This Is Us
This Is Us is an American romantic family drama television series created by Dan Fogelman that premiered on NBC on September 20, 2016. The series follows the lives and families of two parents, and their three children, in several different time frames. It stars an ensemble cast featuring Milo Ventimiglia, Mandy Moore, Sterling K. Brown, Chrissy Metz, Justin Hartley, Susan Kelechi Watson, Chris Sullivan, Ron Cephas Jones, Jon Huertas, Alexandra Breckenridge, Niles Fitch, Logan Shroyer, Hannah Zeile, Mackenzie Hancsicsak, Parker Bates, Lonnie Chavis, Eris Baker and Faithe Herman. This Is Us is filmed in Los Angeles.
The series has been nominated for Best Television Series – Drama at the 74th Golden Globe Awards and Best Drama Series at the 7th Critics' Choice Awards, as well as being chosen as a Top Television Program by the American Film Institute. Sterling K. Brown has received an Emmy, a Golden Globe, a Critics' Choice Award, and an NAACP Image Award for his acting in the series. Mandy Moore and Chrissy Metz received Golden Globe nominations for Best Supporting Actress. In 2017, the series received ten Emmy nominations, including Outstanding Drama Series, with Brown winning for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series.
On September 27, 2016, NBC picked up the series for a full season of 18 episodes. In January 2017, NBC renewed the series for two additional seasons of 18 episodes each. The second season premiered on September 26, 2017. The third season premiered on September 25, 2018.
On May 12, 2019, NBC renewed the series for three additional seasons. The fourth season premiered on September 24, 2019.
Series overviewThe series follows the lives of siblings Kevin, Kate, and Randall, and their parents Jack and Rebecca Pearson. It takes place mainly in the present and uses flashbacks to show the family's past. Kevin and Kate are the two surviving members from a triplet pregnancy, born six weeks premature on Jack's 36th birthday in 1980; their brother Kyle is stillborn. Believing they were meant to have three children, Jack and Rebecca, who are white, decide to adopt Randall, an African American child born the same day and brought to the same hospital after his biological father William Hill abandoned him at a fire station. Jack dies when his children are 17 and Rebecca later marries Jack's best friend Miguel. Randall becomes a successful finance professional and marries college classmate Beth; they raise two daughters and adopt a third. Kevin becomes a successful actor while struggling to be taken seriously. After lacking direction much of her life, Kate meets and marries Toby, pursues a career in music, gets a degree, and becomes a mother.
Most episodes feature a storyline taking place in the present and a storyline taking place at a set time in the past; but some episodes are set in one time period or use multiple flashback time periods. Flashbacks often focus on Jack and Rebecca c. 1980 both before and after their babies' birth, or on the family when the Big Three are children or adolescents ; these scenes usually take place in Pittsburgh, where the Big Three and their parents are born and raised. As adults, Kate lives in Los Angeles, Randall and his family are in New Jersey, and Kevin relocates from Los Angeles to New York City and back again. Various other time periods and locations have also served as settings, and some episodes have focused on the earlier experiences of other characters, including Randall's family members William, Deja, and Beth. Beginning in the second season, the show also uses flashforwards to show a later time period, when Randall's daughter Tess is an adult and an elderly Rebecca is on her deathbed.
Cast and characters
- Milo Ventimiglia as Jack Pearson: Rebecca's first husband, and Kate, Kevin, and Randall's father.
- *Also portrayed by Joaquin Obradors as a child.
- Mandy Moore as Rebecca Pearson: Jack's wife; Kate, Kevin, and Randall's mother, grandmother to Tess and Annie Pearson and Jack Damon.
- *Also portrayed by Ava Castro and Kya Kruse as a child.
- Sterling K. Brown as Randall Pearson: Jack and Rebecca's adopted son, Kate and Kevin's adopted brother; Tess, Annie and Deja's father, and Jack Damon's uncle.
- *Also portrayed by Niles Fitch and Lonnie Chavis.
- Chrissy Metz as Kate Pearson: Jack and Rebecca's biological daughter, Kevin and Randall's sister; Deja, Tess and Annie's aunt; Toby's wife and Jack Damon's mother.
- *Also portrayed by Hannah Zeile and Mackenzie Hancsicsak.
- Justin Hartley as Kevin Pearson: Jack and Rebecca's biological son; Kate and Randall's brother, and uncle to Deja, Tess and Annie Pearson and Jack Damon.
- *Also portrayed by Logan Shroyer and Parker Bates.
- Susan Kelechi Watson as Beth Pearson: Randall's wife, and mother of Deja, Tess and Annie.
- *Also portrayed by Rachel Hilson and Akira Akbar.
- Chris Sullivan as Toby Damon: Kate's husband and Jack Damon's father.
