Aziz Ansari's latest TV project "Master of None" premieres on Netflix at 3:01 am (EST) on Friday, 6 November. Ansari's Dev is an actor living in New York, swimming through his mundane life, juggling dating, commitment, finding a job and dealing with his family. The show has a very autobiographical element to it, and features Ansari's own parents as Dev's parents.
We were very impressed with "Master of None", but felt it only apt to round-up the opinion of a few other critics, so you can make an educated decision on watching the show.
"Master of None" is not like much else on TV, but it's closest in spirit to Louis C K's humanistic "Louie", with its filmic look, rewardingly meandering storytelling and empathy for a broad range of other lives. Ansari's show is less experimental, and his outlook more upbeat. But watching it recalls the thrill, in the first season of "Louie", of seeing an already funny comic find a new gear and new depth.
Master of None is not the first show to take a keen-eyed, anthropological lens on the world of dating in New York (Sex and the City, anyone?). But Ansari's perspective is fresh, his characters are totally lovable, and he's got tons of source material to draw from. Freed from charts, graphs, footnotes, and quotation marks, all that research is really paying off.
Master of None is a funny, heartfelt, very enjoyable series that refreshingly takes more than a few unexpected dramatic turns. Yes, the art of turning a comedian's stage shtick into a sitcom is old hat at this point. And there aren't very many new ways to go about it. Louis C K and Jerry Seinfeld have probably cornered the market when it comes to the two "opposite end of the spectrum" ways to tackle this transition. But Ansari, who manages to contain a very significant and specific comedic voice, proves that there's still plenty of room in the middle to do it well.
In Master of None, Ansari is basically a less successful version of himself, but he's not a stand-up comic: He isn't trying to explore his entertainer gene, and the show is better off for it. Yes, Dev is a struggling actor who attends auditions and has a small part in a B-list action movie, but those facts are mostly used as jumping-off points for other stories. This is no showbiz satire, and Ansari plays the straight man rather than the wacky supporting roles he's often handed.