Fall TV Preview

Fall TV First Impression: This Is Us

The broadcast networks have nearly 20 shows debuting this fall, including Kiefer Sutherland’s term as POTUS, Michael Weatherly’s NCIS follow-up and the story of MLB’s first female player. To help you prep for it all, TVLine is offering First Impressions of the not-for-review pilots.

Next up on our list….

RELATED Get First Impressions of ABC’s Designated Survivor, NBC’s Timeless, CBS’ Bull and ABC’s Notorious

THE SHOW | NBC’s This Is Us (premiering Tuesday, Sept. 20 at 10/9c, before moving to its regular 9 pm time slot starting Oct. 11)

THE COMPETITION | To start, CBS’ NCIS: New Orleans and ABC’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.; then CBS’ Bull (new), ABC’s Fresh Off the Boat/The Real O’Neals, Fox’s Scream Queens and The CW’s No Tomorrow (new).

THE CAST | Milo Ventimiglia (Heroes), Mandy Moore (Red Band Society), Justin Hartley (Mistresses), Chrissy Metz This Is Us - Season Pilot(American Horror Story), Sterling K. Brown (The People v. O.J. Simpson), Susan Kelechi Watson (The Blacklist), Chris Sullivan (The Knick) and Ron Cephas Jones (Mr. Robot).

THE SET-UP | Per NBC’s official synopsis, a group of people share the same birthday and “more than anyone would expect” as their “paths cross and their life stories intertwine in curious ways.”

RELATED Fall TV Schedule 2016: What’s on When? And Versus What?

THE FIRST IMPRESSION | From Dan Fogelman (Crazy, Stupid, Love, TV’s Galavant) comes this heart-tugging toggling of vignettes of joy, angst and sorrow, as a disparate ensemble of individuals grapple with issues both personal and professional. Among the life events at hand: Ventimigilia’s Jack is struggling to get his wife’s obstetrician to share his optimism about a high-risk pregnancy; Hartley playsThis Is Us - Season Pilot the disenfranchised star of a sophomoric sitcom; Metz’s Karen is battling both weight and romance issues; and Brown’s Randall has tracked down the man who abandoned him as a newborn.

At minimum, This Is Us is a terrific 42-minute indie film. Depending on what Episode 2 looks like in the wake of a significant end-of-pilot development, this could very well be TV’s next Parenthood, inviting you to celebrate the characters’ triumphs and sympathize with their setbacks, Kleenex-brand facial tissues always at the ready. This much is certain: Of all the pilots premiering this fall, this is one you will watch a second time.

THE TVLINE BOTTOM LINE | This is a tricky call, given how in the first weeks This Is Us will battle an NCIS before ultimately going up against Michael Weatherly’s Bull and a durable ABC sitcombo. In its favor, roughly a kabillion people have watched (and rewatched) the trailer on YouTube, so if a fraction of those lookie-loos stick around for the actual show, NBC could have a solid non-Chicago, non-Blacklist performer on its hands. (After all, Parenthood drew 8 million viewers and a 3.1 [!] rating when it debuted on a Tuesday at 10 pm, though wayyyyy back in 2010.)

RELATED Fall TV Poll: Which New Shows Are You Most Looking Forward To?

Watch the trailer for This Is Us above, then vote in our poll below.

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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24 Comments
  1. nadialus says:

    I know it’s just superstition(?) but it seems like pretty much every show Mandy Moore is in gets canceled. I hope this one lives up to expectations and stays on air! Parenthood is my all time favorite show and I’ve really been rooting for something similar to get on since it was canceled.

    • johnhelvete says:

      I think she is more known for being in pilots that were never picked up to series (The Advocates 2013). She was not a regular on Red Band Society for example (5 episodes according to imdb) and it appears she has never been a regular on a one season and done series.

  2. IRON WILL says:

    I seem to be in the minority here, but this show SHOULD BE CALLED “This Is Sappy Garbage.”

    Not only are shows like this NOT my thing, but it’s a far cry from Foggleman’s last 2 high-concept ABC sitcoms AND (per the bright idea of ABC’s new network prez) is simply more conpetition to Marvel’s single prine-tine network drama in S.H.I.E.L.D.

    A big fat PASS for me!

  3. tvlover44 says:

    this is the fall network show about which i’m most excited. i hope that not only do loads of folks tune in (and especially loads of 18-49 year olds!), but also that whatever the initial ratings, that nbc gives it some time to be on the air and gain a following. if the stacking rights have been granted and latecoming viewers are able to watch the episodes they’ve missed before diving in weekly, that should help with ratings and sustainability for the show.
    .
    there have been a lot of relationship-driven (character-driven) network shows that have been cancelled in the past decade, including one with a vaguely similar premise to this, ‘six degrees’, which i happened to love. (in addition to the always wonderful hope davis, the show featured a romance between the gorgeous pair of campbell scott and shiri appleby, who even then showed a great depth and talent, as evidenced currently in her scorching performance in ‘unreal’.)

    • Jackie King says:

      I agree with you totally! Plus a lot of other tv shows need time 2 gather a following! These shows gather a audience from word of mouth mostly. These were canceled too fast in my opinion: Off The Map ,Heartbeat & Black Box. They were three of my new favorites…

  4. George H. says:

    Dunno if this show will interest me, but I am willing to check it out.

  5. Kevin K says:

    WATCH IT. This Is Us should be TV’s next Parenthood and is destined to become one of NBC’s breakout hits. One episode will move people to tears (bring a box of Kleenex).

  6. Erin says:

    I thought the same – when I first saw the preview a while ago I thought it was for an indie movie. Looked awesome as a movie, not sure about the longevity of a series though. But I’ll watch… for Milo Ventimiglia and also Karen’s story intrigues me and looks good.

  7. Bwhit says:

    I miss shows like brothers & Sisters and FNL, this seems like just the show to fill the void. I’ll be tuning in for sure!

  8. Sarah96 says:

    Absolutely :)
    Can’t wait for this one.

  9. Joey Padron says:

    Looking forward to check out the show. They have a good cast and the trailer for the pilot episode looks good.

  10. Joey says:

    Does life stories cross in curious ways suggest a sci fi element?

  11. Carol C says:

    This wasn’t on my radar before and it looks terrific.

  12. Erin B says:

    You had me at Justin Hartley.

    • Nancy says:

      I thought Gerald McRaney was going to be in this but now I see he is only in one episode.
      I am really bummed. I probably won’t watch now. :(

  13. IRS says:

    Just the constant commercials for this show are annoying the heck out of me! Not only do I not like sappy shows like this (even though I am part of the female demographic for them), but even if I was mildly curious, the barrage of ads trying to convince me to tune in has just succeeded in making sure I will be watching ANYTHING else during the show’s premiere.

  14. Pennfield Shane says:

    Loved the Justin Hartley storyline–period. The rest is meh/bad soap opera. His twin is okay but is her story Mike and Molly redux? She even looks like a younger, prettier Melissa Mc. They should change the series to a half hour comedy drama with Justin and his sister, dump the other storylines; especially the mucous inducing story of the triplets. Yuck.

  15. jacquelyn saintjohn huber says:

    What a great show!~ The acting is fabulous, the concept wonderful, the stories so real..~No sex (hope it stays that way!) Love, Love, LOVE!~

  16. Gene Townsend says:

    Watching second show~The part of Sterlings Dad Asks for some money, After admitting his addiction was cocaine?WAS SPOT ON!!YOU could feel the `DOUBT’? they felt or the lack of trust?UNBELIEVEABLE ACTING! WHAT a Winning Show in so Many Ways.

  17. Great show with men that are responsible and real.