In the Braverman family, everything that can go wrong usually does.

In the Braverman family, everything that can go wrong usually does.

When cash-strapped young mother Sarah (Lauren Graham) is forced to return home to Berkeley, she finds her parents and three siblings midway through a life that's not turning out at all how they planned.

Adam (Peter Krause) is a dedicated father whose troubled son is diagnosed with Asperger syndrome. Julia (Erika Christensen) is a cold, ambitious corporate lawyer unable to put down her mobile phone. Crosby (Dax Shepard) is an unmotivated player who hears some bad news from an old girlfriend.

Thus begins the troubled yet touching world of "Parenthood," an adaptation of the 1989 Steve Martin movie that's being produced by Ron Howard, Brian Grazer and other small-screen veterans.

Judging from its A-list pedigree and hefty marketing push, NBC has high hopes for the series. And it delivers as an engaging drama with a wider appeal than either "Heroes" or "Friday Night Lights," the network's other non-comedy highlights.

Most of the characters seem familiar - but not in a bad way. You'll feel that you can relate, not just that you've seen this kind of thing before.

The pilot was stuffed with a series of quick sketches, but things should flourish when given a bit more space to breathe. Even when the show started to edge toward Hallmark melodrama, plot twists and the talented cast turned cliche into something unexpected, funny or poignant.

The series premiered March 2, and episodes are streaming for free at nbc.com/parenthood.