Tuesday, March 27, 2018

ABC Mid-Season Pilot Review: Alex, Inc. - Premieres Wednesday (March 28); Netflix Orders 3rd Season of One Day at a Time

Alex, Inc.

Alex, Inc. - Wednesdays at 8:30PM ET/PT on ABC
Premieres Wednesday, March 28, 2018 at 8:30PM ET/PT


by Pavan

Based on Alex Blumberg's successful podcast StartUp, comedy series Alex, Inc. is all about the things that happen – the good, the bad and the ugly – when a journalist and family man quits his job to start his own company. He quickly discovers it's going to be a lot harder than he thought. Alex Schuman is a successful radio producer with a whip-smart, public defender wife, Meheroon, (aka "Rooni") and two confident, quirky children, Ben and Soraya. After years of making the kind of content that brings no creative fulfilment, in what most would consider an early mid-life crisis, Alex decides to risk everything – including his savings – to start his own business. Armed only with the help of his overenthusiastic producer, Deirdre, and his fast-talking, unemployed second cousin, Eddie, Alex navigates the crazy world of start-ups while trying to keep his marriage and family a priority.

Cast Details:


Zach Braff as Alex Schuman
Michael Imperioli as Eddie
Tiya Sircar as Rooni Schuman
Hillary Anne Matthews as Deirdre
Elisha Henig as Ben Schuman
Audyssie James as Soraya Schuman

Zach Braff (Alex) is one a New Jersey native and one of his most notable characters is that of Dr. John "J.D." Dorian on the beloved television series Scrubs. During the half-hour comedy's nine-year run, Braff earned a Primetime Emmy® and three consecutive Golden Globe nominations (2005-07) for his starring role. Scrubs also received numerous Emmy nominations for Best Comedy Series and Best Comedy Writing. In addition to directing seven episodes of Scrubs (including the show's landmark 100th episode), Braff made his feature film debut behind the camera as the director and writer of his original comedy-drama, Garden State, in which he also starred. Braff shot the coming-of-age film in his home state for a budget of $2.5 million, resulting in a $5 million unprecedented sale to two studios, Fox Searchlight and Miramax, during its premiere at the 2004 Sundance Film Festival.

Michael Imperioli (Eddie) is best known for his starring role as Christopher Moltisanti in the acclaimed TV series The Sopranos, which earned him a Best Supporting Actor Emmy® Award. He also wrote five episodes of the show. He has also starred in TV series such as Detroit 1-8-7 and Life on Mars, both on ABC. In addition, he was the co-screenwriter of the film Summer of Sam, directed by Spike Lee. Imperioli has appeared in six of Lee's films and has also acted in films by Martin Scorsese, Abel Ferrara, Walter Hill, Peter Jackson and the Hughes brothers.

Tiya Sircar (Rooni) has recently been seen in the NBC comedy The Good Place, with Entertainment Weekly recently dubbing her the series "scene stealer." She appears in the critically acclaimed series opposite Kristen Bell and Ted Danson in multiple shifting roles, from an altruistic human rights lawyer to a power-hungry demon. In the wake of recent guest roles on such series as Master of None and The Mindy Project, Sircar has also exercised her comedic and dramatic chops on The Witches of East End, The Vampire Diaries, The Crazy Ones, Hannah Montana and The Suite Life on Deck.

Hillary Anne Matthews (Deidre) is an actor and improviser, and has appeared in Netflix's Wet Hot American Summer: Ten Years Later, Fox's New Girl, Comedy Central's Drunk History, Seeso's The UCB Show, YouTube Red's Single by 30 and the go90 series Drive Share, created by Rob Huebel and Paul Scheer.

Elisha Henig (Ben) fell in love with acting after taking an acting class at the age of 8, and made his debut performance as Richard the Third at the end-of-class demo. At the age of 10, he started appearing in television roles, including guest appearances on Grey's Anatomy, Rizzoli & Isles, Code Black, Transparent and Mr. Robot.

Audyssie James (Soraya) started acting at the age of 6 with a guest-starring role on Sesame Street. She also has done scores of commercials, including three with her father, Antquon. Multi-ethnic, she was born to Simone and Antquon James and has a younger sister, Aella.


