THE SERIES “Alex, Inc.”
WHEN | WHERE Premieres Wednesday at 8:30 p.m. on ABC/7
WHAT IT’S ABOUT He wants to run an inspired business. He wants to be a great dad. He wants to change the world. And he wants to please his mother-in-law. He’s “Alex, Inc.” — a busy situation comedy for a busy world.
Set in New York (because where else is busier?), this single-camera sprint reunites star Zach Braff with creator and “Scrubs” producer Matt Tarses, and throws in “The Sopranos” nephew Michael Imperioli for a little urban edge. He’s a second cousin doing sales for the podcast company Braff is trying to launch with a young public radio colleague who’s crushing on him (Hillary Anne Matthews). While Braff mediates their spats, his public defender wife (Tiya Sircar) takes on more duty with their magic-obsessed son (Elisha Henig) and adorable younger daughter (Audyssie James).
Surprisingly, the kids are a big part of the mix, because they’re a big part of Alex’s world. He wants to hit their school performances at the same time he wants to raise venture capital at the same time he wants to celebrate India’s spring holiday Holi by throwing colored powders for his judgmental mother-in-law (Anjali Bhimani).
MY SAY Exhausted yet? It’s a ton to take in, and if Alex is having trouble keeping up, imagine the show’s poor viewers, left panting as the pilot peaks with the family van crashing through a security gate at Teterboro Airport. (Don’t ask.)
Fresh things are supposed to be happening here, in a show based on a podcast, Alex Blumberg’s autobiographical “StartUp” (Not to be confused with the Crackle streaming drama “StartUp” with Martin Freeman and Adam Brody.). But that newness gets thwarted by same-old sitcom scripting, full of adults’ childish bickering and laden with “irony” setups. If narrator Alex proclaims, “I was doing a decent job of hiding my feelings,” expect an emotional outburst. “I think that went pretty well” of course punctuates epic fail. And episodes end with a handy homily of what Alex learned.
The saving grace for the show, as for Alex, becomes his family. Through the first three episodes, they’re a nicely knit group with real chemistry and real concerns vs. the podcasts-for-dummies approach to his workplace. (The group rents space in a reclaimed-warehouse incubator populated with wacko visionaries.)
With ABC airing “Alex” Wednesdays between “The Goldbergs” and “Modern Family,” maybe the personal side will downplay the professional. Or maybe Alex incorporates himself into something else entirely, if this startup, like so many, goes belly up.
BOTTOM LINE Cyber business, family business, funny business — even “Scrubs” fave Zach Braff can’t have it all.