From mayors to mutants, your new fall TV and streaming obsessions are right here.
This is Alex Riley.
You’ll forgive a few comparisons between CBS’s new time-jumping sitcom, Me, Myself & I(Monday, 9:30 ET/PT, **½ out of four) and NBC’s time-jumping family drama This Is Us. Both series share a theme that different periods of your life are constantly interacting with each other, that the past never really goes away and the future is inevitable.
Rather than focusing on an “us,” Me follows three versions of a “me,” Alex Riley. The sitcom covers his life at 14 (played by Jack Dylan Grazer), at 40 (played by Bobby Moynihan) and at 65 (played by John Larroquette). All three ages represent important changes in Alex’s life. At 14, his mother remarries and moves him to California from Chicago. At 40, his wife cheats on him and leaves him, while his career simultaneously craters. At 65, he decides to retire after a medical scare.
The three storylines, in the premiere episode at least, dovetail on each other. An invention young Alex made helps inspire his 40-year-old self. A love lost in youth reappears in retirement. By the end of the episode, they’ve all learned something. The series has an optimistic tone that, for now, refrains from being inauthentic. But maintaining that careful balance will be tricky.
Bobby Moynihan: ‘The day you get ‘SNL,’ you start worrying about your exit’
The best part of the series by far is Moynihan. The comedian worked hard in the wings of Saturday Night Live for nine years, and is finally gets the starring turn he deserves. His middle-aged version of Alex is a bit of a sad sack, which isn’t exactly a stretch for the actor, who is familiar with the character type from SNL. But Moynihan, who has an incredibly expressive face, imbues Alex with a winning charm and lovability even when he’s at his lowest.
Grazer, who plays a 14-year-old Alex, is also charming and likable, although he may occasionally be overshadowed by Christopher Paul Richards as Alex’s step-brother Justin, a hammy but inevitably supportive new sibling who livens up his scenes.
The Larroquette version of Alex, surprisingly, that is the weakest, at least in the first episode. It might be the distracting sci-fi trappings of the 2042 world,…