Tuesday, March 14, 2017

TV Show Review: This Is Us

NBC's family drama concluded with a few more twists though nothing could match the initial reveal from the first episode. Four people are all having thirty-fourth birthday and are all connected due to a unique set of circumstance. Jack Pearson (Milo Ventimiglia) is not only celebrating his birthday but preparing for his wife Rebecca (Mandy Moore) to have triplets. Randall (Sterling K. Brown) has found his long lost biological father William (Ron Cephas Jones) who is afflicted with stomach cancer. Kevin (Justin Hartley) is a sitcom star wanting to branch out into more serious art. Kate (Chrissy Metz) is struggling with her weight and wants to make a change.

A spoiler, but it is revealed that they are all part of the same family. Randall was adopted when their third baby died in childbirth. The show operates with a present day storyline and series of flashbacks all fitting a particular theme and filling in the characters' past. The show is also effective at endearing characters to viewers, which accounts for its popularity. One character that especially stuck out as hilarious and fun was Kate's boyfriend Toby Damon (Chris Sullivan). He falls for Kate at a support group and pursues her around Los Angeles.

The show preys on emotions setting up tragic endings that pay off near the end of the season. Each episode reveals something new about this family that is stunning and only pulls viewers into the show more. Randall struggles growing up as the only black kid in his family and wants to know who is father is though Rebecca refuses to give him any information about William. Randall's wife Beth (Susan Kelechi Watson) also bonds with William as the old man becomes sick. Meanwhile, Kevin quits his successful sitcom "The Manny" and moves across the country to perform in a play. He fears his failure but can rely on Randall for support.

There is plenty of drama in both the present storyline and the past as we learn how the kids grew into their talents and problems. Kate's struggles with weight began in her youth and she is unable to ever to discuss the way her father died. Jack is missing from the future and Rebecca has married his best friend Miguel (Jon Huertas). This mystery among many others come out as the show goes along. Still, even without the mysteries, the story has a way to endear us to the characters and their problems are all the more powerful for their reflection of what many are dealing with.

From Jack and Rebecca's financial struggle to Randall's confusion to Kate's dating issues, This Is Us plays the roller coaster of emotions to the fullest teasing dire circumstances and not always following through. I normally don't watch shows on the basic cable channels but this show generated a lot of buzz and enough good reviews for me to check it out. The best episodes are near the end though the early episodes deliver enough surprises to keep the momentum going. I recommend this show to the sentimental type who enjoy a good cry.

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