Monday, April 2, 2018

Pilot Review: Alex, Inc.

Alex, Inc. (ABC)
Premiered March 28 at 8:30pm

I saw a promo for this show which touted Zach Braff’s return to television featuring Neil Flynn’s Janitor from “Scrubs” setting him up to slip on a wet floor to dampen his excitement about returning to television, and another one that featured a giant robot simply because Braff wanted to get audiences’ attention. That doesn’t speak all too highly of this show standing on its own, since it’s simply an excuse for Braff to headline a series. Now it turns out that this show is actually based on a real person, Alex Blumberg, a famous podcaster, which makes it slightly more interesting. Braff isn’t the same goofy guy he played on “Scrubs” here; instead, he’s a slightly less goofy dad who works all the time and then decides that he doesn’t want to do it anymore, changing his entire outlook on life and what’s important to him. The most energizing moment of this episode wasn’t the dramatic planeside speech he delivered to secure the investor that he needed, but rather his ability to sell the power of the podcast through energetic storytelling and fun sound effects for his children. That’s where I think this show might succeed, but we didn’t see a whole lot of that throughout the episode. I’m very happy to see Tiya Sircar from “The Good Place” and “Master of None” as Alex’s wife, and I hope the role will be a funny and meaty one for her. I’m less excited by Michael Imperioli’s presence as Alex’s cousin since I think the former “Sopranos” star was better on that show and probably better-suited for the drama there than this part. I’m not sold yet, but like real-life investor Chris Sacca, I’m willing to see where it goes.

How will it work as a series? Hopefully, Alex learned from his wife Rooni’s reaction that he shouldn’t lie to her again, and that he should instead include her on the important and difficult decisions in his life, of which there are sure to be many since he’s on an uphill journey to being able to be sustainable and successful. That should prove entertaining at the very least.
How long will it last? Reviews seem to be on the lower end of mixed, but the ratings for this show were more positive. Wednesday night is big for ABC these days, and so the pressure is high, but with some of its older programming becoming less fresh, I think something like this with an affable star like Braff is likely to do well, especially considering the promotion that it’s getting celebrating his return to the network.

Pilot grade: B

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