Thursday, September 22, 2016

New Fall TV - NBC's This is Us Starts off Strong

This is Us is a group of people born on the same day, Rebecca, played by Mandy Moore and Jack, played by Milo Ventimiglia, are a married couple expecting triplets in Pittsburgh. Kevin, played by Justin Hartley, is a handsome television actor growing bored of his fly bachelor lifestyle, Kate, played by Chrissy Metz is a woman struggling with her life, and her weight, and Randall, played by 2016 Emmy Winner Sterling K Brown, is a successful business man looking to prove himself better than the father who abandoned him.

Writer / Producer - Dan Fogelman

First off This is Us is listed as a comedy. So NOT a comedy most definitely a drama with a small side of humor.  I was on the fence about this series, I am not a huge fan of NBC drama, also not a fan of Milo Ventimiglia. All of that being said I gave it a shot.

The pilot was interesting, a few more laughs than expected and some great writing. Without giving too much away the show is not what you think it is and I can say that with confidence to anyone reading this because there really isn’t anything like it out there.

This is Us has potential, it has the makings of a groundbreaking series if they stay the course. The ‘they’ I am referring to are the producers and NBC executives. There is a sliver of raw truth, a glimmer of true honesty rarely seen on network television being developed within this show and it will either spark greatness or be drowned by mediocrity.  

There are a few choice scenes in the This is Us Pilot that stood out for me, Kevin’s breakdown on the set of ‘The Manny’.  Kate’s episode in the bathroom and then at the garbage can, the dialog between Randall and his long lost father, and the story told by the OBGYN. All of these were very ‘real’ moments captured on the page and enacted on screen. If the level of writing and acting continues through the season you are looking at a potential Emmy favorite.

Writer / Producer Dan Fogelman is working double duty this year with the release of Pitch on FOX and This is Us for NBC. Fogelman’s background is rooted in a mix of television and film producing and writing films such as Tangled and Danny Collins. Before this year he received writing credits for The Neighbors, Galavant, and Grandfathered.

If you look at the producers of the show you have a few hits and a few misses so the curve could go either way, the most promising note is two producers; Dieter Ismagil and Steve Beers who both have solid production and producing backgrounds in television. Unfortunately, while I have enjoyed several of their credits, like Bones, Dead like Me, Revolution, and ER they are also associated with recent failures like Minority Report and Constantine.

The fate of the show could go either way there is no way to tell after only one episode, thus the three episode test.  Now we wait and see if This is Us will be become DVR staple or a ‘could have been great’.

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