This month, in the space of our regular books feature, we are happy to share a special TV review for a new series that we feel is resonant in the positive possibilities. NBC’s This Is Us, nowwrapping up its inaugural season, is a wise and compassionate gem of a show. It’s no wonder it has been nominated for a host of awards including the Golden Globe for Best Television Drama, and has been named to the American Film Institute Award’s TV Top 10.
In a television market loaded with ego-enforcing melodrama, violence and/or divisiveness, This is Us is a true find. Dan Fogelman, whose big-screen credits include Tangled, Cars and Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, has created and produced a rich and inspiring series for all ages. Taking as its starting point an incredible combination of coincidences (two thirds of triplets lose their biological sibling at birth and gain an adopted brother in his place), it proceeds to show interconnected lives in touching, delightful and relatable detail. Generation X viewers who remember the deft combination of heartwarming, humor and heartbreak that was Party of Five at its best, or boomers who remember Thirtysomething, or anyone who misses Parenthood, will recognize a kindred human spirit in This Is Us.
The five main characters here are the surviving triplets Kate (Chrissy Metz) and Kevin (Justin Hartley), their adopted brother Randall (Sterling K. Brown), and their parents Jack (Milo Ventimiglia and Rebecca (Mandy Moore). This Is Us weaves the past together with the present to show, in beautifully shot and expertly paced detail, how each family member came to be where they are today. It’s easy to fall in love with the characters and empathize with their individual struggles: self-perception, race, inclusiveness, body image and weight issues, same-sex relationships, deceit, struggle, wanting and love. Each is portrayed with a sensitivity that embraces their quirks and invites a sense of kinship – the kind where you can laugh, and yet care deeply enough to find yourself reaching for the tissue box.
For some refreshing and rare TV inspiration, catch This Is Us on NBC in the US, on CTV in Canada, or get caught up on iTunes. But a word of warning: This show has captured the hearts of many bloggers and reviewers, who process This Is Us’s many plot twists and cliffhangers in countless articles throughout the show’s search results. If you aren’t caught up on the series and don’t want to be spoilered, don’t go looking it up online!