December 27, 2019  (Web Review)

The Kominsky Method: The Complete First Season

Warner, 207 min., not rated, DVD: $19.99, Blu-ray: $21.99

Reviewer rating: 3.0/4

Netflix once again plays to an older audience with this sitcom starring Michael Douglas as veteran Los Angeles acting coach Sandy Kominsky and Alan Arkin as his agent and best friend Norman. Sandy runs an acting school with his daughter Mindy (Sarah Baker), while also making attempts to get back into the acting business, and he begins dating one of his students, a middle-aged divorcĂ©e (Nancy Travis) who is both much younger than he is and yet decades older than most of his recent girlfriends. Much of the show revolves around issues of aging (Sandy struggles with prostate problems), which is played for gentle humor, as well as facing the deaths of friends and loved ones (Norman’s wife passes away in the first episode), adding a melancholy dimension to the comedy. It’s a showcase for stars Douglas (in his first major TV series role since The Streets of San Francisco) and Arkin, who have tremendous chemistry and were nominated for Emmy, Golden Globe (Douglas won), and Screen Actor Guild awards for their performances. Lisa Edelstein has a recurring role as Norman’s daughter, a train-wreck with a long history of drug addiction, and Danny DeVito (an old friend and frequent collaborator with Douglas), guest stars as Sandy’s urologist. Sitcom legend Chuck Lorre (Two and a Half Men, The Big Bang Theory) created this funny, clever, and understated show for Netflix and he writes or co-writes each episode with the wit and snap of his hit comedies, but played in a lower key. Compiling all eight episodes from the 2018 debut season, this is recommended. (S. Axmaker)