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

    Tuesday, December 1

    none scheduled

    Complete TV Listings


    Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of November 30)

    Tuesday, December 1

    • John Mulaney (Mulaney) - Catch John on Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
    • Bryan Cranston (Malcolm in the Middle) - Bryan appears on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert at 11:35pm on CBS.
    • John Lithgow (3rd Rock from the Sun/Twenty Good Years/Trial & Error) - John is a guest on The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
    • Leslie Odom Jr. (Central Park/Big Day) - Leslie appears on a repeat of A Little Late with Lilly Singh at 1:35am on NBC.
    • Melissa McCarthy (Mike & Molly/Samantha Who?) and Ben Falcone (Nobodies/Joey) - Melissa and Ben are guests on Watch What Happens: Live at 11pm on Bravo. They also talk about their new movie Superintelligence on E!'s Daily Pop at 11am.
    • Alfonso Ribeiro (The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air/In the House/Silver Spoons) - Alfonso appears on The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.
    • Billy Gardell (Bob Hearts Abishola/Mike & Molly/Yes, Dear) - Billy will be on The Wendy Williams Show, so check your local listings.
    • Sheryl Lee Ralph (Fam/Instant Mom/Moesha/It's a Living) - Sheryl appears on The Real, so check your local listings.
    • Patricia Heaton (Carol's Second Act/The Middle/Back to You/Everybody Loves Raymond) - Patricia talks about Your Second Act on Rachael Ray, so check your local listings.
    • Ron Howard (The Andy Griffith Show/Happy Days/Arrested Development) - Ron talks about Hillbilly Elegy on CBS This Morning sometime between 7-9am.
    • Missy Piggy and Kermit the Frog (The Muppets) - Miss Piggy and Kermit the Frog teach the hosts how to do vocal warmups from their appearance this week on The Disney Holiday Singalong on E!'s Daily Pop at 11am.


    New on DVD/Blu-ray (September/October/November/December)

    Young Sheldon - The Complete Third Season Mom - The Complete Seventh Season The Flintstones - The Complete Series (Blu-ray) Head of the Class - The Complete Second Season The Office - The Complete Series (Blu-ray)

    09/01 - It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia - Season 14
    09/01 - What We Do in the Shadows - The Complete Second Season
    09/01 - Young Sheldon - The Complete Third Season (Blu-ray)
    09/15 - Mom - The Complete Seventh Season
    09/15 - South Side - Season 1
    09/22 - Brockmire - The Complete Second Season
    09/22 - Brockmire - The Complete Third Season
    09/22 - Brockmire - The Complete Fourth Season
    09/22 - Man with a Plan - Season Three
    09/29 - The Bob Newhart Show - The Complete Series (2020 Release)
    10/13 - The Jetsons - The Complete Series (Diamond Collection)
    10/13 - Our Cartoon President - Season Two
    10/23 - Some Mothers Do 'Ave 'Em - The Complete Collection
    10/27 - The Flintstones - The Complete Series (Blu-ray)
    10/27 - Head of the Class - The Complete Second Season (WBShop.com)
    11/10 - Letterkenny - Seasons 5 & 6
    11/10 - The Office - The Complete Series (Blu-ray)
    11/10 - Schitt's Creek - The Complete Collection
    11/17 - Carol's Second Act - The Complete Series
    11/17 - Robbie - Season 1
    11/24 - Corporate - Season 1
    12/01 - The Neighborhood - Season Two
    12/15 - Avenue 5 - The Complete First Season

    More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest


    Recent SitcomsOnline.com News Blog Posts

    12/01 - Pluto TV Launches The Price Is Right: The Bob Barker Era Channel; A Very Merry MeTV Every Sunday on MeTV
    11/30 - SNL Hosts for December Announced; JEOPARDY! Announces Final Week of Alex Trebek Episodes Then Ken Jennings Guest Host Week
    11/29 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of November 30, 2020)
    11/28 - SitcomsOnline Digest: One Day at a Time Comes to an End (Again); SNL Lines Up December Hosts
    11/27 - Young Sheldon Starts on Nick at Nite on Monday; Pluto TV Adds 6 More Classic TV Channels
    11/26 - 2020 Thanksgiving TV Marathons on TV This Holiday Weekend
    11/25 - HBO Max Comedy Search Party Brings Out the Guest Stars; CW Seed Reunites CW 90210 Series
    11/24 - Catch Last Season's Holiday Sitcom The Moodys Before Season 2; Tiffani Thiessen Hosting Deliciousness, Spin-off of Ridiculousness
    11/23 - ABC Announces Midseason 2021 Scripted Premieres; NBC Announces January and February 2021 Schedule
    11/22 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of November 23, 2020)
    11/21 - SitcomsOnline Digest: NBC Sets Premiere Date for Mr. Mayor; New Version of Name That Tune in the Works at Fox
    11/20 - Fri-Yay: Thoughts on Fresh Prince Reunion on HBO Max; Nick at Nite Renews Friends in Multi-Year Deal
    11/19 - PBS to Air A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving and Christmas; Cybill Shepherd Gets Showtime Comedy Pilot
    11/18 - Hulu Orders Second Season of Woke; HBO Max Gets Conan Variety Series, While Conan Ends on TBS in June 2021
    11/17 - COZI TV Thanksgiving and Christmas Marathons; Stream 65 Full Episodes of The Carol Burnett Show Unedited
    11/16 - Antenna TV Holiday 2020 Stunts and Marathons; The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air Reunion Premieres This Thursday!
    11/15 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of November 16, 2020)
    11/14 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Fresh Prince of Bel-Air Reunion Preview Released; Peacock Launches Saved by the Bell Channel
    11/13 - Fri-Yay: Any Hope Left for Broadcast Sitcom Ratings?; BET Presents CBS Monday Series Tonight; BUZZR Remembers Alex Trebek Tomorrow
    11/12 - CBS Orders New Chuck Lorre Comedy to Series; MeTV and Game Show Network to Remember Alex Trebek
    11/11 - Fox Announces Winter Premiere Dates for New and Returning Series; ABC Announces Early 2021 Unscripted Premiere Dates
    11/10 - ABC Orders Celebrity Wheel of Fortune; Turner Networks Celebrate Thanksgiving to the HBO Max
    11/09 - Remembering Alex Trebek; Decades Changes Schedule in December with The Odd Couple and The Love Boat Added
    11/08 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of November 9, 2020)
    11/07 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Jeopardy GOATS to Return in New Version of The Chase; Holly Robinson Peete Joins American Housewife Cast
    11/06 - Fri-Yay: Superstore Tackles the Pandemic in a Smart, Funny Way; Family Ties Cast to Reunite
    11/05 - Dave Chappelle Returns to SNL for Post Election Episode; Remembering Writer Jeremy Stevens of Everybody Loves Raymond
    11/04 - Showtime's Moonbase 8 Gets Early Release Online; Lark Voorhies to Appear on Peacock's Saved by the Bell
    11/03 - NBC Pulls Connecting... From Lineup; Fox Says The Great North to Air in February
    11/02 - Freeform's 25 Days of Christmas Schedule for 2020; HBO Max Licenses Comedy Central Library in Streaming Deal
    11/01 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of November 2, 2020)