Netflix Instant Pick: Parenthood
As much as I love watching movies, I somehow manage to love TV shows even more. Maybe it’s because it’s so easy to marathon. Maybe it’s because I’m a serial monogamist who loves seeing characters develop over many episodes and seasons. Or maybe it’s just because some of the best storytelling over the last decade has been on the small screen. For any TV lover, Parenthood is the perfect comfort food. I don’t think there’s a single other show on TV right now that is so emotionally cathartic, week in and week out, and so accurate in its portrayal of family life. Parenthood is the kind of show that can break your heart and put it back together again within 40 minutes.
Centered on the Braverman clan in Berkeley, California, the show stars TV favorites Lauren Graham (Gilmore Girls) and Peter Krause (Sports Night, Six Feet Under) as adult siblings Sarah and Adam Braverman, respectively, alongside their younger siblings Crosby (Dax Shepard) and Julia (Erika Christensen). Each of the four Braverman kids has their own kids now, but even if you don’t have kids yourself (and I don’t), you will recognize yourself in at least one of the relationships on this show, whether it is in Sarah’s rebellious daughter Amber (poignantly played by Mae Whitman, she of Ann Her? Veal fame from Arrested Development) struggling to connect with her mom or having a creatively eccentric grandmother like Braverman matriarch Camille (Bonnie Bedelia). From the inane strife that always accompanies family holidays to asking yourself how you could be related to so many crazy people, Parenthood effectively touches on truths universal to all families.
There isn’t a single main character on Parenthood I don’t adore, and the show is just unceasingly warm and touching. I’m sure a lot of that is due to showrunner Jason Katims, who previously served as the showrunner of the amazing Friday Night Lights and also wrote for the emotionally resonant My So-Called Life. From the pitch-perfect choice of Bob Dylan’s “Forever Young” as the theme song to the rich production design of every character’s home, Parenthood does exactly what good TV should do—create a space where you want to be for however long you’re watching, whether it’s one 40-minute episode or a day-long marathon.
Parenthood is currently available on Netflix.