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This Is Us season 3: Premiere date, how to watch, and more

And how to avoid the inevitable ugly cry that will ensue.

This is Us - Season 3
THIS IS US -- "Ave Maria" Episode 301 -- Pictured: (l-r) Susan Kelechi Watson as Beth, Sterling K. Brown as Randall -- (Photo by: Ron Batzdorff/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)

The Pearson family is coming back for Season 3 of NBC's emotional and award-winning drama This Is Us, and faithful viewers are getting their tissues ready alongside their snacks.

What's the big deal about this show?

In its first two seasons, This Is Us received 86 award nominations and took home 34 of them, including Sterling K. Brown's 2018 Golden Globes win for Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series, Drama and Ron Cephus Jones' recent Emmy win for Guest Actor in a Drama Series. The chemistry of the actors, the fluidity in which it is shot and the singularly special way the writing effortlessly trips forwards and backwards in time over more than three decades to tell the story of a uniquely American interracial family keeps viewers invested.

Who's in the show?

  • Milo Ventimiglia as Jack Pearson, patriarch of the Pearson clan who viewers learn died when his three children were 17 years old.
  • Mandy Moore as Rebecca Pearson, matriarch of the Pearson clan who marries Jack's best friend Miguel Rivas after he dies.
  • Sterling K. Brown as Randall Pearson, Jack and Rebecca's adopted son who has two biological daughters and is caring for a third. 
  • Chrissy Metz as Kate Pearson, Jack and Rebecca's daughter who is about to marry Toby Damon.
  • Justin Hartley as Kevin Pearson, Kate's twin brother and former TV actor known as "The Manny."
  • Susan Kelechi Watson as Beth Pearson, Randall's wife and rock.
  • Ron Cephus Jones as William Hill, Randall's biological father, who he found and took in shortly before William's death.
  • Chris Sullivan as Toby Damon, Kate Pearson's husband-to-be.

How do I keep up with the weird narrative?

It's usually pretty obvious to know when the story jumps back in time because the hairstyles, clothing and music usually reflect the era. Sometimes there are even appliance cues, such as the ancient crockpot that became an early symbol of sadness in this story. NBC's First Look video promoting Season 3 lets viewers know that they'll be seeing some different eras for the first time, such as Jack's time in the Vietnam War, when he first met Rebecca, and the future of Randall's daughters post-2018. TV Guide has some potential spoilers that might help, too.

Am I going to cry though?

If you have a soul, yeah, probably. This Is Us received the MTV Movie & TV Award for Tearjerker in 2017, and the honor is well-earned. Each episode does seem to follow a consistent arc, which tends to tug especially hard at the heart in the middle and very end, so you can steel yourself for the waterworks, but it's still hard to hold them back. (Every. Time.) 

There have been flashes that suggest Toby Damon falls into a deep, bedridden depression at some point after marrying Kate, so that's gonna be hard to watch. Luckily, Twitter will be alight with emotion at #ThisIsUs during every show in case you need lots of company.

I'll give it a shot! When does Season 3 start?

This Is Us premieres this Tuesday, Sept. 25 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on NBC.

How do I watch the show?

It can be streamed live on NBC.com or the NBC app in participating regions, or on Hulu and Amazon. The NBC app is also available on popular streaming devices including Apple TV ($85 at eBay), Chromecast, Amazon Fire TV and PlayStation 4.