What brings people together in a story?

Usually it is catastrophes or celebration, medical emergencies, romantic clichés, workspace stresses, magical quests, family feuds and/or murder mysteries. For NBC’s latest feel-good drama series, it is the consequence of birth. This is Us will be premiered in India on the Star World Premiere HD channel on September 24.

The pilot ofThis Is Us, starring Mandy Moore, Milo Ventimiglia, Chrissy Metz, Justin Hartley, and recent Emmy winner Sterling K Brown, follows four seemingly unrelated individuals at crucial points in their lives. It also happens to be the 36th birthday of all the characters.

Kate (Metz) is struggling with her longstanding weight problem, her twin brother Kevin (Hartley) is the star of a trashy sitcom who is tired of not being taken seriously because of his good looks, and Randall (Brown) is a father of two who hires a private detective to track down his biological father, who abandoned him at a fire station as a baby. And there’s Jack (Ventimiglia), soon to be the father of triplets whose wife Rebecca (Moore) is in labour while their doctor is busy getting his own appendix removed.

‘This is Us’.

Full of light humour and heart, the series features some very well-written if often cheesily sentimental characters. But this is the good kind of cheese. All of them are out there in their most vulnerable glory, geared up to hit you right in the feels. You can’t help but sniffle as Kate takes off the last piece of jewellery before she steps on the weighing scale or chuckle as eight months-pregnant Rebecca makes her sexy dance look adorable. Randall’s face-off with his estranged father is as awkward as it is heartbreaking, and while “I’m too good looking” doesn’t ever look like a big problem, you can’t help feel bad for Kevin when a powerful and meaningful shot is rejected as the director asks him to just take his shirt off.

None of these issues seem monumental. But to the people in this story, these are life-altering situations. This is Us is 42 minutes of easy conflict and characters that you will find yourself rooting for. Now that complicated and conflicted characters are crowding network shows and streaming platforms, it is a relief to meet a group of people you can find yourself caring about without inflicting emotional damage to yourself.

The pilot is a triumph. It introduces us to a range of characters and convinces us to care about each of them and their individual stories. This is a big feat and one that series creator, Dan Fogelman, aces compellingly. And, of course, there is a twist in the tale.

This is Us presses all the right buttons, and is sure to make the audience choke up with well-intentioned tears of joy and the simple realisation that yes, you are still a decent functioning emotional human being.