Even though the thought of saying goodbye to the Pearsons hurts the heart, This Is Us shouldn’t have more than five or six seasons.
There’s no denying that This Is Us is a pop culture phenomenon. Its cast members are everywhere and quickly taking over the world. Its one of the highest rated and most talked about shows on primetime. Not to mention, the series itself maintained its gangbusters success throughout its sophomore run and still makes its viewers cry with each new episode.
However, the tears must dry eventual. As Mandy Moore once sang, all good things come to an end, and This Is Us should come to an end after five, possibly six, seasons. I’ll admit that it seems much too soon to be talking about an endgame for television’s biggest hit, but with the third season quickly approaching this fall, we have to think about longevity.
Do we want more This Is Us for the sake of more This Is Us? Or do we want more This Is Us for the meaning of its narrative? If it’s the former, the writers will surely churn out heartfelt story after heartfelt story for as many seasons as NBC will allow. But if it’s the latter, our greed shouldn’t supersede the integrity of the story, which will arrive at a natural conclusion eventually.
Also, there are some logistical matters that will create confusion each passing year. Namely, the six children featured in the flashback segments of the series will grow up and render those formative time periods complete. While there’s an argument that the show could grow along with the pre-teen and teen Big Three, those stories could be less effectual than those prior.
Think of the best shows. Usually, they go out on top and bow out at or near six seasons. Some of the exceptions to the rule can achieve greatness well past 10 seasons, but when it comes to family dramas, you can only mine so much story before it becomes repetitive and the audience loses interest. What would hurt more, losing This Is Us at Season 5 or watching middling episodes of your favorite show?
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Of course, these are just the preemptive fears that the This Is Us format can’t be sustained over a long period of time, but should the series defy all odds, we’d more than willing to ride this unicorn into Season 9 and beyond. But until we see what the future holds for the upcoming third season, we’ll err on the side of caution and hope for at least three (or four!) more heartbreaking and heartwarming seasons with the Pearson family. We’ll be spoiled no matter what.
What do you think? Let us know your thoughts in the comments, and be sure to keep the conversation going over on Twitter at @thisisuscrying!
This Is Us returns for Season 3 in September on NBC.