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Trying to explain why you've fallen for a TV show is kind of like trying to explain love.

You know love when you're in it. But trying to explain it is not easy.

And trying to explain why you love a TV show taxes the communication skills of even the guy who created this year's best new series, "This Is Us" (Tuesdays at 8 p.m. on NBC Ch. 5).

"There's a kind of romantic melancholy to the entire thing," said executive producer Dan Fogelman. "Like a romantic optimistic but melancholian that kind of feels lifelike, but a little bigger than life, I think."

If you've watched "This Is Us," you know what he means. If not … that makes about zero sense.

"This Is Us" tells the parallel stories of five people: a young couple (Mandy Moore and Milo Ventimiglia) who become the parents of three in 1980; and those three grown-up children in 2016 — a hunky actor (Justin Hartley); his sister (Chrissy Metz), who's struggling with her weight; and their adopted brother (Sterling K. Brown).

What makes it so appealing — so different — is that all the characters are likable. They're not perfect, but they're all good people.

"Maybe it's the right place, right time for a show that has a little bit of hope and optimism," Fogelman said, "and can make you cry, make you feel — but also make you feel good."

His goal is "to entertain and explore people and hopefully uplift a little."

"I didn't get in the business to work on something that people turn off their TV and they feel worse than they did an hour ago," Fogelman said.

There are a lot of really well-done shows on TV, and "This Is Us" is definitely one of them. What makes it stand out in the 2016 television landscape is that it doesn't revolve around an antihero. It's about a family, and the characters love each other.

They don't have hidden motives. They aren't trying to one-up each other. Their lives aren't perfect, but they have a generally optimistic outlook on life.

Which is not the norm for TV characters. For a TV show.

"I think the world has grown more cynical," Fogelman said. "Our art has grown more cynical, I've been saying a lot."

He enjoys catching up on movie screeners at the end of the year, but "It's kind of become a slog for me sometimes. It's all so dark and so cynical."

But while watching Moore and Ventimiglia film a scene, "I genuinely started tearing up behind the monitor. Not because it's my own show, but because the performances were so affecting.

"And it felt larger than life … this thing that we are all trying to, kind of, waddle through together the best we can."

Which, Fogelman admits, probably sounds too "highfalutin and artistic-y."

"That's not what we are, but I think that is part of it," he said. "I think life can be romantic."

Which is as good a description as any of why it's so easy to love "This Is Us."

Scott D. Pierce covers TV for The Salt Lake Tribune. Email him at; follow him on Twitter @ScottDPierce.