No, no, we know you’re well aware of the wonderful (yet perpetually low-rated) NBC drama from Jason Katims (who previously adapted Friday Night Lights for the network). What everyone seems to have forgotten is that the current show actually represents the second attempt to turn Ron Howard’s 1989 comedy/drama into fodder for the boob tube. Back in 1990, Howard served as executive producer for a half-hour, single-camera adaptation, which featured Ed Begley, Jr. in the Steve Martin role and pre-fame turns by the likes of Leonardo Di Caprio, David Arquette, and Thora Birch. (Also, an unknown named Joss Whedon was on the writing staff.) Unlike Parenthood 2.0, the original show used the same character names as the film — the new series is about the Braverman family, which bears many similarities but is clearly not the same family as the Buckmans of the film and original show. It ran for 12 episodes in 1990, only to be canceled and resurrected 20 years later as an hour-long show about this other, completely different group of people.
Parenthood isn’t the only show to see multiple attempts at television adaptation; A&E’s new Bates Motel is the second, albeit already more successful, try at turning Hitchcock’s classic into a weekly series. The first crack, also titled Bates Motel, dates back to 1987, and the idea (which ignored the events of Psycho II and Psycho III) was that Norman Bates dies in the state mental asylum and leaves the Bates Motel to his friend and roommate Alex Ward (played by Bud Cort of Harold and Maude). Upon his release, Ward renovates and re-opens the motel, where strange things would presumably happen; we’ll never know, because Bates Motel never made it past the pilot stage. NBC got a look at the first, two-hour episode and passed, though they aired it as a standalone TV movie in July 1987 (to bad ratings and worse reviews).