Monday, November 28, 2016

Is This It?

Over the summer, on Tuesday night I'd watch a drama--Halt And Catch Fire--and a comedy--Atlanta (I guess you'd call it a comedy).  Both their seasons have ended, and now on Tuesday I watch a sitcom--either Brooklyn Nine-Nine or The Middle, both on at the same time--but have room for a drama. I know I could spend that time taking a walk or reading a book, but who are we kidding? A new Tuesday show that seems to be doing well is This Is Us, on NBC.  Is this the answer?

I recently checked out the pilot, and am now deciding if I want to put the show into regular rotation.  It starts with a bunch of separate people, all turning 36 on the same day, and taking stock.

There's Jack (Milo Ventimiglia), whose wife Rebecca (Mandy Moore) is pregnant with triplets.  Though she isn't due, she goes into labor, which pretty much takes care of their plot.

There's Randall (Sterling K. Brown), a successful businessman who decides to contact his biological father.  He's never actually met the man since he was left in front of a firehouse when he was a baby.

There's Kate (Chrissy Metz), who struggles with weight and self-esteem issues, and who decides to join a support group to deal with her problems.

There's Kevin (Justin Hartley), a successful actor on a sitcom about a male nanny, The Man-ny.  He hates the show and has a meltdown in front of a live audience, quitting.

It turns out these people are all connected. If you don't want me to spoil it, skip over the next paragraph.

We find out fairly early that Kevin and Kate are twins.  Later, we discover Jack and Rebecca's story takes place 36 years ago.  She loses one of the babies and the two that survive are Kevin and Kate. On top of that, Randall is brought into the hospital by a fireman and Jack and Rebecca decide to adopt him.

The pilot was well-written and acted. Apparently it's hooked an audience, since its ratings have held up.  The question is do I want to sign on.  A series can be a real commitment, and the show threatens to go into soap opera territory if they don't watch out.  I'm also not thrilled by the double-timeline.

The show was created by Dan Fogelman, which is a bit of a surprise, since I've generally associated him with half-hour comedy.  Over the past few years he was responsible for the odd but likeable shows The Neighbors and Galavant.  (He also created Pitch, a new show I'm not watching.) Those shows were wacky, and This Is Us, good or bad, is a family drama, though it does have humor.

I suppose I'll try another episode or two.  But if it gets too much like a soap opera, I'll just wait until the next season of Halt And Catch Fire.


Blogger New England Guy said...

I actually watched the first episode when it first aired. While it seemed well done, it looked kind of exhausting and I did not want to commit- then again I will say, I feel this way about most first episodes. I was initially unimpressed by the Sopranos and Game of Thrones first episodes but became a totally hooked fan over time. I think I need to know its worth investing time in. Guess I am a late-adopter. I will await your verdict LAG

2:56 PM, November 28, 2016  
Blogger LAGuy said...

I didn't have HBO when The Sopranos debuted. By the time I watched it, it was well-established and I had to go back and catch the early episodes.

Game Of Thrones, as I've documented on this blog, didn't appeal to me at first. Fantasy is one of my least favorite genres. I watched some of the first episode and gave up on it--I wasn't ready to get involved in a completely different word. I heard good things, though, and when the first season was over I binge-watched it and became a fan.

As for This Is Us, I don't really know when, or if, I'll watch episode two. I thought it was well-done, but it threatens to be a show that tries to evoke warm feelings. At present, the show can be seen On Demand, so when I'm free some night I'll probably get around to it, but I wouldn't wait for my verdict.

10:04 PM, November 28, 2016  
Anonymous Denver Guy said...

I was nonplussed by the first episode of Lost and The Office, and missed getting on those band wagons (still have not seen Lost). I've never seen Breaking Bad, but will someday.

Of course, there are all sorts of programs I committed to and was later disappointed in (Grimm and Person of Interest). Then there were the ones I loved that got cancelled (Forever, Lie to Me).

All in all, I guess it's a crap shoot.

11:36 AM, November 29, 2016  
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