The Coincidental Critic

Exploring the art of storytelling.

A to Z: Pre-Air Review


One of my favorite things about the season of fall is that all my favorite TV shows return, along with a few new ones.  One show that I am interesting in watching is the new romantic comedy, “A to Z,” on NBC.  Fortunately, the pilot episode is already available for pre-air viewing both online and on demand.  So, I decided to check it out.

“A to Z” brings “(500) Days of Summer” to the small screen.  Boy falls for girl.  Boy is a hopeless romantic while girl is reserved and skeptical about love.  Girl eventually gives in and falls for boy.  We watch boy and girl’s relationship unfold for the duration of the series.  Is “A to Z” original?  No.  But maybe this clichéd concept will work better as a TV show.  We’ll just have to wait and see.

The pilot of “A to Z” was very cute, safe, and clichéd.  It was a little too perfect and over the top.  However, the show was conscious of this, poking fun at itself, not taking itself too seriously.  As long as the characters are aware that their story is super clichéd, it should work out fine.

It was interesting that the writers had the character of Andrew (aka the boy) working at a dating website.  This was something I’d never seen before.  Most of the time, writers write characters who are writers, cops, or lawyers (like Zelda)- more generic job titles.  I loved how Andrew was different.  Not only was he working for a social networking company, which has become a staple in this day and age, he was also working at a company who specializes in uniting people together.  It tied in very well with the concept of the show.  (But again, it was still very similar to “(500) Days of Summer” because in that movie, Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s character worked at a greeting card company, where he would create love cards).

Cristin Milioti performed well in this pilot episode.  Milioti plays Zelda (aka the girl).  She was constantly in character, engaging with her scene partners.  One scene in particular that stuck out to me was when Zelda grabbed her first drink with Andrew.  They were interacting and having a conversation, and Milioti completely stole the scene.  She was very engaging, constantly acting through her movements and mannerisms in reaction to the conversation her character was having.  She made the scene feel very raw and realistic, like I was actually watching someone on a first date.  Great job by Milioti bringing her character to life and making her a unique and specific person.

My only criticism… I have a bit of a pet peeve.  I have always found it odd when people date others who look very similar to themselves.  In the case of “A to Z,” Andrew and Zelda are played by Ben Feldman and Milioti respectively.  Both are white.  Both have dark hair and dark eyes.  And I thought both had similar face shapes.  There was just something about both of their mouths that seemed too alike to me.  So, the whole time I watched this episode, I was just bothered by the fact that these two actors looked so much alike.  I swear they could pass for siblings.  So, I slightly question the casting choice made by the production team.  It’s just a pet peeve of mine, but it did distract me from getting immersed in the story.

I found myself greatly enjoying this show.  Yes, it’s very light and fluffy, but it’s always good to have a feel good show to watch every once in a while.  Also, I’ve never watched a show where the boy got the girl within the first episode.  So, it is different which is exciting.  “A to Z” officially premieres on NBC on Thursday, October 2nd at 9:30/8:30c.

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