TV Review - This Is Us: Season 2
Yet, Malick comparisons suggest a free-floating aspect or meditative posturing that would be misleading. This series isn't that philosophical. Creator and head writer, Dan Fogelman does provide at most straight-forward drama, particularly drama on parenting and how issues, no matter how slight, can have an affect on one's children in their personal and professional lives.
Chrissy Metz (American Horror Story) co-stars as Kate Pearson, an aspiring singer who feels overshadowed at times by her famous, twin brother and greatly talented mother. Last season, she had body-image issues due to her being overweight, which prevented her from moving forward in a lot of areas, even in her romantic connection to a wonderful, funny man named Toby, played by Chris Sullivan, who is by far the comic relief. This season, that body-image issue will probably still be there but just not as forefront and resolving issues with her parents will most likely be more of a concern.
Justin Hartley (Smallville and Revenge) also co-stars as Kevin Pearson, a popular and good-looking actor who is on a hit sitcom. He quits the sitcom because he wants to do more serious acting but success is a fickle thing and he has to take what he can get. When it comes to his siblings, he's most connected to his twin sister, Kate. His relationship with his adopted brother, Randall has always been tenuous. Kevin has always been cool and smooth, even going back to childhood, whereas Randall has always been a little bit of a nerd.
Mandy Moore (Tangled and A Walk to Remember) stars as Rebecca Pearson, the mother to Kate, Kevin and Randall. She was an aspiring singer who gave up her career to get married and raise her children. The first season dealt with the aftermath of her losing one of her triplets, adopting a black child and learning how to raise him. This season, she has to face her husband's shocking admission to being an alcoholic.
Seeing how this will impact the family might be an interesting path this season takes. Fogelman's writers could come up with something else. It was established last season that Jack dies, probably when his kids were teenagers. A flash forward has revealed some details of what's to come but how Jack dies remains a mystery, which will most likely remain so until 2018.
We'll be strung along until then, but, in the meantime, viewers can delight in the heart and soul that this series exudes effortlessly. Sometimes, it might get a bit maudlin and toy with the audience's emotions, but there is a genuineness to it and an earnestness that makes it standout because network television rarely does simple, family dramas any more.
Running Time: 1 hr.
Tuesdays at 9PM on NBC.