As their network enters the sixth year of a suicide dive that has left its affiliate stations battling for ratings crumbs with cable public-access channels, NBC executives have evidently decided that the problem is an inadequate gene pool. (For the shows, not the executives, though my money's on the latter.) So they've started hunting for programming in previous generations. The results are not promising.
Parenthood is the network's second attempt to remake Ron Howard's hit 1989 film into a television series, and the fact that you probably can't remember the first one (which launched the career of Leonardo DiCaprio, and killed those of practically everybody else associated with it) is definitely an inauspicious omen. And Who Do You Think You Are? literally drives NBC's programming hundreds of years into the past in an attempt to find the ancestors of modern celebrities. Mostly what the shows prove is that we still need legal protection from grave-robbing. Read my full reviews of NBC's two new shows in Tuesday's Miami Herald.