RAVE and WRECK of the week: March 29, 2010

Matt Busekroos

RAVE of the week:’Parenthood’

NBC’s new drama series “Parenthood” is a fine hour of drama with a lot of heart. “Parenthood” centers on the Braverman family. Parents Zeek (Craig T. Nelson) and Camille (Bonnie Bedelia) still remain active in their adult children’s lives, including Adam (Peter Krause), Crosby (Dax Shepard), Julia (Erika Christensen) and Sarah (Lauren Graham). Specifically, as Sarah enters a new phase of her life, she takes her two children and moves back into her parent’s house. This is Graham’s first series since long-running “Gilmore Girls” went off the air in 2007. Graham took over the role of Sarah after Maura Tierney departed the series last summer when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. “Parenthood” is reminiscent of ABC’s “Brothers & Sisters,” though this show is an attempted remake of the 1989 Ron Howard film starring Steve Martin. Beyond actual parenting, “Parenthood” tackles love, marriage and the balancing act of life. One of the best storylines on the show now features Adam’s son Max (Max Burkholder) showing signs that he is autistic. The writers have treated the story with great care. There have not been too many great new drama series, but “Parenthood” has the potential to become one of them. –MB

WRECK of the week: ‘At the Movies’ canceled

“At the Movies” has been canceled after 24 years on the air. First headlined by film critics Gene Siskel of the Chicago Tribune and Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times, Buena Vista Entertainment first picked up the series for syndication purposes in 1986. Siskel and Ebert became pop culture icons for the use of their thumbs up/down technique when rating films. The series enjoyed great success, earning several Primetime Emmy nominations. Sadly in 1998, Siskel was diagnosed with a brain tumor and died the following year. Ebert carried the torch on his own until fellow Chicago Sun-Times film critic Richard Roeper permanently filled Siskel’s position in 2000. For six years, Ebert and Roeper continued the series together. While not nearly as great as Siskel, Roeper held his own opposite Ebert and the two continued thoughtful discussion on films. Ebert’s own battle with cancer in 2006 forced the series to change once again and guest film critics filled in for Ebert as he recuperated. In 2008, Ebert and Roeper officially broke from the show. They were replaced with schmuck Ben Lyons (son of film critic Jeffrey Lyons) and Ben Mankiewicz (grandnephew of Joseph L. Mankiewicz, Oscar-winning director of “All About Eve”). The two Bens ushered in a year-long era of crap that made long time fans of “At the Movies” stop watching for good. While the show got back on track the last year with critics Michael Phillips of the Chicago Tribune and A.O. Scott of the New York Times, Disney announced the series was canceled for good on March 25. –MB