New show: This is Us
When/where: Sept. 20, 10 p.m., NBC
Cast: Milo Ventimiglia, Mandy Moore, Sterling K. Brown, Chrissy Metz, Justin Hartley
Premise: We’re introduced in the pilot to a group of people all turning 36 on the same day: a young married couple expecting triplets; an actor unhappy with his career; a woman struggling with a weight problem; and a family man searching for the father who abandoned him at a fire station as a newborn.
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Verdict: Man, do I love this show. It checks off all the right boxes for me: great writing, great performances, cringe-worthy bits of brutal honesty, heartwarming moments, heart-shattering moments and a beautiful sense that everything in the universe might somehow be connected.
There are a couple of tear-jerker scenes, but it’s not manipulative. It’s just ... human. And for those of us growing accustomed these days to seeing Gerald McRaney play mean creeps (“House of Cards,” “Longmire”), get ready to be blown away in the pilot. His “good guy” redemption is unequivocal and complete.
My best advice: Do not read anything approaching a spoiler for this show. Go to it as fresh and innocent as possible.
Read our complete guide to what to watch and what to skip for the 2016 Fall TV season.