The trailer for the new NBC show This Is Us is the greatest TV show trailer ever made. It is a consummate piece of craftsmanship, sucking in the audience like quicksand and stomping with beautiful poignancy on viewers’ emotions. Arguments that it’s not the greatest TV trailer in history are contradicted by numbers and reactions: people have watched it more than 31 million times in the three days since its release. A common refrain in the comments is how many of those viewers have never cried before at a mere trailer. Greatest is subjective, of course. But this is one very affecting mini-movie, a human interest masterpiece.
With its veritable magic act of inspired, expert filmmaking, the two-and-a-half minute trailer already has people rooting for each of its main characters — all beautiful 36-year-olds who share the same birthday. If the show brings the same level of dramatic urgency, powerful imagery, and societal exploration that the trailer does, it will be a network’s finest entry into the latter stages of the so-called “golden age” of TV, presenting artistry on a par with some of cable’s great dramas. All NBC will have to do is figure out how to sustain this movie-level sensibility while showing commercials for new Toyotas. Stars include: Mandy Moore, Sterling K. Brown, Chrissy Metz, and Milo Ventimiglia.