May 11, 2014

NIELSENWAR 2014-15 Trailer Review: NBC’s “A To Z”


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A TO Z:  Thursday 9:30PM on NBC

THE FACTS:  The title refers to Andrew (Ben Feldman) and Zelda (Cristin Milioti), who both work at an online dating company, and who, since this is a rom-com, are of course fated for each other.  The series creator is Ben Queen, whose first series this is, and the nonwriting producers include Rashida Jones and her producing partner Will McCormack.

WHAT’S IT SAYING:  A cute couple that you’ll root for, each with the requisite friend of the same gender.  They’ll face an obstacle each week to their inevitable happily-ever-after.

WHAT’S IT REALLY SAYING:  So How I Met Your Mother-ish that the trailer literally has Andrew telling Zelda that theirs is the kind of love story they’ll tell their children.  So HIMYM-ish that there’s an unseen narrator (Katey Sagel), and the pilot plotline, where conflicting flashbacks make it unclear whether Zelda really was the girl in the silver dress Andrew saw at a concert years ago, might as well be about Ted and Robin–and that’s not even to mention the obvious fact that Milioti just spent a season walking almost identical territory.

THE OUTLOOK:  There’s nothing wrong with being heavily indebted to How I Met Your Mother, which was a terrific show for years (until it wasn’t), and the leads are super-appealing.  But it’s not clear whether the writing is going to be up to sustaining a very obvious premise for an extended period of time.  (The best friends seem pretty generic.)  Also, NBC’s Thursday strategy is going to have it flailing at midseason, since it’s already been announced that The Blacklist is taking the 9PM hour in February.  If A to Z doesn’t establish itself strongly enough by then to move to a different slot, it may not get past M.


About the Author

Mitch Salem
MITCH SALEM has worked on the business side of the entertainment industry for 20 years, as a senior business affairs executive and attorney for such companies as NBC, ABC, USA, Syfy, Bravo, and BermanBraun Productions, and before that, at the NY law firm of Weil, Gotshal & Manges. During all that, he has more or less constantly been going to the movies and watching TV, and writing about both since the 1980s. His film reviews also currently appear on and In addition, he is co-writer of an episode of the television series "Felicity."