There's still another month to wait until our favorite grab-the-entire-box-of-tissues-because-you're-going-t0-need-them show comes back from a very long hiatus, but it's clear that Parenthood is finally getting the support from NBC that it's always hoped for (and deserved).
After getting just a 15-episode pickup for season four and seemingly wavering on the brink of cancelation, Parenthood will return on September 26th with a full 22-episode order for its fifth season, and it will do so in the much-coveted 10 p.m. Thursday time slot. This is the same prime time slot the network had previously reserved for shows including L.A. Law and ER.
Now that we know the Braverman clan is back in it for the long run, let's take a look at what we might see from one of the biggest families on TV. NBC recently released an official "Discover Parenthood" teaser for the show's fifth season, with plenty of tidbits that might give us clues as to where everyone is going.
The first thing the 30-second spot does is replay the moment when Adam and Kristina find out that she's beaten her cancer. It's a great way to relive the joyous moment, but it also sets into motion the idea that the show's most trusted and solid couple will have to deal with the aftermath and ramifications of having to live through this enormous emotional and physical battle they've been waging for the past season.
Next, we get a reminder that Crosby and Jasmine are about to give Jabbar a baby brother or sister in the fifth season. Judging by what showrunner Jason Katims said during the TCA tour, it appears Parenthood's timeline is going to jump eight or nine months when it returns in September, which means that we're going to see an awful lot of real-life new dad Dax Shepard playing with his new onscreen baby. Expect lots of cuddling, cooing and probably a few new-baby fumbles as well.
Amber (Mae Whitman) looks happier than we've ever seen her before in the teaser's next scene (she's practically glowing), as it looks like the troubles with her PTSD-suffering boyfriend (Matt Lauria) are fully resolved and she's got Mama Sarah (Lauren Graham) helping with wedding plans. Whether or not we'll see the actual wedding is still veiled in mystery, but it certainly looks like Ryan is a keeper.
Perhaps the most interesting moment in the teaser, however, happens in the last 10 seconds, as we see Ray Romano's Hank walk through the door. The look on Sarah Braverman's face clearly shows that we're not the only ones surprised to see everyone's favorite photographer back for another season. We're hoping this means that Sarah is done juggling the men in her life and working hard to focus on what makes her happy. Having Romano back in the fold should allow the characters to either move forward with their storyline or provide some much-needed closure there.
There are still plenty of Parenthood characters left who don't make an appearance in the teaser, but whose lives should make for interesting viewing come September. Max is presumably going to have to live with the pressures of being the student body president (and not just by filling the school with vending machines), while it remains to be seen how baby Nora is coming along and how Haddie plans on making the transition back to school now that her mom's on the mend.
The most glaring omission, though, might be Joel and Julia. We can presume that the resolution of the "Bad Victor" storyline is complete at this point (thank goodness), but the couple's work-life balance and Julia's desire not to be a permanent stay-at-home-mom are still up in the air. That alone should lead to some interesting screen time for the couple. We're also secretly hoping that we get to see the return of "Adorable Sydney" now that "I Hate Victor Sydney" has been vanquished.
Drew is off to college this year and, with Amber already out of the house and on her way down the aisle, we assume that means it's time for Sarah to tackle her first bout with empty nest syndrome. Here's hoping she doesn't fill the void with more ill-advised relationships. We'd also love to see Skyler Day come back for a few episodes (we love the Amy Ellis character), but with her and Drew both at college and moving on with their lives, it's unlikely.
That's a lot of speculation for the Bravermans (and we didn't even tackle the top of the family tree – Zeek and Camille). Parenthood consistently brings some of the most emotionally rich drama and slice-of-life humor to television, and the series deserves to find itself in a truly prime time slot for a full 22-episode run.