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ProWrap: Tears and Scares

ProWrap consists of quick reviews of the television shows we don’t cover with full reviews or podcast episodes during the week.

This Is Us – S1E1 – “Pilot” | Tuesday at 10pm ET | NBC

Mandy Moore, Milo Ventimiglia, Sterling K. Brown and more star in the ensemble drama about a group of people who share the same birthday and so much more than anyone would ever expect.

“This Is Us” images: NBC

This Is Us could have easily been another dramedy bursting with White people’s problems; another broadcast network drama littered with beautiful white faces, with perfect bodies, and problems that aren’t problems. Add in a touch of equally attractive ethnicity and you’ve got a show that will be palatable by the masses. I dismissed This Is Us as just that show. Tell me a show is the second coming of Parenthood long enough and I won’t believe you. Then I took 2:43 out of my day to watch the trailer and I was moved. Four characters sharing the same birthday, with an unknown connection; I’ve lived 37 years and have yet to meet someone who shares my birthdate, so this was a huge draw. Glimpses of Milo Ventimiglia, Mandy Moore, and Emmy winner Sterling K. Brown, took this from maybe I’ll watch this on Hulu to committing to watching the premiere On Demand the following day.

“There’s no lemon so sour that you can’t make something resembling lemonade.”

The pilot introduces us to four very different people who share the same birthday: Jack (Ventimiglia), Kevin (Justin Hartley), Kate (Chrissy Metz), and Randall (Sterling K. Brown); each facing/celebrating their 36th birthday, none of them realizing quite how this day will change their futures.

Jack appears to be a working class guy, a Steelers fan, with a beautiful and very pregnant wife (Moore). They are celebrating his birthday in their usual tradition of a birthday dance and a little afternoon delight only to be disrupted by the birth of their children. Moore and Ventimiglia have astounding chemistry in their brief scenes together. Milo may have given the performance of his career in this pilot. His emotions were believable, palpable, and stirring.

Randall, a family man, took 36 by the horns and sought out his derelict birth father. He has something to prove, needs and wants answers, but is met with the unexpected. His birth father is not a villain, broken, but not a devil.

This Is Us - Season Pilot

Kate is beautiful, loved and has challenges with her weight. They cast a woman who is overweight and not the perfect hour-glass shape, which is so rare and refreshing. I am not familiar with Metz, but she gave a great performance and shares fantastic chemistry with Justin Hartley, who portrays Kate’s brother, Kevin, an actor – a Chris Evans-type plagued with one-note roles of being beautiful and dumb. Year 36 may make or break his career. How the four seemingly different people are connected is revealed in an amazing twist during the final moments of the episode. A great heartwarming and moving tale of five lives brought together by one moment. It’s on my list of must-watch new series along with Queen Sugar and AtlantaGrade: A+ ProFan Kituria

American Horror Story: Roanoke S6E1/S6E2 – “Chapter 1/Chapter 2” | Wednesday at 10pm ET | FX

This season’s theme of a show-within-a-show was a bold move that is, so far, paying off. Shelby and Matt (played by Lily Rabe and Andre Holland on American Horror Story and played by Sarah Paulson and Cuba Gooding Jr. within the fake horror documentary/reality show, “My Roanoke Nightmare”) are a couple who suffered through a devastating assault and miscarriage in Los Angeles. They try to pick up the pieces by spending their entire savings on a fixer-up out in the middle of nowhere North Carolina. They soon run afoul of the locals who had their eye on the property, creepily portrayed as psychotic hillbillies.

When strange things occur, the couple assume it’s just the locals trying to scare them off. An attack on Shelby while she’s soaking in the hot tub takes it way beyond a prank. Enter Matt’s sister, Lee (played by Adina Porter on “Roanoke” and Angela Bassett on AHS), a disgraced police officer trying to kick a pill addiction. She and Shelby set aside their issues with one another in order for Lee to stay with Shelby at the house when Matt travels for work. Before long, both women realize there’s something dangerous and terrifying going on. The police aren’t much help as they assume Shelby must be on drugs after she says she witnessed a blood sacrifice in the woods, and Lee is a recovering addict.

This week, the family finds a video that seems to shed light on the house’s dark past, and Lee’s daughter goes missing.

Since the series is played out through re-enactments for the fictional show and “interviews” with the real people involved, it would appear that (so far) everyone survives the ordeal. However, that doesn’t make it any less terrifying.

Number of times I’d have noped out of this damn situation and taken an L to my bank account: 5 | Grade: B+ ~ ProFan Nina


You can read full reviews of the shows we covered last week below: 

Quarry, Z Nation, The Strain, Lucifer, Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Gotham, Scream Queens, Atlanta, Queen Sugar, Mr. Robot

What’s the best thing you watched on TV last week?

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8 Comments on ProWrap: Tears and Scares

  1. That’s so accurate. Tears so many tears.

  2. Agents of shield was a great season premiere for me .

  3. Three words about AHS: F that house

  4. This Is US had me in tears. I loved the show. Totally not what I was expecting. Notorious was good too and The Blacklist premiere was awesome too.

  5. This Is Us is good. I’m watching because the actor who played Adam Newman on Y&R left Y&R to join this show.

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