Pilot Plot:

"The Unfair Advantage" (airs Wednesday, March 28 at 8:30PM ET/PT)

With the help of wife Rooni and their children, Alex Schuman quits his prominent job to start his own podcast company telling real stories that matter. He hires his cousin Eddie and former producer, Deirdre, to help achieve his dream. Meanwhile, Ben performs magic at the school talent show which teaches Alex an important lesson about his future. Chris Sacca appears as himself. The episode was written by Matt Tarses and directed by Zach Braff.

Analysis:

The first three production episodes were available to us for review: "The Unfair Advantage," "The Wax Museum" and "The Mother In-Law." The first two are airing first March 28 and April 4. The latter doesn't have an airdate yet. I was quite surprised how good this show is as I watched each episode. The premiere episode was a lot of set-up and it wasn't as good (or funny) as the other two episodes I saw. But it got better after that! Zach Braff really shines in this series and he still has that Scrubs charm and quirky fun. He brings his family life to this show along with starting a new business. Both aspects of the show are solid. His family - the wife and two kids are really good in this. The wife is of Indian descent, so that is refreshing to see on broadcast television, especially not in a traditional family. It's something unique at least. The children are obviously of mixed race, with the son looking more white, and the daughter looking more Indian.

His work life is also interesting. He quits his high profile job and ends up creating a start-up business about a podcast. Seems random, but, hey it works. He teams up with his cousin Eddie, played by Michael Imperioli, and Deidre, who definitely has a thing for Alex. It's a funny three person team, as Deidre brings a lot of laughs and Eddie plays the straight guy to Alex. I think this is Imperioli's first regular sitcom and he certainly plays it well. He is always good in everything he does and is a great actor. By the time I got to the third episode, "The Mother In-Law," it was full on laughs and heart. Alex's mother in-law was very funny and she played off well with Alex. It has the ABC family brand and charm to it.

Conclusion:

This is a solid series. It has a great leading man in Zach Braff, who is a proven star for comedy. It has a great supporting cast, both in Alex's home life and workplace. The series should fit in very well sandwiched in between ABC's top comedies: The Goldbergs and Modern Family. Sophomore comedy Speechless is a more proven and funnier show, but Alex, Inc. is just getting started and it has a good shot, I think. It just fits ABC's comedy brand very well and of the two new ABC comedies premiering this week, this is the better one. With The Middle ending this season, Alex, Inc. has a better shot of returning next season, if it performs. Because the quality is pretty good and it gets funnier as the episodes go on. Give Alex, Inc. a chance, because it has the recipe of comedy success.

Final Numbers (out of 5 stars):

Watchability: 3.5/5
Funniness: 3.5/5
Overall: 3.5/5

Discuss the show after you watch it on Wednesday, March 28, 2018 at 8:30PM ET/PT on our message board.

Related Links:

  • ABC Official Site
  • TV.com
  • epguides.com
  • Internet Movie Database
  • Wikipedia
  • Alex, Inc. Photo Gallery

    Preview:





  • Finally, this is it! One Day at a Time has been renewed for Season 3! Netflix has ordered 13 half-hour episodes, coming in 2019. Returning cast includes Justina Machado, Rita Moreno, Todd Grinnell, Stephen Toblowsky, Isabella Gomez and Marcel Ruiz. Executive Producers include Norman Lear, co-creators/co-showrunners Gloria Calderon Kellett and Mike Royce, Michael Garcia and Brent Miller. Produced by Sony Pictures Television for Netflix. A reimagining of the iconic Norman Lear sitcom, One Day at a Time is a hilarious and heartfelt comedy that follows three generations of a Cuban-American family sometimes-reluctantly cohabitating and navigating the ups and downs of life. A newly-single mom and military veteran journeys through the triumphs and tribulations that come with raising two strong-willed, mega-millennial children, all the while enlisting the "help" of her old-school mother and her building manager-turned-invaluable confidante. Through a contemporary lens, One Day at a Time offers a glimpse at what life looks like, in good times and bad -- and how those around you somehow make it all worthwhile.


    Sitcoms Airing Tonight

    Sunday, April 22

    Bob's Burgers - "Cheer Up Sleepy Gene" (Fox, 7:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
    Gene gets invited to his first sleepover, and things don't go as planned; Bob and Linda record themselves while sleeping to prove who snores more.

