My Take on ABC’s ‘A Million Little Things’… Meh

The description for the new ABC drama A Million Little Things is extremely vague. I kid you not, Hulu merely says something like, “A group of friends bond.”

Sounds like kind of a snooze-fest to me.

I might not have even watched the pilot except that, when I looked it up online for more info than the oh-so-helpful Hulu description (Hulu streams many network shows after they first air on broadcast), I thought the show sounded very vaguely like an attempt to be something like This Is Us.

So I gave it a shot.

A big group of friends…

So it centers around these friends, in case you missed that by this point, as they deal with various life circumstances in their late 20s-early 30s. And the title is supposedly a riff on the saying, “Friendship isn’t a big thing – it’s a million little things.”

The thing is though (how many times can we say “thing” here?), maybe I’m alone in this, but I’ve definitely never heard that saying.

There are four guys (who are all Boston Bruins hockey fans and make a big deal about going to games together) and their wives/girlfriends. So essentially, it’s an ensemble show about eight different people and their drama.

And I’ll be honest, it feels a little unwieldy. They’re a little hard to keep track of (at least in the pilot episode that aired last week), and none of them really pulled me in enough that I was immediately rooting for them.

Now there is a suicide, and there are some big, life-and-death stakes here. And yet, the show to me never really felt like it got anywhere near the level of suck-you-in, oh-my-gosh-I’m-crying-here-and-have-to-know-where-this-goes drama that you’d see in something like This Is Us.

The message

What’s kind of odd about it, in a good way (at least on the surface), is that this show does have a definite theme, or a couple, that are good and wholesome. Along the lines of “live your life to the fullest.” But it felt forced.

Perhaps the reason for this was that it was mixed up with the repeatedly stated theme of “everything happens for a reason,” which is great, especially as it hints toward God and His Providence. But the characters legit said it, over and over, in a way that felt a little off-putting.

Other shortcomings

Not to compare it excessively to This Is Us, (but I mean come on, you can’t get around comparing an ensemble drama to it, you just can’t…), but this show definitely didn’t have such a great take on marriage and family life being awesome.

There’s a character here who’s kind of promiscuous, but whatever, what show doesn’t have that? And then there’s another set of characters having an extramarital affair.

And probably worst, there’s one guy who is “trapped” in a “toxic” marriage, and his friends tell him that he should have gotten out long ago, like that this is his “live your life to the fullest” thing that should be done.

So morally, it’s not terrible – no actual sex scenes or anything (just some pre-hookup making out business, and a shot of a couple covered up in bed). But it’s definitely not quite as great as its high and mighty, overtly stated messages seem to be trying for.

Overall

If it were quite entertaining, I’d be able to overlook the moral shortcomings of the pilot and give it at least a few more episodes. But, well, it just wasn’t that entertaining.

Unless I fall into a severe show hole where all my other options go bad, I probably won’t be going back to this one.

A Million Little Things airs Wednesdays at 10 p.m. ET/PT on ABC (and on Hulu). Click here for the official website, which does contain a page on suicide prevention.

Image: Courtesy ABC

Adrienne Thorne is a Catholic mom, blogger and screenwriter.

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