Review: ‘A to Z’ – Pilot

Review: ‘A to Z’ – Pilot

The fall season of television is about to start and some networks are releasing their pilots early to generate buzz. ABC did it with Selfie, and now NBC has done it with A to Z, starring Ben Feldman and Cristin Milioti. So how’s the pilot? It’s charming, even if it at times evokes Milioti’s previous show, How I Met Your Mother. There’s a narrator, a mystery, a guy believing in destiny and love at first sight. The show tells the story of the timed relationship between Andrew and Zelda. The narrator (Katey Sagal) offers an omniscient view, saying they will date for 8 months and change, and each episode will narrate a phase in their relationship. The pilot, for example, is titled “A is for Acquaintances”. Take a guess how the title for episode 2 starts. The show leans heavily on the romance, as it should as it is its strong suit. It particularly follows well how modern dating works. Facebook, Twitter, texts, everything. Even better, you can actually see it’s Facebook and Twitter, not a fake “Facenotebook” or something shows sometime use. Sorry, it’s a pet peeve of mine. The comedy doesn’t fare well at this point, though. Both leads have the obligatory best friend, and both friends seem annoying at this point. There’s also a Back to the Future joke that’s played way to far; the joke requires the trust of the audience, and it hasn’t earned it yet. But the leads have chemistry, and with the weak crop of shows this fall, I can see myself following this show once it premieres October 2 on...
‘How I Met Your Mother’ and disappointing endings

‘How I Met Your Mother’ and disappointing endings

Writing television is hard. I guess. I’ve never done it. The How I Met Your Mother finale aired on March 31, 2014, almost five months ago. I watched it on the floor lounge of my residence hall with a crapload of candy. Oh, I’m not kidding:   But here’s a more accurate representation of my initial thoughts: an abridged version of my Twitter timeline that day. [View the story “HIMYM livetweet” on Storify] I’m with Todd on this one. I don’t know why people ask for “five year plans” with shows. Is it (depending on the show) that the creator know where it’s going? Yeah. Should that be set in stone? Hell no. In this case, the Thomas and Bays decided let footage shot ten years ago dictate the ending. It didn’t matter, to them, what the show might’ve become. So here’s what bothered me the most about the HIMYM finale: Knowing the ending, they did THIS?!: Okay, fine. They were set to have Robin and Ted end together, disregarding the character development of the last few seasons, and their very-real reasons for breaking up way back in Season 2 (the show’s best season). Then why write an episode explicitly about Ted letting Robin go, complete with Robin floating away like a balloon? Why let Ted struggle with that decision the whole season (and maybe even bfore then), then solve it, and then bring it back in the last 3 minutes of the entire show? Removing Robin’s agency: Not only do Barney and Robin break up because Barney can’t handle that she, a journalist, travels. Something he already knew. And yet, they break up...