Darren Star has been telling tales about people thrown out of their comfort zone masked as rom-coms for years, and Uncoupled follows the same framework as prior hits like Younger and Emily in Paris.
The new comedy, premiering Friday, July 29 on Netflix, has an excellent cast and some funny one-liners, but it is very predictable.
Neil Patrick Harris plays Michael, a Manhattanite whose world implodes when his boyfriend of 17 years moves out of their apartment, determined for a new start that doesn’t involve him.
It’s tricky subject matter to handle, but Michael’s journey is infused with humor and awkward moments as he tries to get over the breakup and return to the dating scene as a 40-year-old with no idea how much it’s changed.
On Younger, Liza is a fish out of water as she plays a forty-something trying to pass as a twenty-something. On Emily in Paris, Emily is thrown into a very different way of life in Paris.
Michael’s personality gets him into many awkward situations across the eight-episode freshman season. You can tell Neil Patrick Harris is excited about taking on a different role than he has in the past.
He constantly questions himself about whether his actions are correct. Frankly, it’s an excellent way to help viewers connect with a character who is being fleshed out as the series progresses.
The series deserves major props for the characterization. Darren Star knows how to create worlds filled with nuanced individuals, and it’s the same story here.
Brooks Ashmanskas and Emerson Brooks are on board as Michael’s best friends, Stanley and Billy.
You can tell they’ve been close-knit friends for years, but they couldn’t be more different. Stanley is looking for love, but he’s having a hard time, and Billy seems to have a new love interest every other scene.
Some of the most comical scenes, however, stem from the bond of these three men as they navigate the highs and lows of life in New York City.
Tisha Campell plays Suzanne, Michael’s co-worker, and she’s a real breath of fresh air. Campell has perfect comedy timing, and Suzanne’s arc is one of the most enjoyable throughout the series.
Marcia Gay Harden is Claire, the Diana Trout, and Sylvie of this story. After watching Harden on high-stakes dramas like How to Get Away With Murder and Code Black, it’s nice to have her on a more lighthearted series.
There is a lot to like about Uncoupled, but it might be too similar to Star’s other works to thrill much of the audience.
Rom-coms are also well-known for their cliches and predictable nature, which Uncoupled doesn’t try too hard to avoid.
The show is an easy binge as an eight-part series, and the episodes clock in at less than 30 minutes.
It strikes me as the type of series that will get better with age, and after watching all of the episodes, I do want to watch a second season.
Check out the official trailer below.
Will you watch the series when it launches?
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Paul Dailly is the Associate Editor for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.