There are some shows you know you will go back to. They hook you in on the first episode and that’s it. I normally leave reviewing these until two or three episodes in so I can get more of a handle on who I like and who I don’t and what is working and what isn’t.

Then they are others that after the first episode you feel a return visit is unlikely. It could be that the premise of the trailers wasn’t lived up, or that the only bits that were good were used up on said trailer. Sometimes, it comes down to the fact that nothing else was on so you gave it a try, only to realise all the reasons why you don’t watch this genre.

It is the last reason that fits most neatly with This Is Us. My mother insisted on giving it a whirl, and it did seem her kind of thing. Gentle humour, family love, bonds that never break etc. She’s a sucker for them. To be fair, when they are done exceptionally well, I can invest in them as well. Brothers & Sisters was a long-term favourite of mine, the sentiment balanced by a caustic zing.

Yet This Is Us worked for neither of us. My mother found the sudden revelation of the time difference at the end off-putting. She is never one to stretch herself with TV, and two time frames was asking too much. Personally, I find the concept one of the biggest pluses of the show, opening up questions about how the paths of the children diverged and why the parents aren’t shown in the present.

What didn’t work for me was that everything was laid on thick when it came to emotions. It all felt so heavy-handed. The finding of a birth father only to discover he is dying from cancer. The ‘breakdown’ of Kevin the actor. The biggest offender was the doctor’s speech, which didn’t stir even the slightest of twinges of pain in me.

One of the bright spots is the relationship between Kate and Toby. The much needed sharpness has the strongest chance of appearing from these two, with the chemistry flowing more authentically here then it does so elsewhere. There feels something real about them and I’m already investing in their relationship.

I started by saying it was unlikely I would return to this show. Unlikely, but not impossible. Nothing else seems to be on in the timeslot as of yet, so it may yet get a second chance to win both me and my mother over. But, if not, I doubt I will regret it.

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