ou've needed a box of tissues every Tuesday night since late September, then you've probably been watching NBC's new series This Is Us. When I saw previews of the show, I thought it looked promising. Little did I know, it would turn out to arguably be the most well-written series I've ever watched. Let me explain without giving too much away… The pilot of This Is Us was so emotionally gripping with its own surprise twist in revealing a group of people that are all connected, the perfectly imperfect family on such heartbreaking, yet heartwarming journeys, with some story lines unfolding decades apart. Mandy Moore and Milo Ventimiglia play parents to three children, portrayed by Sterling K. Brown, Justin Hartley and Chrissy Metz. The fresh, interesting dynamic, with credit going to the show's creator, Dan Fogelman, creates a delicate balance between past and present, adding layers that could never be accomplished in a traditional setting with ordinary, quick flashbacks. This Is Us has a series of interconnected plots that anyone can relate to: the struggle and joys of parenting, trying to find your way, your purpose, becoming comfortable with who you are, discovering your roots, and the battle with self-image — just to name a few of the character's emotional struggles and triumphs. For many new series', it sometimes takes a while for each show to find its footing, but This Is Us was strong out of the gate, with an absolutely incredible cast. I was familiar with Moore's work, and I knew she would be a strong casting choice. Her vocal talent has been showcased on the show as well. I'm perhaps most familiar with the work of Justin Hartley, and it's been a privilege to see his acting journey over the years. I didn't know many of the other cast members prior to This Is Us, but it didn't matter. Whether your fans of their previous work or not, all of these actors have come together and brought to life this beautiful story — one that your emotionally invested in from the get-go. The series' writers have thought out each and every scene, down to the most initially simplistic, yet crucial of details. In a world where many programs insert scenes for comedic relief or to simply keep the ball rolling to a later pinnacle of the storyboard, This Is Us creates a dynamic where every scene means something and each moment builds on the one before it. Nothing is unnecessary. I realize I've been vague in terms of the story line, but it's because I want everyone to start this show from the beginning, with fresh eyes and the time to listen and reflect. It's the enticement of our senses and the discovery of not only the characters but ourselves that makes This Is Us a series worth your investment. I do, however, want to leave you with a small glimpse of Fogelman's innovative tapestry. In a recent scene from the show, Hartley's character, Kevin, is confronted with having to explain life and death to his young nieces. He stumbles on his words, invokes fear in their young minds, but later redeems himself. Kevin enters the bedroom of his nieces a while later, who are still obviously shaken from his blunt admission that everyone — even their parents — will die one day. He kneels on the bed in front them and pulls out a painting of his, filled with layered colors, blots, and lines. “It’s kind of beautiful, right, if you think about it," he said. "The fact that just because someone dies, just because you can’t see them or talk to them anymore, it doesn’t mean they’re not still in the painting. I think maybe that’s the point of the whole thing. There’s no dying. There’s no you or me or them; it’s just us. And this sloppy, wild, colorful, magical thing that has no beginning and has no end, it’s right here, I think it’s us.” This Is Us…it's a painting and reflection of us all that you don't want to miss. Watch Tuesday night's on NBC.
From left to right, Milo Ventimiglia, Chris Sullivan, Ron Cephas Jones, Chrissy Metz, Sterling K. Brown, Susan Kelechi Watson, Justin Hartley and Mandy Moore.
Moore and Ventimiglia with Mackenzie Hancsicsak, Lonnie Chavis and Parker Bates.