Parenthood (1990 TV series)

Genre Comedy
Directed by Alan Myerson
Betty Thomas
Allan Arkush
Matia Karrell
Starring David Arquette
Jayne Atkinson
Ed Begley, Jr.
Thora Birch
Maryedith Burrell
Leonardo DiCaprio
Mary Jackson
Zachary La Voy
Sheila MacRae
Bess Meyer
Susan Norman
Ken Ober
Ivyann Schwan
Max Elliott Slade
William Windom
Opening theme "I Love to See You Smile" performed by Randy Newman
Composer(s) Mason Daring
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 1
No. of episodes 12 (list of episodes)
Executive producer(s) Ron Howard
David Tyron King
Producer(s) Sascha Schneider
Editor(s) Joanne D'Antonio
Briana London
Camera setup Single-camera
Running time 30 minutes
Production company(s) Imagine Television
Universal Television
Original network NBC
Audio format Stereo
Original release August 20, 1990 (1990-08-20) – August 11, 1991 (1991-08-11)
Preceded by Parenthood (1989 film)
Followed by Parenthood (2010)

Parenthood is an American sitcom based on the 1989 film of the same name. Executive produced by Ron Howard (who also directed the film), the series aired for one season on NBC.[1]

Parenthood was one of many failed movie-to-TV adaptations in the 1990-91 season, also including Baby Talk (a follow up to Look Who's Talking), Ferris Bueller and Uncle Buck.[2]


The series delivered seriocomic vignettes on rearing children, revolving around four generations of a middle-class California (the movie however, took place in St. Louis, Missouri) family, the Buckmans. The Huffners of the film were renamed the Merricks on the TV series.

The pilot episode was considered by USA Today and New York Post as the best movie-to-TV spinoff since M*A*S*H.[3][4] However, ratings for the series were low and Parenthood was canceled after 12 episodes.

The series is notable for featuring a number of people who at the time were unheard of but later became famous. One of the writers on the show was Joss Whedon. The cast featured Leonardo DiCaprio, David Arquette, and Thora Birch (billed simply as "Thora" here).

Cast and characters

*Max Elliott Slade, who portrayed Kevin Buckman on the TV series also portrayed a younger version of Steve Martin's character in the film.


Order Title Director Writer(s) Original airdate Code
1"Pilot"Allan ArkushLowell Ganz, Babaloo MandelAugust 20, 1990 (1990-08-20)101
2"My Dad Can Beat Up Your BMW"Allan ArkushDavid Tyron KingSeptember 22, 1990 (1990-09-22)102
3"The Plague"Alan MyersonJoss WhedonSeptember 29, 1990 (1990-09-29)103
4"I Never Invested for My Father"Betty ThomasDavid Tyron KingOctober 6, 1990 (1990-10-06)104
5"Love Stinks"Allan ArkushRuss WoodyOctober 13, 1990 (1990-10-13)105
6"Cars & Cards"Alan MyersonGlen MerzerOctober 20, 1990 (1990-10-20)106
7"Hollow Halloween"Allan ArkushJerry LacyOctober 27, 1990 (1990-10-27)107
8"Small Surprises"Matia KarrellJoss WhedonNovember 3, 1990 (1990-11-03)108
9"Take My Parents, Please"Allan ArkushTBANovember 10, 1990 (1990-11-10)109
10"Thanksgiving with a T that Rhymes with B that Stands for Basketball"Betty ThomasDavid Tyron KingNovember 17, 1990 (1990-11-17)110
11"Gil vs. the Deck"Matia KarrellAllison M. GibsonDecember 16, 1990 (1990-12-16)111
12"Fun For Kids"Allan ArkushDavid Tyron King, Joss WhedonAugust 11, 1991 (1991-08-11)112


The show was featured on the now-defunct cable network Trio in 2005 as part of their "Brilliant But Cancelled" series of shows that were cancelled before their time.

New series

A new television adaptation of the movie[5] premiered on NBC in March 2010. Craig T. Nelson and Bonnie Bedelia play the parental roles, they are joined by Peter Krause, Lauren Graham, Erika Christensen, Dax Shepard and Monica Potter.[6]


  1. "Parenthood Takes To Air". Sun Sentinel. Retrieved 2010-11-07.
  2. Carter, Bill. Carter, Bill (1990-12-17). "Heard About a Film That Became a Television Series?".
  3. Bianculli, David. "One Big Happy Family," New York Post, August 20, 1990.
  4. Collins, Monica. ""Parenthood," Fun for Kids of All Ages," USA Today, August 20, 1990.
  5. "NBC Order Pilot Of Parenthood @ Unreality Primetime". 2009-01-29. Retrieved 2009-05-02.
  6. "Monica Potter Joins NBC's Parenthood". 2009-04-20. Retrieved 2009-05-02.
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