Fall TV Preview

NBC's Twisty Fall Series This Is Us Is 'Dramedy Version of Lost'

It’s nearly impossible to preview NBC’s buzzy new fall drama This Is Us without spoiling the twist at the center of the show’s pilot. As a result, the series’ cast and producers carefully talked around the narrative curveball when they convened Tuesday at the Television Critics Association summer press tour.

“I think NBC has done a good job of [promoting the show] in a way that is intriguing to people without ruining [the twist],” shared the show’s creator and executive producer Dan Fogelman, who noted that folks who have already screened the pilot have, for the most part, resisted taking on the role of spoiler sport. “It feels almost like people are collectively holding hands and talking about the show in a way that doesn’t give anything away for the audience,” he said.

Per NBC’s official synopsis, This Is Us — which stars Mandy Moore, Milo Ventimiglia, Justin Hartley and Sterling K. Brown — centers on 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.”

In explaining what the series (the trailer for which quickly became a viral phenomenon after launching in May) will look like beyond the premiere, Fogelman likened the format to another famously twisty ABC drama. “When we sold the show, we had a whole plan for the series,” he maintained. “When it was written it wasn’t like we were just going to make a pilot and then just figure it out if we get lucky enough [to get on the air]. As we went along, I described it as like a dramedy version of Lost, where you have to understand how everyone’s connected and then explore these people as we move forward.”

This Is Us premieres Tuesday, Sept. 20 at 10/9c on NBC.

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  1. babpel says:

    Mandy Moore obviously dies in the pilot, right? That can’t possibly be the “big twist”.

    • Jack says:

      I was going to say the same thing! It’s obvious from the promos that Mandy Moore’d character dies in childbirth. Whether there are other dead characters or Milo’s character is the only one who can see Mandy’s character as a ghost remains to be seen. I hope this isn’t the twist they thought they were keeping secret bc the promos practically give it away. When the first promo came on my sister was like “she’s dead, right?”

    • Stacy says:

      If Mandy Moore’s character dies, then I’m guessing each person suffers a loss.

      • Garbo says:

        Isn’t her character on her feet, accompanied by her husband, visiting the two surviving babies near the end of the preview ?

      • china says:

        she does not died i read on another page that the show is about jack and mandy are the parents of the two kids, one dies, and they set the tone of the show, so there the parents of the twins, and when randall gets dropped of mandy and hubby adopts the kid, so it is a show that goes back and forth in time!.

    • Jill says:

      When I saw the promo on Facebook it showed Milo talking to the Dr that just delivered his triplets.. One of the babies died.. Sorry to ruin it

    • Drewer says:

      I’m pretty sure only one of the triplets dies but Mandy lives.

  2. Mary says:

    It looks really good, but I wasn’t a fan of lost so I hope the description is not 100% accurate.

    • KT says:

      And if they run this show the way the producers did Lost, I’ll drop it. I’m still mad at myself for sticking with that show to the end!!

  3. Stacy says:

    It’s interesting they liken the show to Lost, and mention a twist. Lost is known for originally planning to kill off Jack in the pilot as a shocker, but test groups were so opposed they convinced Matthew Fox to sign on.

    • Pedro says:

      When Matthew Fox signed on they had already decided Jack would be the lead. If Jack were to die in the pilot, he would have been played by Michael Keaton.

      • Stacy says:

        Crap, you’re absolutely right. I must have conflated the story about the pilot with a mention of Matthew Fox being hesitant to take on a series regular gig after Party of Five.

  4. Kevin K says:

    Wouldn’t be a surprise if This Is Us is going to be one of NBC’s breakout hits with the series’ trailer that has dominating social media like Facebook and YouTube. Also I’m wondering if it’s like the next Parenthood (bring some Kleenex if you’re watching more than one episode).

    • Stacy says:

      I definitely think it’s the closest thing to a Parenthood vibe that will be on this fall. (And it happens to have a Gilmore Girls alum also!) I can rarely predict hits, though, so I won’t make any claims.

