It's not my intention to do news updates here on a regular basis, but there was no way I couldn't mention today's renewal of NBC's Parenthood for a fifth season of 22 episodes. The show is one of my favorite on television and it's arguably gotten better every season, so I'm happy. In fact, barring Dan Harmon being rehired on Community, a premiere date for Steven DeKnight's Incursion or a time traveler from the future telling me that George R.R. Martin finishes his books in time to end Game of Thrones properly, there's probably no piece of television news that could've made me happier right now.
It's no surprise, of course, with Parenthood rising to the surface amidst NBC's ratings apocalypse – it's actually capable of hitting a 2.0 in the 18-49 demo without a lead-in from The Voice, which on NBC in 2013 pretty much makes it a hit by default – but what is a pleasant surprise is it being given a full 22 episodes for the first time since season 2 (season 3 had 18 episodes, season 4 had 15). This makes business sense, seeing as NBC shortened this last season to allow the much higher-budgeted Smash to take its place, only for that show to come back to catastrophic ratings before getting shunted to Saturdays and unceremoniously canned. Someone at NBC seems to have finally woken up and said, hey, maybe we should stick with this thing that, by our standards, actually works!
But it also makes creative sense. I'm normally in favor of shorter TV seasons – especially for shows that rely on fast pacing and life-or-death stakes – but Parenthood boss (and former Friday Night Lights boss) Jason Katims is one of the few drama showrunners I trust to make any length work. Parenthood's relatively low stakes make it the perfect show to take things at a leisurely pace and explore various subplots and secondary characters (and there's a lot of characters, as you can see pictured above).
So, yeah. I'm deeply pleased. And if you're uninitiated, now's the perfect time for you to hop onto Netflix and watch all the Parenthood they have available (unless you still haven't seen Katims' last show Friday Night Lights, in which case you should watch that first, then Parenthood).