Apparently Cristin Milioti decided to follow up her barnstorming appearance in the final season of How I Met Your Mother by co-starring in another high-concept sitcom with a predestined romance, featuring heavy voice-over narration!
According to the omniscient Katey Sagal, A to Z will chronicle the opposites-attract relationship of sentimental dating-site staffer ‘Andrew’ (Ben Feldman) and cynical pro-bono lawyer ‘Zelda’ (Milioti), from their very first meet-cute to the moment (eight months, three weeks, five days, and one hour later) that their dating life ceases, for better or worse. Do they split-up? Do they get married? Does one of them contract an unspecified illness and die off-camera? Just wait and see! In theory the ticking clock could be a huge plus, ensuring that the show never gets too flabby or spins its wheels for too many episodes… but in practice, HIMYM has proven that once a show becomes successful, its writers can find all sorts of shameless ways to string a timeline out, in order to keep their cash cow alive and milkin’.
Overall, I thought the pilot was pretty amusing… though most of the big laughs were provided by Christina Kirk as Andrew’s mercenary boss ‘Lydia’, rather than the main couple. I didn’t find the pivotal scene where the leads realise that they’re fated to be together as moving as it was clearly intended to be (with all the slow-motion and such), but Milioti has a magnetic screen presence which serves her well as the inspirer of love-at-first-sight here. Meanwhile, Lenora Crichlow will have a hard road ahead of her trying to make BFF/flatmate ‘Stephie’ more than a quirky one-joke annoyance (as will Henry Zebrowski, as Andrew’s equally irritating bestie ‘Stu’), but I was glad to read that Hong Chau had been promoted to a “series regular”, playing Andrew’s geeky co-worker ‘Lora’. She and fellow techy Parvesh Cheena had a good dynamic, and I look forward to seeing more of them in future episodes.
[Note: The show doesn’t premiere for realsies until October 2nd, but the pilot is currently available to view online via the official website… and other less reputable sources…]