- *Also portrayed by Luke Clark as a teenager, and Dylan Gage as a child.
- Ron Cephas Jones as William "Shakespeare" Hill: Randall's biological father.
- *Also portrayed by Jermel Nakia as a young adult.
- Jon Huertas as Miguel Rivas: Jack's best friend and Rebecca's second husband.
- Alexandra Breckenridge as Sophie: Kate's childhood best friend as well as Kevin's childhood love and ex-wife.
- *Also portrayed by Amanda Leighton and Sophia Coto .
- Eris Baker as Tess Pearson: Randall and Beth's older daughter.
- *Also portrayed by Iantha Richardson as a young adult.
- Faithe Herman as Annie Pearson: Randall and Beth's younger daughter.
- Melanie Liburd as Zoe Baker: Beth's cousin and Kevin's ex-girlfriend.
- *Also portrayed by with Brianna Reed as a teenager and Dakota Baccelli as a child.
- Lyric Ross as Deja Pearson: Randall and Beth's adopted daughter
- *Also portrayed by Makenzie Lee-Foster as a child.
- Asante Blackk as Malik Hodges: Deja's classmate and later boyfriend; has an infant daughter from a prior romantic relationship..
- Griffin Dunne as Nicholas "Nicky" Pearson: Jack's brother and Kevin, Kate and Randall's uncle.
- *Also portrayed by Michael Angarano as a young adult, and Donnie Masihi as a child.
- Caitlin Thompson as Madison Simons: Kate's best friend and mother of Kevin's twins.
DevelopmentThis is Us originally began as an 80-page movie script that Dan Fogelman was developing while working for ABC Studios in the spring of 2015. The story line, which Fogelman admitted to not having a definite direction, revolved around the lives of eight adults who, as it would be revealed, were octuplets. After moving to an eight-figure deal with 20th Television, Fogelman made the decision to develop a TV series from the characters of his original script, cutting a few characters and shortening the script to 45 pages before bringing it to the studio. Jennifer Salke, president at NBC, commented on the conception of a title for the series, saying "The title didn't come easy...but This Is Us tapped into everything, and the show's about us." It has been revealed that other ideas for the title included 36, Happy Birthday, and The Story of Us. Despite positive reviews from both 20th Television and sister company, Fox, there were concerns regarding the lack of views it would attract on the network, leading Fox to sell it to NBC. Fox did so because NBC promised to use the high volume of viewers from The Voice and the Summer Olympics to bring additional viewers to the series, and Fox wanted to solidify the reputation of its studio among writers and directors as placing shows where they are most likely to succeed, even if it is not Fox.
Filming locationsIn addition to Los Angeles, some scenes are also shot on location in New York City. In the first season, once Kevin has moved to New York, one can recognize some of its sights. In episode 7 for example, the refurbished Commodore Criterion building at the crossing of Broadway and 5th Avenue serves as the background for the scene where Kevin ends up in a fight with his brother.
Commitment to diversityFogelman intentionally recruited behind-the-scenes talent that would reflect the diversity of his cast, with the goal of bringing greater authenticity to the dialog and storylines. These include black directors Regina King and George Tillman Jr. and black female writers Kay Oyegun and Jas Waters. In addition, Fogelman's sister Deborah, whose struggles with weight were one of the initial inspirations for the show, serves as a consultant.
ReleaseIn May 2017, Hulu acquired the SVOD rights to new and past episodes of the series to air exclusively on Hulu, in addition to NBC.com and the NBC app.
Critical responseThe review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes reported an 92% approval rating for the first season with an average rating of 7.68/10 based on 68 reviews. The website's critical consensus reads, "Featuring full-tilt heartstring-tugging family drama, This Is Us will provide a suitable surrogate for those who have felt a void in their lives since Parenthood went off the air." Metacritic, which uses a weighted average, assigned the season a score of 76 out of 100 based on 34 reviews, indicating "generally favorable reviews".
Season 2 received a 92% approval rating from Rotten Tomatoes based on 25 reviews, with an average score of 7.95/10. The site's consensus reads: "This is Us continues to tug at heartstrings with an emotional exploration of family that ensures viewers will want to keep the tissues close -- and their loved ones closer".
Season 3 received a 94% approval rating from Rotten Tomatoes based on 9 reviews, with an average of 7.17/10. The site's consensus reads: "With a lot of love, hugs, and tears, season three of This is Us continues to please fans with new intense storylines".
Entertainment Weekly gave the first few episodes of This Is Us a rating of B, calling it "a refreshing respite from the relational violence and pessimism that marks the other buzz soaps that have bubbled forth from a culture of divisiveness". Moreover, they praised all the actors, specifically Sterling K. Brown, for being able to navigate "his scenes with such intelligence, authenticity, and charisma".