Primetime TV Review: Ordinary Joe

TV Review!

“Ordinary Joe” Review on by Eva 9/24/2021

I decided to watch Ordinary Joe because it sounded interesting… but when I watched the show, I found it to be confusing.

The show centers around Joe Kimbreau (James Wolk), who graduates from college and has a choice to make of what to do with the rest of his graduation day. Joe’s first option ]is to ask Amy (Natalie Martinez), whom he just met, on a date. Joe’s second choice is to go with his girlfriend, Jenny (Elizabeth Lail), to the beach for a talk.聽 His third choice for the day is to go to dinner with his family. The show then follows Joe’s three possible choices or timelines. If he goes with Amy on a date, he becomes a famous musician, marries her and they try to have a child; if he goes with Jenny, he becomes a nurse with a disabled son and an unhappy marriage. If Joe chooses dinner with his family, he becomes a cop who is single but still wonders what happened to Amy and Jenny.

This show is a bit confusing because it switches randomly from Joe’s three parallel lives, and you have to really pay attention to understand what Joe is doing and which life he is living. I really like James Wolk as Joe – he makes the best of what he is given and gives the audience a reason to root for Joe, hoping that he will solve his problems.

I think this show needs to work on being a little less confusing… maybe if they dealt with one of Joe’s lives in each episode, instead of all three lives in the same episode, it would work better. I think the show will do okay because it comes after “The Voice” on Monday nights. I will keep watching it to see if it improves, but for now I will give it 3 out of 5 stars.

Read Our Interview with Wolk



9/20/21 – ???

currently airing (fall 2021)TIME SLOT:
mondays from 10:00 PM-11:00 PM ESTCURRENT SEASON:

(from NBC’s web site, September 2021) Life is all about the choices you make – and sometimes, what you do in a single moment can change everything. This new heartfelt, life-affirming drama follows Joe Kimbreau, who faces one of these decisions at his college graduation. The three parallel stories that diverge from that night find Joe and the people around him with different careers, relationships and family lives, showing the unexpected ways that things change – and stay the same. But when it comes down to it, there is no “right” choice; no matter what happens, Joe’s life is always messy, exciting, tough, unpredictable… and beautiful.

路聽Charlie Barnett聽as Eric Payne
路聽Elizabeth Lail
路聽James Wolk聽as Joe Kimbrough
路聽Natalie Martinez聽as Amy

路聽Adam Davidson聽as EP/DIR (Pilot)
路聽Adam Kassan聽as EP
路聽Garrett Lerner聽as CRTR/EP
路聽Howard Klein聽as EP
路聽Matt Reeves聽as EP
路聽Rafi Crohn聽as EP
路聽Russel Friend聽as CRTR/EP

路 drama

路 20th Century Fox Television
路 3 Arts Entertainment
路 6th & Idaho
路 Universal Television

Proofread and Edited by Brenda

The opinions in these articles are those of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of TVMEG.COM or its other volunteers.

Back to the Main Reviews Page

Interview with the cast of “Ordinary Joe” on NBC

TV Interview!

cast of "Ordinary Joe" on NBC

Interview with actors James Wolk, Elizabeth Lail, Natalie Martinez, Charlie Barnett and executive producers Garrett Lerner and Russell Friend of “Ordinary Joe” on NBC by Suzanne 9/13/21

This was a wonderful TV Critics Association panel for a fun new show. I admit that I’m a fan of lead actor James Wolk. He’s been great in so many shows, such as “Mad Men,” “Watchmen,” and “Zoo.” He’s more than just a pretty face. I know, that’s a terribly sexist thing to say. This is a beautiful cast, though. It was nice to meet his co-stars as well. Everyone there obviously has high hopes for this show, so I hope it succeeds.

The show focuses on Wolk’s character, Joe, and the three choices he has in life after college. If he goes to meet his girlfriend, Jenny (Lail), then he ends up with her. If he meets up with this other woman he just met, Amy (Martinez), then he ends up with her. If he goes out with his family, then he has a different path.聽 We see him on all three paths, how his life turns out, depending on which road he takes. Seeing the first two episodes was interesting. I want to see how they’ll carry this over a whole season. There is Nurse Joe, Cop Joe and Rock Star Joe. Personally, the last one is my favorite.

