NBC’s Parenthood is a drama deserving of the kind of veneration normally reserved for Mad Men, Breaking Bad, and other cable TV darlings. Based very loosely on the 1989 Ron Howard-directed comedy of the same name and developed by Friday Night Lights writer Jason Katims, the series is a deft mix of humor and gut-wrenching poignancy that can, rather amazingly, turn its audience into bunch of sobbing fools without having to resort to emotional manipulation. Parenthood revolves around the Bravermans: Zeek (Craig T. Nelson) and Camille (Bonnie Bedelia); their four adult children, Adam (Peter Krause), Sarah (Lauren Graham), Julia (Erika Christensen), and Crosby (Dax Shepard); and the significant others and kids of the four siblings. They’re a family so close-knit and mutually supportive that they’d seemingly rather die than not do everything together—they attend little league games and school plays as a 16-member unit. They are the kind of “fight hard but love harder” crew that should be nauseating to watch. Yet, these characters are written and portrayed with so much honesty and as a result Parenthood is never repellently schmaltzy.