This Is Us is a classic for the new generation and has steered its viewers in multiple directions in its first two seasons. The show is now all set for a new, hopeful, and exciting route in its third season, which airs on September 25.
The show has made its viewers tear up, experience joy, and share the pain of its characters in a deeply relatable manner. In its new season, This Is Us is expected to pick up on unexplored themes and venture into uncharted territories – such as the Pearson patriarch Jack’s experience of the Vietnam War.
During an interactive session of NBC’s Television Critics Association press tour this Wednesday, the show runners, Isaac Aptaker and Elizabeth Berger, revealed a few details of the upcoming season, and talked about what they have in store for the viewers.
The creators of the show have brought in the real-life veteran and writer, Tim O’ Brien, who experienced the Vietnam War and penned down his thoughts in his novels such as The Things They Carried. They have brought him in to ‘really get the story right’.
He explained how he would ‘actually be co-writing with Dan Fogelman an early episode that really dives into Jack’s life’ at war. Berger and Aptaker are ready to make their viewers see past the death of Jack, and to ‘tell a whole different type of story’.
Apart from delving into the details of the war, the show runners also want to focus on other storylines that were glimpsed during the season 2 finale, and break all the old rules of documenting them to the viewers.
“We are challenging ourselves in season three,” Aptaker said during the session. “Now that we’ve figured out that our audience is along for the ride…we’re kind of breaking all the rules. We’re challenging ourselves to jump to decades we’ve never been to before, and going to the future as we’ve seen a little bit, and really play with the storytelling format in a way that’s just much more complicated than we were able to in earlier seasons, when we were kind of showing people how the show worked.”
Season 2 ended with the viewers dealing with Jack’s death, and seeing how it happened. In season 3, the writers of the show are ready to challenge the emotional capacities of viewers, and their ability to comprehend the lives of their favorite characters in a new light.
“A typical episode of This Is Us has three sibling storylines and then a past episode, and every now and then we’ll devote one solely to one character, but this season we’re really throwing everything out the window and saying all bets are off,” he said.
“So maybe we’ll do an episode where every act is a different time. Maybe we’ll have something that jumps five timelines in an episode. We’re really pushing the limits of what people will comprehend.”
While viewers seem to have come to terms with Jack’s death, the creators are eager and excited to keep his memory alive during this season.
“I think that we felt like at the end of season two, our family had grieved and processed the loss of Jack on a deeper level than they had before,” Berger said. “So I think it’s a very hopeful season, and a season of true new beginnings for everybody.”
There are several other surprises that show runners have for us — including new timelines, refocus on past events, and exposure to the future of the characters simultaneously in a single episode.
They also want to shift the focus on the character of Toby (Chris Sullivan), who was suffering through a depressive episode; on what lies ahead for Randal (Sterling K. Brown) and Tess (Iantha Richardsons), and on Kevin (Justin Hartley) on the airplane flying to Vietnam with Beth’s cousin, The Big Three’s 38th birthdays, amongst several other things.