Every now and again, there is a tv show that comes along that isn’t just a niche thing, but one that has universal appeal and just everyone that’s seen it loves it. And that, this current tv season was NBC’s family drama, This Is Us. I’d heard people raving about this show for a while, and I’d watched the first episode, and caught part of the second one when it first aired last Fall, but never got around to watching the rest of it. Until last week that is, where my girlfriend and I binge watched this show for the first half of the weekend. This did cut into the binging of Iron Fist, as I wanted to get that review out to you guys, but there are no regrets from me. My only regret with this show is now I have to wait til September for more.
In case you’re living under a rock, or like me, you haven’t gotten around to watching the show yet, This Is Us is the brainchild of writer Dan Fogelman (Crazy Stupid Love, Tangled, Pitch), and it’s a family drama about the Pearson family, Jack (Milo Ventimiglia-Heroes) and Rebecca (Mandy Moore-Saved, A Walk To Remember) they give birth to triplets, but one of the babies dies and as fate would have it a Firefighter brings in a black baby that was left at the fire station, whom they adopt and raise as their own son.
The show intercuts with the past of raising these three children in the 1980s/1990s as well as the children’s adult lives in present day. Kevin (Justin Hartley-Smallville) is an actor on a popular sitcom who yearns to do more serious work, his twin sister Kate (Chrissy Metz-American Horror Story:Freakshow) is his assistant and is struggling to lose weight, and their brother Randall (Sterling K. Brown-The People vs OJ Simpson) has just found his birth father (Ron Cephas Jones-Luke Cage, The Get Down) who is dying of cancer.
The way the show plays with time it’s interesting, it cuts back and forth between the past and present day so fluidly you can follow along easily without being confused. And this to me is one of the best shows of this current tv season. Solid characters, great performances, and just all around great production values. I loved Crazy Stupid Love, so I knew how great a writer Dan Fogelman was, but him and the rest of the writers on this show have crafted a unique story that is so ordinary, but it works on so many levels. I am not ashamed to admit that this series had me in tears at least once per episode, and not with any overtly saccharine, cloying stories, it’s just real life stuff.
There’s no real weak link in the cast, as can happen on ensemble shows, everyone brings their ‘A game’ here and it just works. Standout work has to go to Sterling K Brown who earned an Emmy for his work on The People vs OJ Simpson, but should earn another one for this show as well, as his portrayal of a loving father, and perfectionist who also struggles with anxiety really got to me, especially how they portrayed anxiety. As someone who struggles with that himself, I really felt that story arc in my soul. Also, props to Ron Cephas Jones, whom I’ve seen now in three different shows and in three very different roles and this guy is a phenomenal actor.
I can’t stress enough how much I love this series. It’s not perfect, that last episode could have either not been there or been something else, but no show is free from having a bad episode. It just happens. Overall though this is a show I cannot recommend enough if you like great storytelling and heartwarming, but real characters.
Season Grade: A-
This Is Us is available on demand, on Hulu, or on Itunes.