It's another ridiculously busy night of TV, with premieres and finales jousting for attention amid other distractions. It's just as well that CBS' top-rated lineup is taking a breather with repeats.
First, the farewells, going head to head. Once again, NBC sends away its reliably tear-jerking Parenthood (10/9c) earlier in the TV year than we'd like, but a limited run of 15 episodes beats the alternative. Shows like this don't tend to repeat well, and if a shorter run makes business sense — while freeing up the time period in the back half of the season for something else (in this case, a retooled Smash in two weeks) — then so be it. This fourth season has been Parenthood's strongest and most emotionally charged to date, especially in the storyline involving Kristina's breast cancer ordeal, providing Monica Potter and Peter Krause (as husband Adam) with their strongest dramatic material to date. Emmy voters, wake up and take note.
With the success of reality series such as Teen Mom and High School Moms, TV is no stranger to teen pregnancy. However, it's still widely the exception rather than the rule that a scripted character — on a network show no less — will have an abortion. But after riding a wave of critical and commercial success thanks to its honest-to-life depictions of breast cancer and post-traumatic stress disorder, among others, Parenthood tackled the issue head-on in last week's episode. One minute, Drew (Miles Heizer) was worrying about college acceptance letters and the next, he was watching his girlfriend walk through the door at Planned Parenthood to take care of the unwelcome surprise. "We attempted to tell the story in a way that was balanced and would be fair to people watching the show who might have different points of view," showrunner Jason Katims tells TVGuide.com. "We've really been able to tackle difficult subjects in a way that is very honest and that's what we really were trying to do."
With just two episodes left in Parenthood's fourth season (Tuesday at 10/9c on NBC), Katims discussed the decision behind the shocking plot point, Sarah's (Lauren Graham) big decision between Mark (Jason Ritter) and Hank (Ray Romano), why there's hope for Amber (Mae Whitman) and Ryan (Matt Lauria) and previews one of his favorite scenes from...read more
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Question: How do you feel about the subject matter on Parenthood this season? Some of my favorite moments on the show have always been the lighthearted sibling moments with the jokes and teasing. Those moments are all but gone as the Kristina storyline has taken precedence this year. From the Twitter and Facebook comments I've read, it is really ringing realistically to many viewers. The show is handling it with grace, but it's so very heavy that it seems like a departure for a show that has always had a good dose of comedy in each episode. I doubt that they're gaining viewers this year. My fear is that for a show that has always seemed to get renewed by the skin of its teeth, this feels like the end. Do you have any insight as to ratings or where it stands with NBC? — Jenniferread more