Shows That Copied ‘This Is Us’ and Failed Miserably

This Is Us is one of the most popular TV shows currently on the air. With its talented ensemble and suspense-ridden narrative, the show manages to keep viewers hooked episode after episode, season after season. It’s got that whole sad but inspiring, heartbreaking but sometimes happy shtick that people just eat up like birthday cake.

This Is Us
Ron Cephas Jones, Susan Kelechi Watson, Sterling K. Brown, Chrissy Metz, Mandy Moore, Milo Ventimiglia, Justin Hartley, Chris Sullivan ‘This Is Us’ | Maarten de Boer/NBCUniversal via Getty Images

Fans cry with the leads. Fans laugh with the leads. It’s a drama unafraid to pull at the heartstrings, with no shame concerning purposeful deception with the goal of leaving you depressed for days. It should come as no surprise that — given the show’s success — others have tried to mimic its approach. Other shows have tried to go for this undying family love, relationships riddled with lies, complex histories, and more. You get the idea. 

Others have tried to be the “next” This Is Us. However, it appears the TV world has yet to learn its lesson when it comes to trying to replicate another show’s formula for success; it’s not as easy as it looks. Below, you will find a few shows that went for the whole This Is Us feel and missed the mark. 

‘A Million Little Things’ (2018)

A Million Little Things premiered in 2018 on ABC, and it immediately became obvious that it was the network’s futile attempt to combat NBC’s hit drama. The show is built around the concept that friendship is not “one big thing” but  “a million little things.” 

The show follows a group of friends in Boston — a family by choice rather than by blood — who come to bond under unexpected circumstances. Some are successful at work, while others boast perfect personal lives. There’s only one problem: all of them feel like something is missing. One of them dies, and the rest realize it’s time to start living the lives they wish to lead. 

The show is definitely another melodrama trying to reel people in with sadness and inspiration. Unfortunately, the show missed the mark and was derided (by critics and audiences alike) as a weak excuse for a This Is Us-type show.  A Million Little Things currently boasts a 53% critics score on Rotten Tomatoes, and critics argue that the show falls apart under the “weight of its own ambitions.” 

‘The Village’ (2018) 

NBC even tried to copy its own formula, hoping to snag a second hit show reminiscent of This Is Us. NBC failed at copying itself, as this show has already been canceled! Hope you’re not waiting for a second season because the poor reviews and low viewership ended the series before it had a chance to get started.

The show follows residents of a Brooklyn apartment who are not related but make up their own little family. It sounds like it attempted to be This Is Us meets Tales of the City — two unique shows with impressive ensembles and unimaginable degree of heart. Unfortunately, it paled in comparison to both the Netflix mini-series and the NBC network hit. The show’s first season received a 31% by critics. 

Honorable Mentions 

  1. Rise (2018)
  2. Manifest (2018)