Romantic comedy fans rejoice…NBC’s new half hour comedy A to Z is a refreshing romcom that’s smartly written and features two charismatic leads who have real chemistry on screen. Sure, A to Z‘s not a reinvention of the wheel but it is surprisingly sweet without being sappy. And, yes, some of the supporting characters seem to have plucked straight from the “How to Put Together a Romantic Comedy” manual. But A to Z is saved from its generic shortcomings by a talented cast and a setup that’s reminiscent of Marc Webb’s brilliant indie romcom, (500) Days of Summer.
Episode one introduces viewers to Ben Feldman (Mad Men) as Andrew (the ‘A’ in the title) and Cristin Milioti (How I Met Your Mother) as Zelda (the ‘Z’), two singles on the opposite sides of the ‘looking for a date’ scale. Andrew’s a romantic guy who works for an online dating service. He actually believes in love at first and in the idea there is one special person out there. Milioti is a lawyer who’s into her career, cynical when it comes to the opposite sex, and who couldn’t care less about becoming involved in a relationship.
In a voice-over by Sons of Anarchy‘s Katey Sagal (who, by the way, has gone full-blown crazy in that show’s final season), we learn that A to Z will tell the story of Andrew and Zelda’s eight month, three weeks, five days, and one hour of dating. The series, which will follow their relationship from A (the first episode is titled “A is for Acquaintances”) to Z (maybe they’ll break up or get engaged at the zoo?), set up a backstory that had Andrew and Zelda within five feet of each other on 19 different occasions. Andrew even spotted her at a show wearing a shimmering silver dress and was instantly enchanted, but it took a random visit to the dating service’s office by Zelda for them to actually meet. Once they did, Zelda tried to resist Andrew’s charms and Andrew just laid it all on the line, admitting how attracted he is to this intelligent beauty who’s devoted to her work. Right away we’re rooting for Andrew to break through Zelda’s defenses, and obviously he does or we wouldn’t have the whole eight months of dating countdown that’s driving season one.
A to Z is more sweet than it is laugh out loud funny, and there’s a chance that after two or three episodes the idea of counting down the eight months of this dating relationship will wear thin. However, Feldman and Milioti are so adorable together that it’s possible the audience will be so engaged in watching them develop this relationship that they’ll forgive/be willing to overlook the stereotypical supporting characters and commit to hanging in there to see how A to Z‘s first season plays out.
-By Rebecca Murray
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