I Know this Much is True begins with tragedy. In a public library in Connecticut, a man sits down, begins reciting Matthew 5:30, draws a knife from his jacket, raises it, and goes for his right wrist. It’s an unsettling overture, and the rest of the premiere episode is pretty gloomy, too: it’s a grey day in New England and George Bush is president. But there are bright spots. Juliette Lewis plays a deranged PhD and is by turns hilarious and disturbing; Mark Ruffalo, starring as twins, means double the Ruffaloian brooding; Melissa Leo evokes an aged, softer version of her role in The Fighter. This limited series is based on the best-selling book by Wally Lamb, and while it’s seriously distressing at times, it draws you in with a well-acted script and infectious moodiness. A moving exploration of intergenerational trauma, fraught family ties, and the heartbreaking nature of love. —C.J.F.