This Is Us (Pilot)

Starring: Milo Ventmiglia, Mandy Moore, Justin Hartley, Sterling K Brown, Chrissy Metz, Chris Sullivan, Ron Cephas Jones, Susan Kelechi Watson

This is the most hyped new show of the season, if you go strictly by YouTube videos. 8 million views. That’s pretty good. So what’s the big deal? Well, it’s the producers of Parenthood, and a solid cast with issues everyone can actually relate to. Apparently audiences want real people in real situations.

The premise of the show is that it follows a core group of people who were all born on the same day. They don’t know each other, and are living different lives, but they share a birthday. There’s a twist, but I thought it was pretty great, so I don’t want to ruin it.

Jack (Ventmiglia) and his wife Rebecca (Moore) are expecting triplets. It’s his birthday, and her water has broken. There’s a complication when her regular doctor is unable to do the procedure, but a solid replacement (Gerald McRaney) steps in. He’s not the only complication.

Kevin (Hartley) is an actor starring in a dumb TV sitcom he hates, but he’s just lucky to have gotten the role. He gets to work with Alan Thicke, who is guest starring on his show. He basically comes to realize he’s just being objectified for being good looking. He finally loses his shit.

His sister (Metz) is struggling with her weight, desperate to try and lose some pounds. She goes to Overeaters Anonymous meetings where she meets Toby (Sullivan), a sarcastic jokester with eyes for her.

There’s also Randall (Brown), a successful businessman who was left on the steps of a firehouse 36 years ago by his drug addict father (Jones) he finally found and might reconnect with.

I think this show is on the right track to be a hit for NBC. It has strong writing, strong acting, and if it can keep on this track it might not just get a second season, but also some awards talk. I think especially Chrissy Metz, who is giving a breakthrough performance, will be in the running. It’s a brave performance. With so many overweight people out there, usually when represented they’re the butt of a joke, but Metz is no joke. She’s a real person, with real aspirations, and a ton of heart. I’m excited to see where they take her character, and push her range as an actress. With the right character arc, she could be an Emmy nominee this time next year.

If I did the whole DVR thing, this would have instantly gotten a season pass after the pilot. I felt like I knew all the characters well by the end of the pilot. I was invested in them, and their stories in a way I usually don’t feel until after a few episodes. I have a feeling this is a huge hit for NBC.

FINAL GRADE: A

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