Life in Pieces (Season 1) (2015)

Like “Modern Family” without the extra fat, “Life in Pieces” is the type of show that grabs you from the first few moments and doesn’t let go. Thanks to terrific ensemble acting, it brings to life four sets of family members who love each other but also acknowledge each other’s faults without judgement. It’s a neat trick to pull off, and it results in an easygoing tone that’s perfectly pleasant, even when it veers into the dramatic. The show’s episodic nature is perfectly tailored for this kind of show, and it manages to establish and fortify the dynamics among the characters impressively quickly. Among the terrific cast, there are a number of standouts: Colin Hanks brings a mannered, madcap energy as a new father, while Zoe-Lister Jones masters the art of deadpan delivery and Dan Bakkedahl anchors the show thanks to an impressive comedic range. He’s the show’s MVP from the first few episodes, and the way he manages to turn even throwaway lines into hilarious centerpieces is truly remarkable.

Rating: ★★★★ (out of 5)

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