Me, Myself and I

Review: Me, Myself and I 1×1 (US: CBS)

In the US: Mondays, CBS, 9.30/8.30c

As we saw yesterday with The Brave, normally it’s NBC that tries to emulate CBS. However, if there’s one thing that NBC has excelled at for years, it’s schmalzy drama, and with This Is Us riding so high in the ratings and critics’ heart (would there it weren’t so schmalzy, because then I’d be able to tune in for Alex Breckenridge), let’s not be too surprised that CBS has decided to copy NBC this time by producing Me, Myself and I, featuring a cast mostly nicked from NBC shows.

It’s CBS, of course, so there are a few changes.

Firstly, it’s all centred on one white male. Again no surprise.

Secondly, it’s billed as a comedy. Except it’s actually not that funny. Again – CBS, so no surprise there either.

Lastly, and what is genuinely surprising, is that it’s really not half bad as a piece of schmalzy drama. I even felt a little emotional at times.

As the show’s title vaguely alludes, My, Myself and I is set in three times in one man’s life. We get to meet ‘Alex Riley’ as a teenager (Jack Dylan Grazer) in 1994, just as he’s moved to Los Angeles with his mum (Mandell Maughan), her new husband (Brian Unger) and his step-brother (Christopher Paul Richards). He’s worried at going to a new school, but he’s an optimistic kid who loves science – and a girl he meets at the bus stop actually seems to be into him (Reylynn Caster).

We also meet him now in 2017 (played by Bobby Moynihan now) as a struggling inventor, shortly after he’s split from his cheating wife (Alison Tolman) and raising his eight-year-old daughter from inside his friend/business partner’s (Jaleel White) garage. He obviously has a few more regrets and seems to have lost that inventing mojo he had as a kid. But he’s still got the future ahead of him.

Finally, we meet Riley in a futuristic 2042 (now played by John Larroquette) as he’s about to retire, having become a hugely successful industrialist, but unsure what to do with his life. He’s full of regrets, although his grown up daughter (Kelen Coleman) ain’t one. But then he bumps into a friend from long ago (spoiler: that girl at the bus stop, now played by Sharon Lawrence) and begins to imagine new possibilities.

As you might expect from such a situation, all three narratives interlink as he we learn what happened to the kid to make the man, both positively and negatively; what helps the older man to get his mojo back; and what the old man who seemingly has everything would really rather have. Characters who are important later on pass through the backgrounds of scenes from earlier in Riley’s life without getting mentioned, but of course we realise their importance all the same.

Nice. It’s just nice

And for a CBS comedy, it’s surprisingly nice. Yes, it’s actually nice. Characters aren’t constantly hating and mocking one another. Cringe comedy is kept to a minimum. People you expect to be douches aren’t. There’s kindness and love. Work goes into giving supporting characters their own lives and cares. And dare I say it – you actually like the people involved.

The fact Me Myself and I is billed as a comedy is problematic. The fact it naturally revolves around one man is a little tedious. But if you found This Is Us unbearable or too 70s but liked the idea of a temporally riven drama that’s full of humanity and charm and that’s partially set in the 90s and the future – or even if you fancy a 90s-set Wonder Years – then Me Myself and I could be right up your street.


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What have you been watching? Including Strange Empire, Coverband, Electra, The Flash and Doctor Who

It’s “What have you been watching?”, my chance to tell you what movies and TV I’ve been watching recently that I haven’t already reviewed and your chance to recommend things to everyone else (and me) in case I’ve missed them.

The usual “TMINE recommends” page features links to reviews of all the shows I’ve ever recommended, and there’s also the Reviews A-Z, for when you want to check more or less anything I’ve reviewed ever. And if you want to know when any of these shows are on in your area, there’s Locate TV – they’ll even email you a weekly schedule.

You may have noticed I was playing epic catch-up on Saturday, in contravention of my normal rule of weekend blogging. So on top of Friday’s all out efforts and a couple of extra ones today, I’ve reviewed the following new shows, some of which have already been acquired for Blighty’s viewing pleasure:

Yay, me. No back log now. Time to have regular weekends again. Phew.

In fact, so ahead of myself am I that I’ll point out that ages ago, I reviewed NBC’s Constantine, which starts on Friday. Okay, it’s changed a bit since the pilot but you’ll get the general point.

But I’ve not stopped there. Oh no. Because I’ve also watched a New Zealand and a Canadian show just for luck. Okay, I was a bit behind on all of them, so I’ve only seen the first episode of each, but honestly, that felt like enough.

Strange Empire (Canada: CBC)
Set in the 1860s on the Alberta-Montana border, this sees three women (Cara Gee, Tattiawna Jones and Melissa Farman from Lost) band together for survival after virtually all the men in their town are murdered and those remaining behind battle for power. Very nicely made and already being described as the saviour of CBC, it’s historically interesting but about as tedious as any other western, and none of the characters really grabbed me.

Coverband (New Zealand: TV One)
A one-hit wonder band reunite back in New Zealand years after they were famous. Unfortunately, the female lead singer was the one who was a success, leaving the terminally unsexy rest of the band to make it by themselves, something at which they fail miserably. Now having to deal with the pressures of normal lives and forced to do cover versions of other bands’ records, they suck completely until they stagecrashed by Laughton Kora, who shows them what rock charisma and singing really are, so they hire him. Kind of.

It’s an amiable and accurate enough show, based on cast member Johnny Barker’s own experiences as an Auckland cover band musician, and were there enough time in the world, I’d probably tune in for a few more episodes. But the show’s not so inspiring that I’ll throw something else aside for it and I’ve already seen The Wedding Band crash and burn, so I don’t think I need to see that happen again.

Unfortunately, New Zealand doesn’t want to produce any globally available videos of its own shows, apparently, so here’s a picture of the cast to tide you over.


That’s it for new new shows, but after the jump, I’ll be running through: Arrow, black-ish, The Blacklist, Doctor Who, The Flash, Forever, Gotham, Homeland, Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD, Plebs, Scorpion, Selfie and The Walking Dead.

But hey! Before you go, I should mention I went to the theatre, too!

Electra (Old Vic)
Kristin Scott Thomas as Electra, a new translation of Sophocles’ original text by Greek tragedy stalwart Frank McGuinness, music by PJ Harvey – what could go wrong? Well, not much actually, beyond a certain staticness to the direction, a slightly weak performance by Jack Lowden as Orestes and a very strange performance by Tyrone Huggins as Aegisthus. Other than that, a fine piece of work, surprisingly faithfully staged (although that’s not quite how Greek people prayed), with an outstanding performance by Thomas and a surprisingly funny text by McGuinness – in part to cover up for casting slightly older than originally written, but also to hide the unlikelihood of Electra not recognising Orestes. Liz White (Life on Mars) gives the best performance I’ve ever seen from her as Chrysothemis, Electra’s sister.  

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