HomeTelevisionTV Recap: A to Z, Series Premiere

TV Recap: A to Z, Series Premiere

A to Z

Plot: The series will follow the lives of Andrew (Ben Feldman), an employee at an internet dating site who dreams of meeting the girl of his dreams, and Zelda (Cristin Milioti), a no-nonsense lawyer who was raised by a hippie mother and carries a rebellious streak. By an accidental chance of fate, Zelda meets Andrew to resolve a mismatch dating dispute.

Let’s be honest with ourselves. We all want to watch A to Z. Not because it looks like a great show – the trailer is mediocre at best. But because we all fell in love with Cristin Milioti last year as The Mother on How I Met Your Mother. She’s been in a lot of other things from The Wolf of Wall Street to 30 Rock, and even had a major stint on Broadway two years ago as the original female lead in Once. But despite her brief time on the beloved CBS sitcom, I think she will forever be know as The Mother from How I Met Your Mother. She was undoubtedly the best thing about the final season, and she will forever live on as an an important milestone in just how badly Craig Thomas and Carter Bays screwed up that finale.

Photo Credit: Trae Patton/NBC
Photo Credit: Trae Patton/NBC

And so, we will now all follow this adorable, charisma on toast of a human being to her next show, which looks almost suspiciously similar to How I Met Your Mother. And yes, Cristin Milioti is by far the best part.

It’s easy to tell you what A to Z is about, because the completely unnecessary voiceover, undoubtedly inserted only to mimic the successful model of HIMYM, tells us more than once. Zelda (Milioti) and Andrew (Ben Feldman) will date for 8 months, 3 weeks, and some amount of days I can’t remember. This is the complete story of their relationship, from A to Z. The voice-over also makes a point to describe Zelda as a girl’s girl, and Andrew as a guy’s guy, which was not only completely inevident in their character development, but just weirdly sexist and felt outdated? Like 98% of TV shows and films, A to Z could really benefit from ditching the voice-over. Anyway, Andrew is a hopeless romantic and Zelda is a jilted cynic. So naturally they fall in love, because in film and TV the hopeless romantic always needs a cynic to pine after and fix.

We are also introduced to three supporting characters. The first is Andrew’s boss (Christina Kirk), who runs a dating website and believes that people shouldn’t find love because she makes more money if they continue to use the site. The concept was so over the top and illogical, that it wasn’t even remotely funny. She is the clear villain – too clear. It’s overkill and it just doesn’t work. The other two are Stephie (Lenora Crichlow of the original and superior UK Being Human) and Stu (Henry Zebrowski), the respective best friends of Zelda and Andrew, who coincidentally meet and start dating of their own accord.

Basically, if you haven’t gotten this yet, the entire pilot felt like the most typical, awful plot of a 2000’s romantic comedy condensed into a 20 minute period. Oddly, this was not unenjoyable. It cut out all the annoying bullshit (like the part where they HATE each other for the first 30 minutes. UGH THE WORST.), and it almost felt like a parody of itself. Plus, all of the actors aside from Kirk are very charismatic, and just generally pleasant to watch. Watching this pilot, it’s like you know exactly what’s going to happen next, and it’s already happening. It’s somehow comforting? It wasn’t exactly good, but it certainly wasn’t bad either.

Photo Credit: Trae Patton/NBC
Photo Credit: Trae Patton/NBC

All that being said, this is a bad pilot. Not because it was bad, but because it told me nothing about what the show would actually be like. This is the story of how they meet, but the show is about their relationship. And in the kooky magical world of condensed romcom, we were not shown the beginnings of a real relationship at all. We were shown a fairytale outline of fluffy proclaims of destiny and big, romantic gestures. I sincerely doubt this is how the ins and outs of their relationship is going to continue. If it is, you can count me out because the substance of the show will completely amount to nothing. Plus, in the makings of their romantic beginnings there was hardly a joke in sight.

I can’t tell what this show will be like at all. I have this weird hope that it will get better, because, well, it’s Cristin Milioti. I’ll definitely stick around for the first three episodes or so. Here’s hoping in the future we get more of the com and less of the rom.

Rating: 5.5 out of 10.

Marla Pachter is a comedic writer, obsessed with all things television. She doesn’t discriminate against TV shows, which either results in pleasant surprise or an eviscerating review for your reading pleasure. Marla loves Parks and Recreation and Brooklyn Nine Nine, and she will probably be watching new seasons of Grey’s Anatomy until she’s 90. Sometimes she writes TV shows herself, but they don’t air on television. She also likes big butts and she cannot lie. (That was a lie). @MarlaPachter



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