The new ABC drama follows the lives of a group of friends who are left reeling when one of them commits suicides, revealing secrets and twists along the way.
ABC premiered its ambitious new drama "A Million Little Things" and the premiere confirmed pre-air speculation that this show was very much in the vein of NBC's "This Is Us," but is that a bad thing? Twitter doesn't seem to think so.
First of all, if television can consistently maintain half a dozen police, hospital and legal dramas, whose to say it can't also sustain more than one tearjerker? And make no mistake, "A Million Little Things" is definitely going down that same familiar road, though the tears didn't come quite as hard in this premiere.
And like "This Is Us," the trauma of the main characters surrounds the death of someone near and dear to them. Only it's not a father-figure -- though in some ways, Ron Livingston's Jon does kind of seem that way -- but rather the unofficial leader of their friend group.
Throughout our lives, we find ourselves gravitating to these friend groups. Sometimes they come and go, sometimes they last a lifetime, but when they are yours they are a bond as tight and as close as family. Or are they?
"A Million Little Reasons" deconstructs the notion of the classic friend group by asking just how real people are getting with their friends. Jon committed suicide and his friends of ten years have no idea why. They didn't even know he was struggling.
Three guys he met in an elevator when they got stuck for two-and-a-half hours, and they came out with Bruins season tickets and a bond they thought was more real than it was. But it took the wake-up call of Jon's suicide to really break through all that bro-nonsense that guys especially hide behind for them to get real with one another again.
Jon wasn't the only one hurting. When Rome (Romany Malco) got the call, he was about to kill himself. By the end of the hour, he'd revealed this to his friends and found the support that will hopefully help him pull through. You might have a lot of friends, or even a smaller group of people you think are really close friends.
Would you tell them that? Would you open up the scary parts of your soul and expose your real self and your real truth? Most of us cling onto our most vulnerable part like a vise, hiding them from everyone. "A Million Little Things" is trying to tell us we need to stop doing that, and it's using the very real problem of depression and suicide to do it.
So it's going in a different direction with its heartstrings, but they are nevertheless there. And honestly, we were all in with every character revelation and twist unveiled along the way, except for one. And while it make sense on one level, it felt a little over-the-top that one of Jon's best friends, Eddie (David Giuntoli) was cheating on his wife with Jon's wife, Delilah (Stephanie Szostak).
At the same time, maybe that illustrates the point perfectly. These are the closest of friends, and yet there is betrayal within the group. Eddie loves Jon but not so much that he could stop himself from falling in love with Delilah. And we know he doesn't love his own wife, Kim (Grace Park), who seems work-obsessed over everything else.
Honestly, the journey of these characters in the aftermath of Jon's suicide was enough to lure us in for at least a few episodes. The writing of the character interactions, from the funny moments to the more visceral, was really strong and helped these characters feel lived in after only one episode. They could have sat on that alone and won us over.
But the writers couldn't keep things simple. On top of Eddie and Delilah's affair, there's now another layer of mystery behind Jon's death, as his assistant Ashley (Christina Ochoa) is hiding a message he might have left and started purging emails.
Her anguish when he jumped seemed real enough, but what's up with the rest of this? Everyone else apparently has their secrets, so what is Jon hiding? It would be unrealistic for him to truly be the saint everyone is painted as when they die. Just so long as ABC doesn't take it to the extremes of some of their other soaps like "Revenge," they could have a quiet gem on their hands.
We're not ready to put it in the Emmy categories alongside "This Is Us" just yet, but we can agree with the Twitter response that it's tapping into some of those same feels. And even though "This Is Us" leaves us emotionally exhausted every Tuesday night, we might be able to find a million little reasons to tune into this show on Wednesdays.
Check out way less than a million reactions to the premiere below:
I am so glad that there is a show about the truth of depression. Even if you are not going through it, someone you know is. This is a must watch tv show. #amillionlittlethings — watching A Million Little Things
I was impressed with the writing and acting in the premiere of ABC's “A Million Little Things.” Let's see where it goes but applaud creativity of scripted show over game shows and re-makes from the 80s and 90s. Good to see some imaginative TV.