Family vacations are often filled with high expectations. This is certainly the case with Douglas Peterson (played by Tom Hollander), one of the protagonists of U.S, a new drama scheduled to premiere on MASTERPIECE on PBS.
The two two-hour segments of the show will air on successive Sundays, June 20 and June 27, at 9 / 8c.
Viewers who have postponed family vacations during the pandemic will be able to indirectly travel with the Petersons from their suburban home in Britain – via the Chunnel – to Paris and then on trains to Amsterdam, Venice, Siena and Barcelona. (The series was filmed in the days before the mask and the pandemic, when Europe was still teeming with tourists.)
Just as Peterson, his wife Connie (Saskia Reeves), and the couple’s 17-year-old son Albie (Tom Taylor) are about to embark on this ambitious and busy schedule – three weeks, six countries, 12 cities – during On summer vacation in Europe, Connie throws a wrench in the hope that it will serve as a joyous bonding experience for the family.
With her only son planning to go off to college after the summer, Connie is uneasy at the prospect of becoming an empty nest and living the rest of her life alone, with Douglas. When the series begins, she tells her unsuspecting husband that she wants to end their 20-year marriage. “I’ve been thinking of leaving. I think our marriage could have ended, ”he says point-blank.
Baffled by Connie’s pronouncement and with no idea what went wrong, Douglas hopes their already planned (and paid for) multi-city family trip can save their relationship – he’s determined to change and become the husband she wants to grow old with. . He also thinks that this time together will allow him to repair his distant and somewhat rebellious relationship with his rebellious teenage son, who is not eager to travel with his parents.
Now a scientist-trained pharmaceutical executive, Douglas is methodical and perfectionist, almost rigid. Connie has the soul and inclinations of a creative and carefree artist who flaunts the conventional. He is a planned traveler, always with an itinerary and map in hand; she is more spontaneous. The story includes flashbacks to the couple’s younger years as lovers and newlyweds, shedding light on their initial attraction to each other.
While the series offers many of the same comedic travel mishaps that characterized the super popular National Lampoon Vacation (and its four sequels), the plot of U.S It becomes more serious when Albie meets Kat, an aspiring busker, and Douglas meets Freja, a fellow traveler who is coming out of a divorce.
At the end of this peculiar journey, contrary to the concept of U.S“It’s an unexpected but happy ending.” Douglas, Connie, and Albie find their respective paths to fulfillment as individuals, as well as a new acceptance of one another.
The two-part miniseries is an adaptation of a best-seller. Booker Award Nominated Novel by English novelist and screenwriter David Nicholls.