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Courting Alex

TITLE: COURTING ALEX - CBS MID-SEASON 2006


Info:

Premiere Date: Monday, January 23, 2006 (Touchstone Television, in association with Paramount Network Television)
Network: CBS
Time: Mondays at 9:30 p.m. et/pt
Cast: Starring Jenna Elfman, Dabney Coleman, Hugh Bonneville, Josh Randall, Jillian Bach, and Josh Stamberg.


Introduction:

Courting Alex stars Jenna Elfman ("Dharma & Greg") in a comedy about Alex (Elfman), an attractive, single attorney, who has everything life has to offer... except a life. Alex works alongside her father, Bill (Dabney Coleman, "The Guardian"), at his law firm, and while he is very proud of her, it pains him that his daughter is not married yet. If Bill had his way, Alex would settle down with her colleague, Stephen (Josh Stamberg, "A Lot Like Love"), a star lawyer at their firm who is obviously smitten with Alex. Julian (Hugh Bonneville, "Doctor Zhivago"), Alex's charming British neighbor, who makes his living as an artist, and Molly (Jillian Bach, "Two Guys, a Girl and a Pizza Place"), her loyal and brutally honest assistant, are the two people she chooses to lean on for advice. However, no amount of advice could prepare her for the unexpected feelings she's having for Scott, (Josh Randall, "Ed") an impressive, Renaissance man, who she recently met while trying to negotiate a deal involving his tavern. If Alex can put down her cell phone for long enough, her successes in love just might catch up to an already successful career.

Premieres Monday, January 23rd, at 9:30 PM ET/PT on the CBS Television Network.


Cast Details:

Courting Alex stars Golden Globe Award winner and Emmy Award nominee Jenna Elfman as Alex Rose, Emmy Award and Golden Globe Award winner Dabney Coleman as Bill Rose, Hugh Bonneville as Julian, Josh Randall as Scott Larson, Jillian Bach as Molly, and Josh Stamberg as Stephen.

Jenna Elfman won a Golden Globe Award and three Emmy Award nominations for her role as Dharma in the hit series "Dharma and Greg." Her other sitcom appearances include "Two and a Half Men," "Almost Perfect," "Roseanne," and "Townies." Dabney Coleman won an Emmy Award and was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for his role in the television movie "Sworn to Silence," and is a Golden Globe Award winner and Emmy Award nominee for the series "The Slap Maxwell Story." His other sitcom series include "Drexell's Class," "Madman of the People," and "Buffalo Bill," for which he earned a Golden Globe nomination and two Emmy Award nominations. Hugh Bonneville's feature film credits include "Iris," "Notting Hill" and "Mansfield Park." Josh Randall is perhaps best known for his role as Dr. Mike Burton in the television series "Ed." His other sitcom appearances include "Joey" and "Scrubs." Jillian Bach's television series credits include a lead role in "Two Guys, a Girl and a Pizza Place" and guest appearances on "Yes, Dear" and "Still Standing." Josh Stamberg's television credits include a recurring role in "Over There" and guest-starring roles in "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation," "CSI: Miami," "Grey's Anatomy," "Monk," "Six Feet Under" and "Law & Order."


Pilot Plot:

"A Tale of Two Kisses"
Alex tries to convince Scott, a free-spirited tavern owner, to sell his building, but he repeatedly refuses the offer while earnestly attempting to woo the secretly smitten Alex.

Written by Rob Hanning
Directed by Pamela Fryman

The pilot starts with Alex on a date with Jonathan. We see that Alex is a work-a-holic by her taking a phone call and working during the dinner. Alex talks to her British neighbor, Julian, about the date at her apartment. Later, Alex talks to her dad at the law firm. They go to Larson's Tavern, which they are trying to buy, where she meets the owner, Scott. They have an unconventional business dinner, and Alex does something spontaneous. Alex goes out on a date with her co-worker, Stephen, a few days later and experiences the same spontaneous moment. Who will Alex choose at the end of the episode? Tune in to find out!


Analysis:

This looks like it could become a big hit for CBS. CBS has built their Monday night lineup with four solid sitcoms, and now it has a fifth one. There is lots of potential here. The pilot has good acting and flashes of snappy dialogue. Jenna Elfman has shown her comedic talent before on "Dharma & Greg." There is a strong supporting cast here, also. I liked every character in the pilot, which is rare for me. They are all funny and easy to like. After watching Buffalo Bill on DVD last year, I was wondering if/when we would see Dabney Coleman on a sitcom again. He has the funniest lines in the pilot and really knows how to play a grumpy character. There is a song played at the end of the pilot that really fits the scene well.


Conclusion:

Jenna Elfman has got it all! She's tall, beautiful, smart, and has a great gift for comedy. CBS has not a female-led sitcom in awhile it seems. You almost have to go back to "The Nanny" for one that had any real success. This series has a great timeslot to premiere in between "Two and a Half Men" and "CSI: Miami." It will be interesting to see where they go from the pilot in future storylines. A total of 13 episodes were ordered. The cast is strong, and the writing is excellent. It is great to see Dabney Coleman in another sitcom. A lot of his sitcoms were loved by the critics but short-lived, so I hope this one will have a much longer run. Excecutive Producer Rob Manning has compared the series to "The Mary Tyler Moore Show." I can see a few similarities. Alex Rose is a strong, independent, career woman like Mary Richards. Bill Rose is the grumpy and overbearing boss, much like Lou Grant. Will Jenna Elfman turn the world on with her smile? Tune in to CBS on Monday, January 23rd, to find out!


Final Numbers (out of 5 stars):

Watchability: 4.5/5
Funniness: 4.5/5
Overall: 4.5/5

-- Reviewed by Todd Fuller on 01/20/2006.

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