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‘A Million Little Things’ add up to one of fall TV’s best new series

September 13, 2018

Pictured are David Guintoli, James Roday and Romany Malco. They say friendship isn't one big thing, it's a million little things; and that's true for a group of friends from Boston who bonded under unexpected circumstances. Some have achieved success, others are struggling in their careers and relationships, but all of them feel stuck in life. After one of them dies unexpectedly, it's just the wake-up call the others need to finally start living. Along the way, they discover that friends may be the one thing to save them from themselves.

When I first heard the premise of ABC’s new fall show “A Million Little Things” — a group of friends realizes they haven’t really been living after one of them unexpectedly dies — I immediately thought we were in for an overly sappy drama.

And though there is plenty of sap in the show’s premiere, there is also plenty of good story, a solid ensemble cast and just the right amount of mystery and romance, making “Things” the best new broadcast network drama of the fall TV season.

“Things” centers on a group of four men who became friends after being trapped together in an elevator and subsequently bonded over their love of the Boston Bruins. Eddie (David Giuntoli) is a music teacher and stay-at-home dad, who’s looking for an exit from his loveless marriage. Jon (Ron Livingston) is a successful real estate broker with a seemingly perfect life. Rome (Romany Malco) is a successful commercial director struggling with the disappointment of not becoming a true filmmaker. Gary (James Roday) is a breast cancer survivor who lives in fear that his cancer will eventually return.

Everything changes for the group when Jon shockingly takes his own life. And as Eddie, Rome, and Gary try to figure out what led to Jon’s decision, the friends realize they actually knew very little about each other’s lives and start to share in a way they never have before.

Meanwhile, secrets begin to come out that may ultimately prove there was much more to Jon’s death than anyone realizes.

The pilot starts out pretty somber as the impact of Jon’s death hits the group and we see each friend — as well as their significant others — navigating his memorial service. But then the hour does something unexpected by opening the door to a mystery surrounding Jon’s death.

And then, just when you think you’ve got the show figured out, it throws in a doozy of a twist you won’t see coming that promises intriguing story for many more weeks to come.

But no matter how good the story is, a show like this doesn’t work without an outstanding cast and “Things” certainly has that, led by the excellent work of Roday, one of my favorite actors, who shows he can handle drama just as well as he can handle comedy. Christina Ochoa is also a standout as Jon’s slightly mysterious secretary, Ashley, who was the last to see him alive.

The show’s title comes from Jon telling his friends, “Friendship isn’t one big thing, it’s a million little things.” The same can be said about a successful TV series.

Fortunately for ABC, these “Million Little Things” add up to one of fall’s best.

“A Million Little Things” premieres at 10 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 26 on ABC.

Next week, it’s my biggest column of the year as I name this fall’s five best new broadcast network shows. No surprise “Things” is on that list. But is it number one? Stay tuned.

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