Anyway, all those shows make sense to me. They're firmly in my wheelhouse. They're either a genre show, or a superb drama, or in the best cases a mixture of both. But there's a show that I'm coming to realize that I enjoy more and more every time I watch it, and it really surprises me. That show is Parenthood.
My wife and I have been big fans of Peter Krause ever since Sports Night and Six Feet Under, so that was what initially led to us giving the show a try. At its heart, it's a fairly conventional show; a family drama about the trials and tribulations of raising a family. Normally, I avoid stuff like this for fear of it being nothing but "very special episodes" or unadulterated sudsy melodrama (how's it going, Brothers & Sisters?).
But Parenthood avoids too much of over-the-top soap operatic hysteria. The show is really about raising kids, and most of the conflict comes not from obvious melodramatic issues, but fairly family real-life problems. It skirts the line occasionally, but is saved by smart dialogue, a style of using over-lapping delivery that creates a sense of realism, and absolutely across the board stellar performances. Seriously, it's even made me like Dax Shepard, and I did not think that was in any way possible. There are some real standouts here, particularly from the kids and especially the superb Mae Whitman.
It's rare that a show ends, and you spend ten minutes talking about the choices made by the characters to your co-viewer, and it's in a good way. That happens in Parenthood after every episode. Maybe it's because I'm a dad now, but mostly I think it's just because it's a really well-done show. So, hopefully more people jump on board and give it a shot.