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NBC’s new family drama comes with a neat twist, but that’ll hardly sustain a series.

I have a lot of time for saccharine family dramas, so long as the characters who occupy each sticky-with-sentiment episode are pleasant company. The cast of NBC’s This is Us, inexplicably the most virally-hyped new show of the Fall season, are a mixbag of moderately appealing young people, but by the end of 42 minutes, I hadn’t the slightest interest in seeing them again.

What This is Us has been compared to is Parenthood, but that show- which ran for 6 seasons- had the immensely charismatic Peter Krause and Lauren Graham at its centre. Us‘s Milo Ventimiglia and Mandy Moore… not so much.

My interest in this pilot was raised by media chatter of an “amazing, unexpected” twist at the end of the pilot. The thought of a major twist in a low-key realistic drama did sound intriguing, so I tuned in.

The twist is essentially this: after 40 minutes of following three distinct storylines about people celebrating their 36th birthday, it’s revealed that the couple witnessing their twins’ birth in one story are in fact the parents (in flashback) of the other characters.

Hence, we’re merely watching a show about two generations of the same family. How thrilling.

I expect the pilot’s twist will be the most unique thing that’ll ever happen on this show. Let me know if I turn out to be wrong.

This entry was posted in: TV Reviews


Lucien writes on film, television and politics at and co-hosts the podcasts Above All Else and The 99%.

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