Ten million people watched the funny, emotionally powerful first episode of This Is Us — thanks to the great lead-in from The Voice and a trailer for the show released this summer that is considered one of the best of all time. Or maybe it was the shirtlessness of handsome male stars Milo Ventimiglia and Justin Hartley — because, let’s get real, this opener was a pec fest.
This Is Us was not only handsomely shot, it was cleverly construed. The twist at the end, a classic I see what you did there that left viewers happily stunned, hit home structurally and emotionally. Viewers feel like they’re in very capable hands here — and that trust should allow the show to travel roads that more formulaic efforts just can’t. Episode 2 may present a bit of a problem at the outset, however, because not all those ten million viewers watched the show to its ultimate conclusion — and the twist came in the last few minutes, very close to the end. But the This Is Us team will doubtless figure a way to set viewers straight. The debut demonstrated not just skill but patience and confidence.