“This is Us”, a title which at first gives the impression of a cliche soap opera that follows the stereotypical affairs and love triangles of multiple couples. However, this new fall series on NBC is nothing less than an original and captivating show, bringing a completely new take on prime-time television.
Although the pilot episode appears disjointed as it follows three separate storylines, the ending frame reveals that the characters are connected in an everlasting bond. Each of the three main characters– Kate, Randall, and Kevin– struggle with everyday challenges such as body image, self worth, and inner purpose. These issues each provide their own unique handicaps.
The relatability of “This is Us” allows its audience to root for the characters and feel both their pain and joy. Viewers feel raw emotions and cannot help but empathize with Kate’s weight-loss struggle and Randall’s need to care for his elderly father. Heavier topics such as drug abuse, the loss of a child during birth, and stage four cancer resonate on a deeper level. The actors’ portrayals of these events are extremely genuine, and are never over-dramaticized for the camera. The cast is brilliant, featuring all time favorites such as Mandy Moore and new break-out stars Sterling K. Brown and Chrissy Metz.
Yet the true genius of “This is Us” lies in the cleverness of the script. The viewer is left guessing and engaged throughout the full 40-minute episode, searching for clues to how the stories all comes together. Foreshadowing is evident, but there is just enough ambiguity to avoid predictability, making the show riveting.
With similar vibes to “Parenthood”, “This is Us” provides the same heartwarming and heart-wrenching atmosphere, yet depicts more modern adversities.