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

    Friday, September 18

    none scheduled

    Complete TV Listings


    Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of September 14)

    Friday, September 18

    • David Spade (Rules of Engagement/8 Simple Rules/Just Shoot Me!) - David guest hosts a repeat of Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
    • Dan Levy (Schitt's Creek) - Dan appears on a repeat of Jimmy Kimmel Live! at 11:35pm on ABC.
    • John Cleese (Wednesday 9:30 (8:30 Central)) - John will be on a repeat of Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
    • Glenn Howerton (A.P. Bio/It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia/The Mindy Project/That '80s Show) - Glenn is a guest on a repeat of Late Night with Seth Meyers at 12:36am on NBC.
    • Bryan Cranston (Malcolm in the Middle) - Bryan appears on a repeat of The Late Late Show with James Corden at 12:37am on CBS.
    • Kristen Bell (The Good Place) - Kristen will be on a repeat of The Talk on CBS at 2pm ET/1pm CT-PT.
    • Sean Hayes (Will & Grace/The Millers/Sean Saves the World) - Sean is a guest on a repeat of The Ellen DeGeneres Show, so check your local listings.
    • Tiffany Haddish (The Last O.G./The Carmichael Show) - Tiffany appears on repeats of The Wendy Williams Show and The Real, so check your local listings.
    • Tracee Ellis Ross (black-ish/Girlfriends) and Olivia Munn (Perfect Couples) - The Kelly Clarkson Show has the most uplifting moments featuring Tracee and Olivia, so check your local listings.
    • Gabourey Sidibe (Difficult People/The Big C) and Kiersey Clemons (Angie Tribeca/Transparent) - Gabourey and Kiersey talk about Antebellum on ABC's Good Morning America sometime between 7-9am.
    • Jason Schwartzman (Bored to Death) - Jason talks about Fargo on Access Daily, so check your local listings.


    New on DVD/Blu-ray (June/July/August/September)

    Head of the Class - The Complete First Season Modern Family - The Eleventh and Final Season Brooklyn Nine-Nine - Season Seven Will & Grace - The Revival -Season Three - The Farewell Season Young Sheldon - The Complete Third Season

    06/02 - Work in Progress - Season 1
    06/09 - Head of the Class - The Complete First Season (WBShop.com)
    06/09 - How to Be a Gentleman - The Complete Series
    06/09 - Letterkenny - Seasons 3 & 4
    06/09 - Modern Family - The Eleventh and Final Season
    06/09 - No Activity - Season 1
    06/09 - Superior Donuts - Season Two
    06/23 - Bob's Burgers - The Complete 10th Season
    06/23 - Fresh Off the Boat - The Complete Sixth and Final Season
    06/23 - Last Man Standing - The Complete Seventh Season
    06/23 - South Park - The Complete Twenty-Third Season (Blu-ray)
    06/30 - Brooklyn Nine-Nine - Season Seven
    07/07 - Will & Grace - The Revival - Season Three - The Farewell Season
    07/21 - Curb Your Enthusiasm - The Complete Tenth Season
    07/21 - The Thundermans - Season 1 / Season 2 / Season 3 / Season 4
    07/21 - The Unicorn - Season One
    07/28 - The Thundermans - Season 1-4 Bundle
    08/04 - Last Man Standing - The Complete Eighth Season
    08/04 - The Neighborhood - Season One
    08/11 - Awkwafina Is Nora from Queens - Season 1
    08/11 - Final Space - The First and Second Seasons (Blu-ray)
    09/01 - Young Sheldon - The Complete Third Season (Blu-ray)
    09/29 - The Bob Newhart Show - The Complete Series (2020 Release)

