NBC’s Parenthood is a comedy-drama revolving around three generations of the Braverman family living in Berkely, California. However, most people don’t know that the show is really a sequel to 1982’s Poltergeist. The show picks up 30 years later, as the Freeling family, now called the Braverman’s, must deal with new demonic forces trying to tear their family apart.
All of the children from the movie are now adults with kids of their own. Craig T. Nelson reprises the role of Steven, now named Zeke, a man haunted by the decision to buy a house on an ancient Indian burial ground and has become an overbearing and over-protective father. His oldest son Adam (Robbie) and oldest daughter Sarah (Dana) both have children of their own, while his youngest Julia (Carol Anne), also a mother, has suppressed the memories of her disturbing childhood by becoming a corporate lawyer (which furthers the theory that Carol Anne’s soul was damaged in the movie). Julia now has a daughter of her own, and she is married to Joel, a stay-at-home dad whose job is to make sure their daughter never turns on the television.
In a move that would make Joss Whedon proud, the show’s creators’ have inserted a mysterious fourth child named Crosby who shouldn’t exist. Considering Crosby’s hideous demonic appearance, viewers can only assume that he is an incarnation of one of the many spirits haunting the family. Another unsolved mystery is why medium Tangina “Ginny” Barrons (played by Zelda Rubinstein in the movie) is pretending to be Sarah’s daughter, Amber Holt.
For the last two and a half seasons, the scares have been downplayed, as I’m assuming the writers are working their way to the real horror that’s to come. Adam’s son Max, believed to have autism, is clearly possessed by some malevolent spirit and it’s only a matter of time before that’s revealed. And there’s a spirit at work that is making everyone cry all of the time, especially Sarah and Adam’s wife Kristina. William Baldwin was on the show for a season, but it turned out he wasn’t a monster, just a Baldwin.
If you’re a fan of Poltergeist and haven’t watched Parenthood yet, you’re missing out on how the story really ends.