Cast: Bobby Moynihan ("Saturday Night Live"), John Larroquette ("Night Court," "The Librarians"), Jack Dylan Grazer ("It," "Tales of Halloween"), Jaleel White ("Family Matters"), Brian Unger ("It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia"), Sharon Lawrence ("NYPD Blue," "Desperate Housewives), Kelen Coleman ("The Office," "The Newsroom")
Airs: The season premiere airs on CBS at 8:30 p.m. Monday.
The premise: This comedy focuses on the defining moments in Alex Riley's life over three periods: as a 14-year-old in 1991, at age 40 in the present, and at age 65 in 2042. Helping Alex along the way is his loving daughter, his thoughtful step-dad and his best friend/business partner.
Highs: Of all the TV pilots this fall, none resonated more for me than this one. Plot lines from each period of Alex's life are purposeful and provide a comprehensive look at a fascinating character you won't see in most sitcoms. In many ways, "Me, Myself and I" reminds me of "The Wonder Years," if viewers were able to see Kevin Arnold through phases in his life.
The series starts with an introduction to 14-year-old Alex (Jack Dylan Grazer). He's a Chicago kid who loves Michael Jordan and is being raised by a single mother. His life is turned upside down when his flight attendant mom marries a pilot from Los Angeles and they move to California. Next we meet 40-year-old Alex (Bobby Moynihan), an inventor whose life has fallen apart after he catches his wife cheating on him. Finally, viewers see 65-year-old Alex (John Larroquette), a successful businessman recovering from a near-fatal heart attack.
Alex experiences some of his life's most defining moments in these three periods. What makes all three versions so fun to watch is his personal philosophy: "Our life's stories aren't defined by the things that happen to us, they're defined by how we choose to deal with them."
People of all ages can identify with Alex's problems. The challenges of parenting, the difficulties of fitting in, coping with loss, the heartbreak of divorce, not being able to get out of a rut, and how to find happiness are some serious topics. But "Me, Myself and I" tackles all these with grace and humor.
To be sure, Alex has his faults. He bashes in a car window, doubts himself when he shouldn't, and can act impulsively. That said, he's about as likable as a character can get. You'll want to root for Alex because he's incredibly relatable.
Lows: TV pilots are tricky. Rarely do they feel complete. The premiere of "Me, Myself and I" is that rare exception. From start to finish, the first episode told a complete story that had me invested. It was great. But where does the show go from here? Almost every thread connecting each of Alex's timelines seemed to have been tied together by the end of the episode. Does this series, which starts so strong, have more engaging stories to share? Only time will tell.
Grade: (A-): This series had two strikes against it before I watched the pilot. First, the title seemed gimmicky. Second, I find most CBS sitcoms trite and derivative. But this show is a home run. "Me, Myself and I" is funny yet touching. Easily my favorite new comedy in years, this series might just be the "This is Us" of sitcoms.
Gazette media columnist Terry Terrones is a member of the Television Critics Association and the Broadcast Television Journalists Association. You can follow him on Twitter at @terryterrones.