All heart & soul

This Is Us is as heart-warm­ing and heart-break­ing as a fam­ily re­union at a fu­neral.

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This Is Us Sea­son 1 Mon­days (from 29 May) M-Net (*101) 19:30

We’re a lit­tle late to the party but last year ev­ery­one in the US fell in misty- eyed love with fam­ily drama This Is Us (2016- cur­rent). And not just be­cause we all en­joy a good cry now and again. “The cur­rent cli­mate is so fraught with peril and neg­a­tiv­ity that peo­ple just want to en­joy some­thing that feels smart, so­phis­ti­cated, but has warmth,” says NBC Pres­i­dent Jennifer Salke. Se­ries cre­ator Dan Fo­gel­man adds, “Who the show might be ap­peal­ing to is that per­son who wakes up ev­ery day de­ter­mined to be a bet­ter per­son and prob­a­bly fails 99 per­cent of the time. Re­gard­less of pol­i­tics, ev­ery­one is liv­ing the same ex­is­tence – you’re try­ing to live bet­ter and do bet­ter.”

TIME TWIS­TER

This Is Us fol­lows the Pear­son fam­ily, who’re fight­ing that good fight, at

three dif­fer­ent, ma­jor stages of their lives through­out each episode: when young cou­ple Jack (Milo Ven­timiglia) and Re­becca (Mandy Moore) are ex­pect­ing triplets, when those triplets Ran­dall, Kevin and Kate (Lon­nie Chavis, Parker Bates and Macken­zie Hanc­sic­sak re­spec­tively) are eight years old, and when Ran­dall (Ster­ling K Brown), Kevin (Justin Hartley) and Kate (Chrissy Met) turn 36. All the time-hop­ping al­lows the writ­ers to sneak in shocks and sur­prises, but among the drama there’s al­ways love and for­give­ness. “This is for ev­ery­one. There is no sep­a­ra­tion be­tween gen­der or race or age or weight, sex­ual pref­er­ences, any­thing, noth­ing. It’s hu­man be­ings,” says Milo.

HEART-TO-HEART

In the end, Dan con­firms that he’s go­ing for the heart­strings rather than the old tearducts. “There is a form of sto­ry­telling – a tone – that lives in-be­tween the laugh and the heavy emo­tion. If you hit that tone right, it can be every­thing.”

Sib­lings Ran­dall, Kate and Kevin share a birth­day and fam­ily mem­o­ries.

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