Netflix has finally released the first real look at Master of None, its new series from comedian Aziz Ansari and writer Alan Yang (Parks and Recreation), which is set to drop in just a few weeks, on November 6.
Ansari plays Dev, an actor in New York City who is also trying to navigate a fulfilling love life — which might not include his girlfriend (Noël Wells) after all. It's pretty basic as far as premises go, but the trailer feels like the natural extension of Ansari's recent standup specials (Buried Alive and Live at Madison Square Garden, both of which premiered on Netflix), as well as his best-selling book on modern-day dating (Modern Romance, co-written with sociologist Eric Klinenberg).
In these works, Ansari demonstrated something beyond mere curiosity in whatever the kids are doing these days on their computer phones. He seems to have a real burning need to understand why people act and love the way they do.
For his Madison Square Garden special, Ansari collected stories from smaller standup gigs across the country; the resulting material for Madison Square Garden was incisive, illuminating, and hysterical. He found humor in unlikely places, like how horrifying it is that women are frequently followed around by strange men — and how the worst part is that so many have accepted it as a fact of life. Modern Romance built on these themes, delving into the many ways people connect with new technology in a manner that conveyed Ansari's sharp intellect while keeping his comedic voice in tact.
If Master of None follows in those footsteps, it'll be in good shape. It's hard to tell anything from a trailer, though the premise and tone come across as an older Girls with some of Louie's bewildered shrugging. But it's all filtered through Ansari's point of view, which is particular to the comedic sensibilities he honed on Parks and Recreation and in sketch comedy group Human Giant, as well as in his own standup material.
Also, there are very few shows that have ever dealt with the realities of working as a minority actor. ("Ben Kingsley didn't win the Oscar for 'Best Indian Accent.'") And, intriguingly, Ansari cast his own parents as his onscreen parents, indicating that Master of None will indeed be something more personal than we're used to seeing from him, or at least something in which he truly believes.
Corrected to reflect that Ansari's book is called Modern Romance, not Modern Love.