PASADENA, Cal. – “This Is Us” is finally back from its long holiday nap.
And it expects to start out by jolting viewers … again. “This is about to kind of go a little sideways,” Sterling K. Brown(shown here) told the Television Critics Association this weekend.
The show returns at 9 p.m. Tuesday (Jan. 14) on NBC, with what producer Dan Fogelman calls “a really special episode directed by … Yasu Tanida, who’s been our (cinematographer) for the entire run of the series. He’s a talented and beautiful guy.”
This follows a two-month break, following a Nov. 19 episode that gave viewers plenty to worry about.
Kate argued with her husband Toby about his weight-loss and his cross-fit obsession …. Her brother Kevin renewed his pledge to find a mate and become a dad (and, flashing forward nine months, was with an unidentified woman who had morning sickness) … And their adopted brother Randall (Brown) continued to have a difficult relationship with their mom, Rebecca (Mandy Moore).
The return will hit on all levels, Brown promised. “It allows us to delve further into Randall’s mental health and … how he takes care of himself and how he could possibly do a better job at that.”
Fogelman calls it a “really intense, very unusual, specialized episode” that will be followed by something the show did once before – three episodes, each focusing on just one of the siblings.
Viewers are used to shows promising “very special episodes,” some of which turn out to be especially bad. So far, however, “This Is Us” has satisfied fans – it’s No. 5 in the Nielsen ratings this season, or No. 3 if you don’t count football – and awards-voters.
Each of the first three seasons was nominated for the best-drama Emmy. The show has 27 Emmy nominations and three wins (for Brown and guest stars Gerald McRaney and Ron Cephas Jones).
And what about the Toby-fitness crisis. That was partly based on illusion, said actor Chris Sullivan; he’s been wearing padding until now.
But there’s also, some reality: He’s lost 30 pounds since the show began and is now at 6-foot-5, 260 pounds, with a physique that surprised Kate … and viewers. “Now you’ve seen all the men topless,” Sullivan said.