Ken Tucker
October 27, 2012 AT 04:14 PM EDT

Parenthood has been so good lately, it’s made me all the more worried about it. By which I mean, the introduction of Ray Romano as a grumpy photographer with a crush on Lauren Graham’s Sarah, along with giving Monica Potter’s Kristina breast cancer, has raised the stakes both within the series and for its audience.

How long can a big-cast, ensemble drama on network TV survive without larger ratings than Parenthood is attracting? And especially at a time when there are more reasons than ever to become invested in it?

This is (partly) the subject of my weekly video review:

Let me add a few more kudos that the video didn’t have time to mention. Peter Krause and the writers have created a portrait of a suburban guy as vivid as anyone in John Updike’s Maples stories. Max Burkholder continues to be superb as Max Braverman, his recent student-body election a truly electrifying campaign. I was very glad to see Sarah Ramos’ Haddie return from college, even under the grave circumstances. And I have to hand it to Erika Christiensen and Sam Jaeger — handed the irritating subplot of the adoption of Victor (Xolo Mariduena), they’ve made it work, as have the writers in one aspect: Julia’s leaving her job was handled with all the complexity it merited.

Is there a good show on TV as neglected in the pop-cultural conversation as Parenthood seems to be? Let’s rally around it, shall we?

Twitter: @kentucker

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