    More TV DVD Releases / DVD Reviews Archive / SitcomsOnline Digest


    Recent SitcomsOnline.com News Blog Posts

    09/18 - Fri-Yay: Viewers Discovering Cobra Kai Now on Netflix; ABC Announces Fall 2020 Drama Premiere Dates
    09/17 - ABC Officially Orders Katey Sagal Series, Cancels Stumptown; SNL Goes Live All October
    09/16 - CBS All Access to Rebrand as Paramount+ in 2021; Fox Says Let's Be Real About Election
    09/15 - Netflix Announces Good Times Animated Comedy; More Details on Fresh Prince Reunion on HBO Max
    09/14 - Disney+ Orders Doogie Kameāloha, M.D.; TBS Version of Wipeout Announces Hosts
    09/13 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of September 14, 2020)
    09/12 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Fresh Prince Reunion Brings Unexpected Pair Back Together; Doogie Howser Reboot Officially Picked Up
    09/11 - Fri-Yay: Sister, Sister Soars on Netflix; ABC Comedies Returning October 21 for New Seasons
    09/10 - TBS Celebrates American Dad! 300th Episode with Special Night; NBC Alters Schedule Due to Possible NHL Stanley Cup Finals
    09/09 - COZI TV's The Lone Ranger The Masked Man Marathon; Peacock Gets Fresh Prince Dramatic Series
    09/08 - TNT Salutes 15th Anniversary of Supernatural; Alyssa Milano Says Own the Vote 2020 in Webinar Series
    09/07 - TV Marathons on Labor Day 2020
    09/06 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of September 7, 2020)
    09/05 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Mom Set for New Season Without Star; Chelsea Handler Sells Half Hour Comedies to Peacock and HBO Max
    09/04 - Fri-Yay: Fall Network TV Schedule Is Scarce on Sitcoms; Laff's How I Met Your Mother Labor Day Weekend Launch Marathon
    09/03 - Freeform's 31 Nights of Halloween 2020 Schedule; Dancing with the Stars Season 29 Cast
    09/02 - black-ish Returns with Special Episodes on Election; Shout! Factory TV and Pluto TV Launches The Carol Burnett Show Channel
    09/01 - HBO Max Slates The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air Reunion Special; Ayo Edebiri Replaces Jenny Slate as Missy on Big Mouth
    08/31 - Home Improvement Tool Time Reunion on History Series; Bunk'd Adds to Cast
    08/30 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of August 31, 2020)
    08/29 - SitcomsOnline Digest: CBS Series to Begin Production; Fox Eyeing X-Files as Animated Comedy
    08/28 - Fri-Yay: Another Sitcom Lookback - Cheers; ABC and NBC Alter Fall 2020 Schedules
    08/27 - Nick at Nite Acquires Young Sheldon for November 2020; CBS and Fox Alter Fall 2020 Lineup
    08/26 - MeTV Fall 2020 Schedule; REELZ Announces Lucille Ball: We Love Lucy Special
    08/25 - Has America Jumped the Shark? Hollywood TV Writers Join Forces for Special; Kelly Clarkson Show Premieres Season 2 on Sept. 21
    08/24 - Showtime Picks Up Comedy Series with Big Stars; Three Comedians Get Comedy Specials on HBO Max
    08/23 - Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows; This Week in Sitcoms (Week of August 24, 2020)
    08/22 - SitcomsOnline Digest: Comedy Central Cancels Tosh.0 Despite Four Season Renewal; Saved by the Bell Pop Up Experience Arrives in Social Distancing Era
    08/21 - Fri-Yay: The Lasting Impact of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air; BET Sets Premiere Date for Tyler Perry's House of Payne and Assisted Living
    08/20 - Apple TV+ Comedy Ted Lasso Scores 2nd Season; Lilly Singh Goes Primetime; 15 Years of the SitcomsOnline Blog
    08/19 - ABC Sets Sept. 14 Premiere for Dancing with the Stars with Tyra Banks; A.P. Bio Gets Podcast on Peacock As Well
    08/18 - The CW Fall 2020 Premiere Dates; grown-ish All Nighter-ish Marathon