    Bob's Burgers - "Go Tina on the Mountain" (Fox, 7:30PM ET/PT)
    The Belcher kids go to Outdoor Education only to have it rain; Tina meets a hermit living in the woods; Bob and Linda experience what it's like to be empty nesters.

    The Simpsons - "Lisa Gets the Blues" (Fox, 8:00PM ET/PT)
    When the Simpsons' flight is rerouted to New Orleans, Lisa rediscovers her passion for jazz; Bart is intrigued by voodoo; Homer is intrigued by drinking.

    Brooklyn Nine-Nine - "Gray Star Mutual" (Fox, 8:30PM ET/PT)
    When a fire destroys Charles' food truck, Pimento unexpectedly shows up to the scene as the insurance agent; Rosa helps Amy to see that it's okay to get excited about picking her wedding dress; Gina and Terry coach Holt in the art of social media.

    Family Guy - "'Family Guy' Through the Years" (Fox, 9:00PM ET/PT)
    A reimagining of the show as a series that's been on the air for 60 years; a look back at the cultural events and issues tackled on the show through the decades.

    The Last Man on Earth - "The Blob" (Fox, 9:30PM ET/PT)
    A thermal heat detector reveals a potential sign of life, but Tandy doesn't want the group to split up to investigate; Todd and Erica have trouble seeing eye to eye.

    Complete TV Listings


    Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of April 16)

    Friday, April 20

    • Rory Scovel (Ground Floor) - Rory chats with the ladies of The View on ABC at 11am ET/10am CT-PT.
    • Susan Kelechi Watson (Louie) - Susan is a guest on Harry, so check your local listings.
    • Christine Lahti (The Harvey Korman Show) - Christine Christine talks about her book True Stories from an Unreliable Eyewitness: A Feminist Coming of Age on Access Live, so check your local listings.
    • T.R Knight (Charlie Lawrence) - T.R. talks about Nat Geo's Genius on New York Live on WNBC in New York at 11:30am ET.
    • Emmanuelle Chriqui (Entourage) - Emmanuelle talks about Super Troopers 2 on People Now at 8:30am.
    • Sean Hayes (Will & Grace/Sean Saves the World) - Sean speaks out about his terrifying health scare and his fight against hearing loss on The Dr. Oz Show, so check your local listings.
    • Holly Robinson Peete (Hangin' with Mr. Cooper/For Your Love) - Holly talks about Meet the Peetes on Home & Family on Hallmark Channel at 10am ET/PT.
    • Alia Shawkat (Search Party/Arrested Development) - Alia talks about Duck Butter on the BUILD Series at 10am.
    • Busy Philipps (Vice Principals/Cougar Town) - Busy is a guest on The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.
    • Jodie Sweetin (Fuller House/Hollywood Darlings/Full House), Beverley Mitchell (Hollywood Darlings and Christine Lakin (Hollywood Darlings/Step by Step) - Jodie, Beverley and Christine talk about Pop's Hollywood Darlings on Good Mythical Morning with Rhett & Link on YouTube.


    New on DVD/Blu-ray (February/March/April)

    Diff'rent Strokes - The Complete Seventh Season Green Acres - The Complete Fifth Season Mayberry R.F.D. - The Complete First Season One Day at a Time - Season Two Perfect Strangers  - The Complete Third Season

    02/06 - All in the Family - Seasons 1-5
    02/06 - Bosom Buddies - The Complete Series
    02/06 - Women of the House - Complete 12 Episode Series
    02/13 - Broad City - Season 4
    02/13 - Three's Company - The Complete Series - Come and Knock on Our Door Collection
    02/27 - Diff'rent Strokes - The Complete Seventh Season
    02/27 - Green Acres - The Complete Fifth Season
    02/27 - Mayberry R.F.D. - The Complete First Season
    03/06 - Atlanta - The Complete First Season
    03/06 - Curb Your Enthusiasm - The Complete Ninth Season
    03/13 - The New Adventures of Old Christine - The Complete First Season
    03/27 - One Day at a Time - Season Two
    04/03 - Ballers - The Complete Third Season (Blu-ray)
    04/03 - 90's Sitcom (Just Shoot Me!/The Larry Sanders Show/Wings) Starter Set - Season 1 & 2 Bundle
    04/10 - Vice Principals - The Compelte Series
    04/17 - Perfect Strangers - The Complete Third Season
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