Masterpiece Gives an Inside Look At 'Us'

(Photo courtesy Masterpiece/BBC 2020)

Summer is just about here, and with it, a new crop of new shows from Masterpiece. After several years of this being the "summer of mysteries" with Endeavour and Grantchester, 2021 aims for something a little different, kicking off with a family drama titled Us. The series initially aired in four one-hour installments on BBC One back in September of 2020. Now it comes to this side of the pond as a pair of two-hour installments beginning in mid-June.

The new series is based on the book of the same name by English author David Nicholls, who adapted his own work for the screen and was directed by Geoffrey Sax (Endeavour). Starring Tom Hollander (Baptiste), the story revolves around bland-but-kind Douglas Petersen. After 25 years of marriage, he learns his wife, Connie (Saskia Reeves, Belgravia), is planning to leave now their son, Albie (Tom Taylor, The Last Kingdom), is headed off to university. As the family heads to Europe on the "trip of a lifetime" to celebrate Albie's departure, Douglas finds himself frantically working to change his wife's mind about walking out of their marriage now that they've finished raising their son.

British critics have described the show as one part of family drama, one part situation comedy, with some mystery and a lot of travelogue thrown in for good measure. The series hit in the U.K. in the middle of the pandemic when travel was limited, and it did well not just as a Sunday night family drama but also as a way for those trapped at home to vicariously experience traveling in places like Paris and Amsterdam.

Check out the series first look teaser:

Here's the official synopsis:

Douglas, his wife, and his teenage son take a European summer vacation together. What could go wrong? Tom Hollander, Saskia Reeves, and Tom Taylor star in an adaptation of David Nicholls' bittersweet, bestselling novel about a family giving their relationship one last shot.  

Hollander and Reeves are joined by a stellar cast of actors, including Iain De Caestecker (Roadkill) and Gina Bramhill (Sherlock) as the younger versions of themselves in the flashbacks to the early years of their relationship when Connie was still a working artist and living a life of fulfillment. Thaddea Graham (The Irregulars) plays Kat, who Albie befriends on the trip, and Sofie Gråbøl (The Killing) is Freja, a tourist whose meeting with the family helps crystalize the future. There's also a special guest appearance by Charlotte Spencer (Sanditon).

In a statement before the show's debut in the U.K., David Nicholls said: "It's a huge thrill to see the novel come to life, and with such a wonderful cast and production team. We want to make something funny, touching, and beautiful, to really explore marriage and family life, all against this incredible backdrop."

Us is one of three series that Masterpiece picked up after the coronavirus pandemic derailed filming of many of their regular series to help tide over gaps in the 2021 schedule, along with the just-concluded Atlantic Crossing and the forthcoming Guilt, which arrives in September.

Us premieres on Masterpiece on Sunday, June 20, 2021, at 9 p.m. ET. As always, check your local listings.