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With 'Council of Dads,' a Companion Show has Come Along for 'This is Us'
March 24, 2020  | By David Hinckley  | 1 comment

Someone at NBC seems to feel that This Is Us needs a friend.

So it has bought the TV equivalent of a new puppy: Council Of Dads, another uplifting family drama that premieres Tuesday at 10 p.m. ET.

That’s right after This Is Us, and that means on Tuesday nights, NBC will be delivering two full hours of TV comfort food.

Council of Dads, whose title screams “Sitcom!” has light and amusing elements. In the end, it’s a drama, revolving around the challenges that face a family when its patriarch and rock becomes seriously ill.

Scott Perry (Tom Everett Scott) might be the most thoughtful and caring TV Dad ever. Seemingly proving that goodness pays, he lives the apparently perfect life on a big old waterfront Savannah estate with his wife Robin (Sarah Wayne Callies), who is a doctor, and their four kids.

It’s a blended family, naturally, starting with college-age daughter Luly (Michele Weaver). Luly also serves periodically as a voiceover narrator for Council of Dads, though the action isn’t seen exclusively through her eyes.

Next is Theo (Emjay Anthony), who has the streak of sullen impatience endemic to mid-teenagers, followed by Charlotte (Thalia Tran), who is bright, 13, and adopted. Then there’s JJ (Blue Chapman), who is barely in school, but not too young to have gender identification issues.

After we meet them all, and just around the time we start thinking they make the Waltons look like the Sopranos, we get a few hints that this world isn’t as unblemished as it seems. Turns out Scott is a recovering alcoholic, which we learn because we meet a gruff old guy named Larry (Michael O’Neill, top, far right) whom Scott has been sponsoring at AA.

We also meet Oliver (J. August Richards, top, far left), Robin’s BFF from medical school. This male best friend thing isn’t awkward, because Oliver is gay. And we meet Anthony (Clive Standen, top, center), an award-winning chef and one of Scott’s pals from the not-always-good old days.

The Perrys seem to do pretty much everything as a happy family until Scott gets the news that something showed up on a routine medical test. Since the worst word in the entire medical lexicon is “something,” this throws the Perry world into chaos.

Plans are cancelled, worries explode, all the right things are said.

But since there are no guarantees in this life, Scott gets the idea to tap Larry, Oliver, and Anthony as a “council of dads” to help Robin with the family if Scott gets incapacitated or worse.

Now to be totally cold-blooded about this, Tom Everett Scott might want to consider whether Scott passing away might be a good option. Over on This Is Us, Milo Ventimiglia’s screen time feels like it’s doubled in the dozens of episodes since his character was killed off. Thank you, Mister Flashback.

But whatever happens, the council of dads is all queued up to step in and become Dad-by-committee, maybe like a baseball team that has different coaches for different positions.

Like This Is UsCouncil of Dads promises to show us a good-hearted family that gets thrown some wicked curveballs and must deal with them as a team. It’s “Yes We Can!” television, celebrating the kind and selfless side of human nature in the spirit of not only This Is Us, but earlier shows like Parenthood or Modern Family.

This Is Us, you’ve got a friend.

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Roseann Milano
I sure hope this is not another 'This is Us' I had to wash my face and hands after watching. I was so manipulated - I didn't even finish watching the first season. Life is tough enough and then to sit down and get those stories rubbed in my face? Fuggedaboudit.
Mar 24, 2020   |  Reply
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