Pilot: “A to Z”

The pilot episode. The first one you encounter for any new series that debuts. The majority debut in a crowded field during the Fall of each year, and some make it, while others, only wish they could’ve been mildly decent.

For me, I get excited about the Fall season because I get my favorite shows back and occasionally a new show, or five or seven, to try out. Some I choose just to see how terrible they really are. Others, because they’re actually good or have the potential to be. With NBC’s newest comedy “A to Z”, I’m intrigued enough to create a new running series. The title says it all.

And while it may be even more random than the others I write about, I get to still share my thoughts on a new series based on now having seen the pilot episode.

This NBC romantic comedy was lucky enough to have a very early digital release courtesy of iHeart Radio and the peacock network partnering up for this.

This comedy series stars Cristin Milioti (“How I Met Your Mother”, “The Brass Teapot”), Ben Feldman (“Mad Men”, “Drop Dead Diva”), Henry Zebrowski (“Your Pretty Face is Going to Hell”, “The Wolf of Wall Street”), Lenora Crichlow (“Back in the Game”, “Being Human (UK)”) and narrated by Katey Segal (“Sons of Anarchy”, “Futurama”).

The series was created by Ben Queen (“Cars 2”, “Drive”).

The series premier is Oct. 2.

It works. It’s cute and funny. I can see wanting to like and follow these two. The chemistry from the two actors appears pretty solid. I’m not having to force myself to believe there may be a small something between them.

The characters are lovable goofs. Okay, Feldman’s character is. Milioti’s is a no nonsense lawyer, but she’s very soft around the edges, so waiting for her to warm up and be human isn’t something that will need to be done. Even though these two are somewhat opposites, it’s the quirks they have that make them interesting.

The comedy was okay. I didn’t feel like I was watching a lot of the usual stuff. There certainly was a nice shortage, barely there, of physical comedy. It was purely dialogue and character driven. A hard combination to pull off.

No laugh track. Half the time they’re just annoying. The other half of the time, I’m wondering if I even found that joke funny or was somehow provoked because of the laugh track.

The only thing I think that will get annoying is Feldman’s obligatory sidekick best friend. After about 10 minutes I was done with him. By the end of the episode, I was annoyed. Sure he provides some funny moments, but I think it’s the character alone that will bug me. Will he serve a purpose?

I don’t mind Segal as a narrator, as I quite like her and she’s got a nice enough voice to want to listen to, but how are they really going to utilize this storytelling approach. It seems almost necessary. Was it purely to try and capitalize on the annoying success that Bob Saget had for “How I Met Your Mother” and that voice over work? I hope not.

This first episode was by no means perfect, but I see it having potential to grow and be something worth sticking with. Now I regret watching this so early. October is still a long way off. Crap.

Anyway, I’m more interested in how the timeline will work as this is supposed to be a short relationship. How will the writers deal with that? Will they approach it like that of the show “Lost”? It seems like it will fly in the face of being able to be called “A to Z” without being a laughable and regrettable title, like “New Girl”. Seriously, at what point does she stop being the new girl? Are they going to retitle it “Old Girls”?

The preview trailer released during upfronts last May:


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