Are The Pearsons Overstaying Their Television Welcome?

Photo: Courtesy of Ron Batzdorff/NBC.
The Pearson kids just reunited with their long-lost uncle Nicky (Griffin Dunne), but now, the creative team behind This Is Us has put a ticking clock on the NBC series. According to a new Deadline interview with creator Dan Fogelman and showrunner Isaac Aptaker, there are just three more seasons planned out of This Is Us, meaning that the sixth season will likely be the show’s last.
For This Is Us fans, that’s still a good chunk of episodes ahead. Some may argue that it’s too many episodes ahead. After all, we already know the Pearsons — specifically siblings Kate (Chrissy Metz), Randall (Sterling K. Brown), and Kevin (Justin Hartley) — rather intimately. Pulling at strings of the past could be overkill for these characters: No one will be thrilled with learning that Randall had a secret twin of his own also adopted at birth, or that Kate has some dark secret buried deep in her closet we've yet to learn.
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Fortunately, This Is Us is seemingly pivoting away from the Pearson siblings (and, yes, Milo Ventimiglia's patriarch Jack, whom we have seen through to slow cooker-related death). While the Big Three’s storylines are hardly over (the show continues to move forward into the future despite all its flashbacks), This Is Us is allowing audiences to get a closer look at some characters we don’t learn that much about.
Beth (Susan Kelechi Watson) before she met hubby Randall and became a Pearson will be the focus of an upcoming season 3 episode. Her cousin, Zoe (Melanie Liburd), is now romantically involved with Kevin and has already shared some of her own family history, which we should hopefully glean more of in Beth's episode. Randall’s elder daughter Tess (Eris Baker) appeared as an adult (played by Iantha Richardson) in the show’s long-discussed flash forward. Even Nicky, whom the other Pearsons once believed died in Vietnam, has plenty of years we know nothing about, but will hopefully see some stories from.
This Is Us has ample amount of story to fill six seasons, because it’s the story of multiple generations of one family. Hopefully, the series continues to lean into that aspect, and keeps exploring the rich lives of the underserved characters on the show. When This Is Us finally bows out, we’ll know we got the whole picture of the Pearson clan.
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