For those among us still mourning their weekly cathartic cry that came with the family drama "Parenthood," it may be time to dust off the tissue box again. Billed as a ‘dramedy’, "This Is Us" follows four characters who share the same birthday but, as early buzz of the show has mysteriously alluded to, are also connected by a much deeper thread. And if the series can consistently produce the level of waterworks-inducing moments achieved in the pilot episode, we’ll be having plenty of puffy-eyed Tuesday nights.
Helmed by Dan Fogelman, the cast is stacked with a deep pool of talent including Mandy Moore, Milo Ventimiglia, Justin Hartley, and the newly-minted Emmy winner Sterling K. Brown. We sat down with the cast from the show before their panel at PaleyFest and what was made clear from every cast member is the love they each have for the story. It’s not just your average family-drama, but a deeper dive into connections we all share. This is heart people, and it’s definitely a show that viewers will love for many seasons to come. You won’t want to miss it, trust us.
Give us a quick elevator pitch on what the show is about.
Mandy Moore, aka Rebecca: It’s about four people who all share the same birthday, who are maybe connected by a little bit more than that, but it’s about love and life and grief and joy and everything in between.
Why do you think audiences will be excited about this series?
Ron Cephas Jones, aka William: Well it’s a very real series, it’s rooted in a lot of real feelings, especially when it comes to family things I think everybody will be able to relate to that… It’s a beautiful piece of writing and the cast is extremely talented.
Chris Sullivan, aka Toby: I think the series deals with a lot of issues that real people deal with. And I think it’s a very honest look at real relationships.
Milo Ventimiglia, aka Jack: I think it’s very relatable to what we all experience. Having just human moments. I think it’s deeply connective and it’s something that audiences are kind of craving.
Mandy Moore: I hope that it resonates with people because it’s heartfelt and it tugs at your heart strings and makes you laugh and everything sort of in between in one fowl swoops. It’s grounded, it’s nuanced, it’s about people, it’s relatable for everyone.
Sterling K. Brown, aka Randall: I think the writing that Dan Fogelman brings to this series, the humanity, the lightness, the depth, of it all is kind of extraordinary. And I think people will be able to recognize themselves in either one or all of the characters and recognize that they’re not going through this thing call life by themselves.
Chrissy Metz, aka Kate: Aside from it being something different that people haven’t seen in a long time - there’s not explosions - it’s just a real, true beautiful story about people who are just kind of navigating the ways of life and how they come together and reacting to what life throws at us, and people relate to that because that’s what we’re all doing.
What’s your favorite memory from filming?
Justin Hartley, aka Kevin: In episode 2 we went up to this house that was the most beautiful, magical view of Los Angeles that you can imagine. We had a pretty amazing party, the set was a party, and it was fantastic. We had so much fun, these guys were dancing, people were pretending to be drunk, it was just a rowdy good time. I got to work with Katey Sagal and Brad Garrett. It was great.
Susan Kelechi Watson, aka Beth: I think I have two so far, Episode 2 and Episode 5. Oh no, but I can’t say why because it gives away the twist! I can’t give spoiler alerts. But just Episode 2 and 5.
Describe the show in 5 words.
Chris Sullivan: Honest, Connective, Funny, Real, Beautiful
Justin Hartley: Heart, Laughter, Watch your step
Chrissy Metz: Hilarious, Emotional, Real, Beautiful, Fun
Sterling K. Brown: Heartfelt, Lovable, Endearing, Complicated, Life
Milo Ventimiglia: Do not miss this show.
"This Is Us" airs Tuesdays on NBC, and is available on Hulu next day.