When you think about wholesome family television you almost always think about the Brady Bunch, but our modern favourite family has to be the Pearsons. This heart-warming and emotional story follows three unique triplets; Kate, Randall and Kevin and their parents Jack and Rebecca through various stages of their lives and we’ve got the lowdown on the brand-new season starting on M-Net this month.
The series so far
In the first season we meet Jack Pearson (Milo Ventimiglia) and his heavily pregnant wife Rebecca (Mandy Moore) who’s carrying triplets. Rebecca goes into early labour and gives birth to a girl and two boys, but one tragically dies. Devastated by the news, Jack learns about another baby born on the same day who was abandoned at a fire station and convinces Rebecca to adopt him. With their family complete, Jack and Rebecca take Kate, Randall and Kevin home to start their lives as a family. But we discover a unique twist; adopted baby Randall is black.
In this poignant season we learn about Randall’s real father and how Rebecca kept this information from him. The back and forth time jump also show Randall as the smartest one out of the Pearson children and clearly Jack’s favourite. There’s a look back at Kate’s struggles with weight and how Jack taught her to embrace who she truly is, something she carries through to the present day and which helps her to find the love of her life. Kevin, the golden child of out of the trio, excels at football in high school but an injury ruins his chances at making it big. As an adult, he’s a famous TV star looking to break into big screen roles but is troubled by an alcohol problem. As the time jumps through the decades continue, we learn how Jack and Rebecca met and got married, and how she never wanted to be a mother.
The triplets celebrate their 37th birthday and we take a deeper look at their love lives. Kate is now fully dating Toby, and Randall and his wife Beth face an uphill battle as they introduce his biological father William to their daughters. Kevin struggles to find love and also to maintain his relationships with his siblings and mother.
There’s a closer look at Jack and Rebecca as individuals and also at their relationship as we learn about their connections with their children. Jack is shown as the doting father who’s secretly an alcoholic, but who will do anything for his kids, while Rebecca is shown as the mother who wants to pursue her career while still caring for her family. Then we jump to another decade as the Pearson children form a close-knit bond in an old family car, and Randall follows in the footsteps of his parents when he fosters a teenager in the hopes of adopting her. Kate’s big day with Toby draws near, leaving her flooded with memories of her father. We also learn that Jack died in a house fire when he tried to save Kate’s dog.
This season kicks off with the triplets’ 38th birthday, and then progresses to an even later phase in their lives as middle-aged people and saying goodbye to their dying mother Rebecca. The story also jumps back to Jack and Rebecca’s first date and how after his death, Rebecca moved on and married Jack’s best friend Miguel – who she stays married to in the present day. We get a hard look at Jack’s younger life in the army and his relationship with his brother. And Kevin, now in a stable relationship, makes it his mission to learn about his father’s time in Vietnam and inadvertently discovers that his uncle never died in Asia, but returned to the US and is very much alive – prompting the trio to visit him.
Kate struggles with Toby’s depression but receives a beacon of hope when she learns that she’s pregnant after being told it would never happen – she eventually gives birth to baby Jack. While Kevin learns more about his father, he finally stars in a feature film that’s a huge success, but his love life takes a knock. Randall and Beth come under much strain this season with the death of William, and Randall being elected councilman in an impoverished area in Philadelphia is a move that nearly costs him his marriage. We also learn about Beth and Randall’s relationship over the decades.
What’s coming in season 4
We’ll sadly be seeing less of Jack Pearson as his chapter draws to a close but before that happens, there’s another time jump to when Jack and Rebecca started their relationship and we see just how her parents reacted to him. Randall and Beth adjust to their new life in Philadelphia. Kate, Toby and baby Jack adjust to their new home, and Kevin struggles as he doubts himself while supporting those close to him.
Awards, accolades, cast
Each of the Pearson children are played by three different actors over the various decades:
- 8 to 12 years old: Lonnie Chavis
- 14 to 18 years old: Niles Fitch
- Adult: Sterling K. Brown
- 8 to 12 years old: Mackenzie Hancsicsak
- 14 to 18 years old: Hannah Zeile
- Adult: Chrissy Metz
- 8 to 12 years old: Parker Bates
- 14 to 18 years old: Logan Shroyer
- Adult: Justin Hartley
The series also stars Ron Cephas Jones as William Hill, Jon Huertas as Miguel Rivas and Susan Kelechi Watson as Beth Pearson.
This Is Us has been nominated as the best TV drama at both the Emmy’s and Golden Globes while Sterling K. Brown has won both trophies for his portrayal as Randall Pearson. And with a score of 91% on Rotten Tomatoes, reviews for the series range from “tear-jerking excellence” to “the emotional procedural we didn’t know we needed”.
This Is Us starts on Friday 17 January on M-Net (101) at 21:00
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