How good was “Parks and Recreation” during its seven seasons on NBC (2009-15)? Just look at how successful its cast -- Amy Poehler, Chris Pratt, Nick Offerman -- has become as a result of it.
The latest is comedian Aziz Ansari, who played the big dreamer Tom Haverford on the series. Ansari has starred in standup comedy specials, written best-selling books, and now has his own very, very funny series on Netflix.
“Master of None” debuted on Nov. 6 and it’s as good, if not better, than the “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt,” the Netflix comedy which garnered a bunch of Emmy Award nominations.
Ansari co-created “Master” with Alan Yang. In it, Ansari plays a 32-year-old out-of-work actor, Dev Shah, who’s attempting to navigate life in New York City. The road is usually uphill and extremely long for him.
It connects because, well, it’s right on target with its humor. This isn’t tell-a-joke-and-wait-for-the-canned-laughter kind of fare. “Master” puts its characters in real situations and lets the laughs generate from it.
The first episode, for instance, sees Dev and his friend Arnold (Eric Warheim) attend the birthday party of another friend’s child. Dev believes his life may not be complete without children in it. Or is it?
The second episode deals with the disconnect between parents and children, with some touching moments interspersed with the comedy.
There are times when the dialogue is rough and doesn’t flow quite right, but not enough to overshadow the humor. Ansari has a gem of a show here. Grade: A-
Across the remote
* Netflix also has made its new drama series from the Marvel catalog, “Jessica Jones,” available, with all the episodes dropping Friday. It stars Krysten Ritter (“Breaking Bad,” “Don’t Trust the B---- in Apartment 23”) as a retired superhero who opens her own detective agency. As the tagline says, she’s more interested in paying her rent than saving the world. I’ll have more on it next week.
* The honor goes to … ABC’s “Wicked City.” The 1980s-set and barely watched crime drama is the first new show to get the ax. No surprise. Erika Christensen was the only thing it had going for it.
* Jon Bokenkamp, the “Blacklist” creator from Nebraska, and his crew will have some interesting decisions to make. Star Megan Boone, who plays FBI agent Elizabeth Keen, is pregnant, which, of course, will affect her appearance before production ends. No word yet if Boone’s pregnancy will be written into the script.
* Kurt Sutter, “Sons of Anarchy” creator, took the announcement of FX canceling his new project, “The Bastard Executioner,” in stride. “The audience has spoken and, unfortunately, the word is ‘meh,’” he wrote in series of ads in the Hollywood trades. Funny, but right on. I gave up on “Bastard” after the series premiere.
* I kind of thought “The Soup” would make it to 25, but E! announced it’s canceling the pop culture clip show after 22 seasons. The finale will air at 9 p.m. Dec. 18. The show helped launched the careers of such notables as Greg Kinnear, Aisha Tyler, and, more recently, Joel McHale.
* I wondered what would become of Bailey Chase after his exit from “Longmire.” The actor, who played Branch Connally on the crime drama, has landed recurring roles on NBC’s “Grimm” and Showtime’s upcoming reboot of “Twin Peaks.”