‘This Is Us’ again, at last: NBC drama begins Season 5

NBC presents delayed premiere of drama's fifth season

“This Is Us” premieres its fifth season Tuesday on NBC.

For a sign of hope that broadcast television’s fall season may be returning to some normalcy, you can thank the Pearson family.

With the coronavirus pandemic having delayed production on virtually all scripted shows, NBC’s Emmy-winning drama “This Is Us” becomes one of the first returning series to offer new episodes when it starts its fifth year with a two-hour season premiere Tuesday, Oct. 27 … two weeks earlier than originally expected. Among the ongoing, timeline-shifting stories: Rebecca’s (Mandy Moore) decision to participate in a clinical trial related to her memory loss, an issue on which her offspring Randall, Kate and Kevin (Sterling K. Brown, Chrissy Metz, Justin Hartley) each have their own deep-rooted feelings.

“I trust in Dan (series creator and executive producer Fogelman) and the incredible writing team, who continue to amaze us,” says co-star Metz, who now plays a mom herself on the show, since Kate and husband Toby (Chris Sullivan) are parents to Jack — named for Kate’s late father (Milo Ventimiglia). “I don’t think you can ever go wrong with writing what you know and feel passionate about.”

Emmy-honored co-star Brown has suggested “This Is Us” will incorporate the Black Lives Matter movement. With so much having happened in the world since the show last aired — obviously also including the pandemic — Metz reasons, “I believe it’s necessary to explore, and I know it will all be written with care, concern and a desire to enlighten and to create important conversations.

Chrissy Metz stars in “This Is Us,” premiering its fifth season Tuesday on NBC.

“Our production has taken every single precaution and protocol to keep us all safe,” adds Metz, who recently made her Grand Ole Opry singing debut. “The general (work) day is longer, but everyone is willing to do what we must to stay healthy to bring the show back.”

A happy note as “This Is Us” returns is co-star Moore’s pregnancy, as she and musician husband Taylor Goldsmith expect their first child. While it’s unknown how the show will deal with that, Metz enthuses, “I can’t even tell you how excited I am for Mandy!”

As for Kate being a mother on the series now, “I feel like she’s on track and also honest about where she’s at,” Metz reflects. “There’s a major learning curve, and as we know, there isn’t a handbook for motherhood.” There isn’t one for marriage, either, but Metz says she feels Kate and Toby “are finding a deeper connection through the challenges they are facing together,” including Toby’s bouts with depression and their raising a child who is blind.

Whatever may lie ahead on “This Is Us,” Metz sums up her outlook simply, likely mirroring that of the series’ many fans: “I’m happy to be coming back sooner!”

Jay Bobbin

Jay Bobbin

Jay Bobbin has decades of experience covering the television and movie businesses, winning Tribune Media Services’ Crown Jewel Award in 2008 for his performance in the company. Over those many years of interviewing and writing, he has spoken with everyone from Robert De Niro and John Travolta to Paul McCartney and Tony Bennett … from Meryl Streep and Julie Andrews to Taylor Swift and Carrie Underwood.

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