It’s a barometer of changes in the TV business that when the movie Parenthood was last turned into a TV show, it was a half-hour single-camera comedy/drama (one of the writers was Joss Whedon). Now the same network, NBC, is making the same movie into another show, but it’s totally different because this version is an hour-long single-camera comedy/drama. The writer of the new version will be Friday Night Lights producer Jason Katims.
Jokes about NBC’s total lack of creativity aside — okay, we can never put them completely aside — I never get why Parenthood is considered such a great prospect for TV adaptation. Yeah, it’s a big-screen sitcom, as Ken Tucker pointed out in his (favourable) review of the 1990 flop TV version, but that’s the thing — it was a pleasant enough movie, but has nothing to distinguish it from many other TV shows about families. You could literally make a new show with the exact same premise without ripping off Parenthood, because the premise is just, well, here’s a family. It may have made sense to turn it into a show in 1990 because the movie was fresh in people’s minds, but why now, except that somebody at NBC remembers the movie?
The intro for the original TV version of Parenthood is available in this batch of 1990 intros. It starts at around 5:05. But also check out what’s right before it: the intro for Going Places, a Miller-Boyett show starring Alan Ruck, Heather Locklear, Hallie Todd, Staci Keanan and Holland Taylor. And it ends with the whole cast riding in a freakin’ boat. Ah, 1990.