  5. K says:

    I’m curious about this show. Whatever the “twist” is will probably be what makes me decide to stick around or not. Thankfully, it will be revealed early. Seems like to me the Milo/Mandy scenes are based in the 70’s or early 80’s or am I seeing things? Based on that, it’s almost easy to figure out what is going on…

    • Kim says:

      That’s what I’m guessing. That Milo’s character has twins born on his birthday that turn out to be Justin Hartley and Chrissy Metz. The way the Milo and Mandy stuff is shot…. And the nurse’s uniforms. But I don’t want it to be super twisty. I want it to be this nice family tear fest show I can watch with my sister over ice cream and pizza

      • MissEllys says:

        Yeah, I think you both are right. Milo and Mandy’s characters are the parents of Justin and Chrissie’s characters. I didn’t catch it the first time I viewed the trailer but the atmosphere and clothes in the background of the hospital scene are definiteley 70s or 80s. Not sure how the other character fits in though

        • scb says:

          Maybe Milo and Mandy’s character adopted Sterling K Brown’s character? He did say his biological father left him at a fire station, so it’s possible they adopted him when he was a baby/child.

        • That’s a modern terrible towel covering Milo’s junk in the photo so I don’t think you’re right.

          • Johnny Styles says:

            Not necessarily. The Terrible Towel dates back to the 1970s, so it’s very conceivable the Milo/Mandy scenes are set in the 1970s.

      • Drewer says:

        Oh wow, that has to be it!!!! I never even thought about that, which makes me feel silly!!!

    • Stacy says:

      I completely missed it the first viewings, but upon watching & pausing I think you nailed it. It’s going to be a different decade.

  6. Simon says:

    I’m watching because of the a above image alone gwrrrrrllll. Not sure if that’s the appropriate word. Lol.

  7. A. D. says:

    ZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz…..looks so boring and depressing

  8. Jared says:

    I haven’t watched a show on NBC in forever but def want to give this and the Matt Lanter time travel pilot(Timeless?) a shot. Both series look pretty good to me.

  9. jericho says:

    Wow i had totally forgotten about this show until now. I really hope there is no “supernatural” or “insane” twist. People suggesting that Mandy Moore’s character dies and she’s a ghost… come on… I’d watch this show if it was about people, not about Milo having the power to see ghosts or being nuttier than a fruitcake and “thinking” he’s seeing his wife.

    I will say that it just seems like she dies, because of the lack of substantial use of her after the intro. I like her, and she alone could bring me to the show. Here’s to hoping there is no stupid “lost” style supernatural twist.

    • Stacy says:

      It’s not positioning itself as a supernatural show. A narrative surprise doesn’t have to mean ghosts.

    • jakis says:

      I was kind of wondering if the twist was a Sliding Doors kind of thing, where in one timeline Mandy’s character dies, in another one a triplet dies, in another one… We know all these people share birthdays, but maybe how they connect to each other depends on which timeline. I mean, that would make it more Lost-like, not exactly supernatural, but definitely twisty.

  10. Spence says:

    I feel like I’m the only person on the earth that couldn’t even finish the trailer out of boredom… Am I missing something??

    • Chloe says:

      I watched to the end, thinking maybe it would get more interesting. It didn’t – at least not for me. I won’t be watching.

  11. Dr. M says:

    After sitting through the ridiculous shaggy dog story that was Lost, I personally find any show trying to reference it to boost viewership makes me stay away.

  12. Chiguy says:

    I’m confused, the only previews I’ve seen for this show are on Hulu and those make it look like a weird “Mike & Molly” drama. I haven’t seen Mandy Moore, Milo, in any of the adverts.

  13. All the characters are born on the same day? Maybe they are all meant to die on the same day. The date of their deaths may be revealed to the audience and the decisions they make during the series effects whether they will actually die on that day by the end of the season.

  14. Danielle says:

    This is the only fall show that I am looking forward to watching.

  15. Rahajicho says:

    I was hoping more Parenthood than Lost. I hope this doesn’t drag on.

  16. Gina Grizzle says:

    Having Justin Hartley in this new series is great, He is a wonderful actor, not to mention..handsome as can be. Will mark my calendar to watch.

  17. Shannon C Ahearn says:

    From what I have seen my guess is Kevin and Kate are the children that Rebecca and Jack deliver. I think that Rebecca and Jack adopt and raise Randal after being abandoned at the fire station. Maybe Jack was the firefighter who discovered Randal and decided it was fate since he was prepared for 3 babies and they share the birthdate.

  18. Shelby says:

    This Is US is real TV, it makes you think laugh, and cry; but the best part, it makes you feel! Finally a good show.

  19. Larry says:

    I don’t watch much TV but I did watch “This is Us” last night. WOW! I did NOT expect that ending!!!!!!!!!

  20. Jamie says:

    If you were born in 1980 the Challenger tragedy would have happened in kindergarten. January 1986.