It's nearly time to redirect your tears to Thursday nights.
"Parenthood," which has long lived in the shadows on NBC's lineup, returns for its fifth season on Thursday at 10 p.m. ET/PT, its plum new time slot. It will cap off the network's shift in its brand of comedies for the night, which take on a more family-heavy, broad appeal.
Placing the family drama in the 10 p.m. hour marks a departure tonally for the network, which has seen the demise of darker dramas such as "Prime Suspect," "Awake," "The Firm," and "Do No Harm" (recent entrant "Hannibal" at least nabbed a second season). Does the once-formidable slot bring with it pressure storytelling-wise for the quiet show?
"My only hesitation is there are people from the network here," creator and executive producer Jason Katims joked during a small gathering with media recently.
"No," he added, "I feel like the show is the show. Coming into every season, we think about it the same way. We really want to build stories that will be both real and entertaining for the audience. The audience has come to feel like the show is still that show."
In the fifth season premiere, a few months have passed -- "I like starting in the middle of things," Katims said. Because the cast of characters is so wide, we won't provide an update on everyone. But prepare to see Crosby (Dax Shepard) and Jasmine (Joy Bryant) welcome their new baby, Hank (Ray Ramano) wooing in a non-creepy way ... Max (Max Burkholder), and in-remission Kristina (Monica Potter) considering a life of politics.
While the episode is more light-hearted than the roller coaster of despair we experienced last season, that doesn't necessarily mean things will stay that way, Katims teased.
"I kind of feel like there's a general trend or way the show works that the show continues to, as we get into more and more episodes, the stories naturally become more dramatic as you go," he said. " In the first episodes, you're starting a lot of things. To me, it sort of works to make the first couple of episode lighter because you're sort of ramping up and starting a lot of the stories. The more dramatic aspects of the show tend to kick in. That's one of the things I like about the show. We tell these stories in an organic way."
For more on the upcoming season, check out the cast interviews given earlier this summer at the Television Critics Assn. press tour.
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