NBC’s “A to Z,” or how we fell in love with Cristin Milioti

A to Z Ryan Berenz

A to Z

NBC
Premieres: Oct. 2
Airs: Thursdays at 9:30pm ET/PT
Who’s In It? Ben Feldman, Cristin Milioti, Henry Zebrowski, Lenora Crichlow, Christina Kirk
Fall TV Shows 2014: A to Z

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Andrew (Feldman) and Zelda (Milioti) date for eight months, three weeks, five days and one hour. “This television program is the comprehensive account of their relationship from A to Z,” says the narrator (Katey Sagal), setting up the show’s framework.

Romantic Andrew works for an online dating company that’s more interested in keeping its customers single, desperate and paying for its service. He believes in fate, destiny and the idea of “The One” woman he’s meant to be with. Zelda is a pragmatic lawyer who likes the control and order the legal system offers, and she’s not into the romance thing at all. A bug in the dating service’s algorithm creates a reason for Andrew and Zelda to meet, but Andrew senses that he knows her from somewhere. Turns out, they have been within 5 feet of each other on 19 different occasions without noticing each other. Andrew thinks Zelda might be the woman in the silver dress he was instantly smitten with once at a concert. With help from his wisecracking bearded best friend Stu (Zebrowski), Andrew tries to determine if it was indeed Zelda.

“This will be the best alphabetical relationship comedy ever,” executive producer Will McCormack jokes, but he’s not far from the truth. “There’s 26 episodes in a season,” says creator Ben Queen. “Some episodes are going to cover more than one letter, but what I thought was cool about the idea is that you can sort of comprehensively look at an aspect of a relationship from beginning to end.” What happens when the show gets to Z or the clock runs out on Andrew and Zelda’s eight months of dating will be the show’s great mystery.

“I think that’s what makes it such a great show,” Milioti says. “The saying that opposites attract. It’s really, really quite true, and I think there’s great space for humor there to see how they let each other into each others’ lives.”

The themes, structure and ’90s sitcom star narrator will force immediate comparisons to How I Met Your Mother, not to mention that Milioti portrayed the titular Mother in that series.

Whereas Milioti entered long-established HIMYM at the tail end, starring in a show being built from the ground up is a little more challenging. “The food is not as good,” she jokes. “I was so warmly welcomed to How I Met Your Mother, that it felt like I had been there much longer than I actually was. … I came into a well-oiled machine.”

Milioti doesn’t mind if “The Mother” label sticks. “It’s not strange,” she says. “It was such an incredible experience. It’s an honor to be known as ‘The Mother.’”

Photo: A to Z: © 2014 NBCUniversal Media, LLC. Credit: Trae Patton/NBC

About Ryan Berenz 2026 Articles
Devotee of Star Wars. Builder of LEGO. Observer of televised sports. Member of the Television Critics Association. Graduate of the University of Wisconsin. Connoisseur of beer. Consumer of cheese. Father of two. Husband of one. Scourge of the Alaskan Bush People. Font of Simpsons knowledge. Son of a Stonecutter.