THE SHOW "A to Z"
WHEN|WHERE Thursday night at 9:30 on NBC/4
WHAT IT'S ABOUT Andrew Lofland (Ben Feldman, "Mad Men") works at an online dating company, Wallflower. Zelda Vasco (Cristin Milioti, "How I Met Your Mother") is a trial lawyer who works in a building across the street. He's looking for a soul mate, she's not -- although she did try out Wallflower's app, which flopped, and now she wants her money back. That's how Zelda meets Andrew and his pal Stu (Henry Zebrowski). "A to Z" follows A/Z's relationship over "eight months, three weeks, five days and one hour."
MY SAY He's from Venus, she's from Mars. He's a Cancer, she's a Capricorn. He's a romantic, she's a pragmatist. Together, they evoke that moment when Harry met Sally, or Tom met Summer in "500 Days of Summer" -- which "A to Z" reflects so directly that it could almost be called an adaptation. This isn't, but at least you now have a convenient handle on this opposites-attract romcom with a genial heart and glowing smile. (Or maybe that's just Milioti's smile.)
While "500 Days" was set in a minor key, all the notes here are bright and upbeat. Andrew and Zelda may (or may not) be together at the end of the eight months, but the process of getting there shouldn't be a slog. And like "How I Met Your Mother," "A to Z" is a comedy procedural that will twist and turn according to the dictates of a random universe, yet will still end up in some preordained place. As with "HIMYM," guessing where that will be could be part of the fun -- or frustration, if "A to Z" loses control of the story. Thursday's opener is so sharply executed, however, that doesn't look to be much of a concern.
BOTTOM LINE Excellent cast, funny pilot. What's not to like?