7 Shows to Watch If You’re Caught Up on ‘This Is Us’

updated May 22, 2020
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Sometimes you just need a good cry. For the past four years, NBC’s weepy “This Is Us” has been more than happy to provide that service for viewers. The earnest family drama loves a good twist and plays tricks with its multiple timeline conceit—we’re in the past, present, and future, baby!—but mostly it’s a show about one family navigating the ups and downs of life. Oh boy, are there a lot of downs for the Pearsons. Once you’ve caught up on all four seasons and have re-hydrated after all the crying, you might be in search of other emotional television shows that share some similarities with “This Is Us.” We recommend spending some time with one of these seven dramas.


I can’t imagine there being a “This Is Us” on NBC without “Parenthood.” The Pearsons owe so much to the Bravermans. “Parenthood” is basically “This Is Us” if it stuck to the present-day timeline and everyone wasn’t so scarred by death. It’s an ensemble multi-generational family drama following three generations of the Braverman family. Although this show will make you weep (any time the mother-daughter combo of Sarah (Lauren Graham) and Amber (Mae Whitman) get together, you’re a goner) it balances it out with a levity and joyful chaos that feels true to life with a big family. 
Streaming on Hulu

Brothers & Sisters  

If you come from the mindset that “This Is Us” is always strongest when the adult Big Three are sharing the same space, you’ll love “Brothers & Sisters.” This ABC ensemble drama tells the story of the Walker family after the death of the family patriarch (sound familiar?) and focuses on newly widowed Nora (Sally Field) and her five adult children, Sarah (Rachel Griffiths), Kitty (Calista Flockhart), Tommy (Balthazar Getty), Kevin (Matthew Rhys), and Justin (Dave Annable). Some of them have children of their own, but this show is very much about the relationship between the adults who grew up together but don’t always get along. Like any good family drama, “Brothers & Sisters” will make you teary-eyed in both the sad and happy way.
Streaming on Hulu and abc.com

Queen Sugar

It’s another drama about adult siblings picking up the pieces after their father dies (there are so many dead parent shows!), but here, one of the biggest hurdles the Bordelon siblings have to overcome is their own estrangement. If you thought Randall (Sterling K. Brown) and Kevin (Justin Hartley) have some unresolved tension in their relationship, please meet Charley (Dawn-Lyen Gardner), Nova (Rutina Wesley), and Ralph Angel (Kofi Siriboe). Charley all but left-behind rural Louisiana for a big life in Los Angeles, until her father leaves her the family sugar mill farm. The drama of it all is grounded by great performances and the show is gorgeously shot (it’s created by Ava DuVernay, so that explains a lot). If you’re looking for another family to spend time crying with, you can’t go wrong with the Bordelons.
Streaming on Hulu


Unlike the rest of the shows on this list, “Pitch” isn’t a family ensemble. It was, however, created by the man behind “This Is Us,” Dan Fogelman, so it has some of those same sensibilities—including a twist at the end of the pilot that will really punch you in the gut. Pitch follows Ginny Baker (Kylie Bunbury), the first female player in Major League Baseball history, as she starts her rookie year. Bunbury is excellent as Ginny, who has to prove to well, everyone, that she belongs in the majors. Mark-Paul Gosselaar is excellent as the scruffy veteran catcher who mentors Ginny (also: there’s some real heat there, should you be into that). And Mark-Paul Gosselaar’s beard is excellent as a beard that will stay with you for a very long time.
Streaming on Hulu


If you watch “This Is Us” and find yourself gravitating toward the teenage Big Three storylines and the exploration of teens grappling with grief, might I suggest you give “Everwood” a try? Dr. Andy Brown’s (Treat Williams) wife dies in a car accident and he promptly moves himself, his teenage son Ephram (Gregory Smith) and younger daughter Delia (Vivian Cardone) out of New York City and into a small mountain town in Colorado. “Everwood” is earnest without ever being too saccharine (there is some cheese, but good cheese), and it deals with grief without ever getting too maudlin, like “This Is Us” has a tendency to do. On top of the nuanced father-son relationship at its center, it’s got that quirky small-town vibe, and some great romance storylines. 
Streaming on IMDb TV

The Fosters

Sure, “The Fosters,” about a family with a mix of biological, adopted, and foster kids living in San Diego, is very teen-focused, but the core of the show is the family unit. If you’re into teen melodrama but also know that parents exist and many times play a huge role in a teenager’s life, pay a visit to this show where the teen storylines and adult storylines are both given the same amount of care and attention. Oh how the parent-child heart-to-hearts on this show will make you weep! Plus, the matriarchs of this family, Stef and Lena Adams Foster (Teri Polo and Sherri Saum) are just as much a perfect match as Rebecca and Jack Pearson (Mandy Moore and Milo Ventimilgia), if not a bit more realistic. 
Streaming on Netflix

Six Feet Under

The tone of “Six Feet Under” couldn’t be more different than that of “This Is Us.” If you’re ready to break free from the earnest melodrama in lieu of something edgier but still want something a little familiar, you might be ready to meet the Fishers. HBO’s “Six Feet Under” is another family drama with a dead father and adult children trying to get a handle on their grief as they take over the family business—Fisher & Sons Funeral home. It’s weird and wonderful and heart-breaking, and thanks to its funeral home setting, it offers up a complex exploration of grief and death. 
Streaming on HBO, HBO Now, HBO Go