on its forehead - but as is the case with all well-oiled television, once the hook of Parenthood gets into you (for me, it was about half-way through its first season), you want to follow it out. Yes, Parenthood is a relatively mundane series, but that's one of its most roundabout successes: Sometimes having a family is mundane, and finding the nuance and merit in that is one of the key elements of life - and Parenthood knows it.
This junior-year release of the series on DVD has our beloved characters going through the ringer yet again. Sarah (Lauren Graham) has trouble balancing her new romance with Mark (Jason Ritter) with her kids' schedules, Adam (Peter Krause) finds his old job falling to pieces, only to head toward a shaky career alongside his zany younger brother Crosby (Dax Shepard), and there's even a family road trip thrown in for good measure.
And what can I say? It works....