Because this was a TCA panel and not a regular interview, I was only able to ask one question, and I’m not allowed to share the transcript or recording with you. It was very enjoyable, though.

When I asked my question, which was about singing, Wolk immediately started singing a Billy Joel song to me (swoon!), so that was charming. In the show, when Joe is young, he’s graduating as a music major. He wants to be a rock star – the next Billy Joel. That struck me as a bit odd, given his age.

In the interview, I asked, “Jim, were you a fan of Billy Joel before this show, and had you been singing his songs for fun, or anything like that? You seem a little young to be a Billy Joel fan, to be honest (laughs).” He replied that the mom of an old friend of his used to listen to his albums, and he enjoys singing his music, but he did admit that he’s not as big of a fan of his music as his character, Joe, is. Charlie Barnett (who plays his best friend, Eric) objected to my question and said that “There’s no age limit to good music.”聽 Well, that’s true, but most people, I don’t think, are quite so much into real oldies that they didn’t grow up with as they are their own teenage or childhood music. Now, I don’t know when Joe was born, but Wolk was born in 1985, which was after the bulk of Billy Joel’s hits, so it would be pretty odd for him to aspire to be like him. It would be as if I aspired to be the next Connie Francis or Brenda Lee. I’m sure most people reading this barely know who those women are. The guys who wrote the show are probably a lot older, so Billy Joel was their music more than Wolk’s. He does have a lovely singing voice, though, and he sang “Piano Man” very well in one of the episodes (I was a music major, just like the character, Joe).

Wolk graciously told us all that the other cast members present there are also really good singers, so he hinted that they may have an all-singing episode one day. Everyone seemed to like that idea.

Check out the series and let me know which Joe is your favorite!

Joe's three paths after graduation

Here’s another review of the show that gives you a lot of information. I agree with a lot of it…however, I don’t think it’s nearly as bland as this reviewer thinks it is. A large part of it rests on how much you like James Wolk and the other actors.


Life is all about the choices you make 鈥 and sometimes what you do in a single moment can change everything. This new heartfelt, life-affirming drama follows Joe Kimbreau, who faces one of these decisions at his college graduation. The three parallel stories that diverge from that night find Joe and the people around him with different careers, relationships and family lives, showing the unexpected ways that things change 鈥 and stay the same. But when it comes down to it, there is no 鈥渞ight鈥 choice; no matter what happens, Joe鈥檚 life is always messy, exciting, tough, unpredictable 鈥 and beautiful.

The cast includes James Wolk,鈥疦atalie Martinez,鈥疎lizabeth Lail and鈥疌harlie Barnett.

Russel Friend and Garrett Lerner will write and executive produce along with executive producers Matt Reeves, Adam Kassan, Rafi Crohn, Howard Klein. Adam Davidson will direct and executive produce the pilot episode.

鈥淥rdinary Joe鈥 is produced by 20th Television, Universal Television, a division of Universal Studio Group, 6th & Idaho, 3 Arts.

breaking news | March 31, 2021

鈥⒙犅 聽NBC has ordered the drama 鈥淥rdinary Joe鈥 to series.

鈥⒙犅 聽W/EP: Russel Friend, Garrett Lerner

鈥⒙犅 聽NW/EP: Matt Reeves, Adam Kassan, Rafi Crohn, Howard Klein

鈥⒙犅 聽D/EP (pilot only): Adam Davidson

鈥⒙犅 聽鈥淚 still remember when Matt Reeves shared this passion project back when I worked at Twentieth. Russel and Garrett wrote such a compelling and emotional script that was expertly executed from page to screen,鈥 said Lisa Katz, President, Scripted Content, Entertainment and Streaming. 鈥淲e love how 鈥極rdinary Joe鈥 lets us experience the universal question of 鈥榳hat if鈥 through an incredible cast of characters and engaging storylines.鈥

鈥⒙犅 聽Cast: James Wolk, Natalie Martinez, Charlie Barnett, Elizabeth Lail

鈥⒙犅 聽Logline: Explores the three parallel lives of the show鈥檚 main character after he makes a pivotal choice at a crossroads in his life. The series asks the question of how different life might look if you made your decision based on love, loyalty or passion.

鈥⒙犅 聽Produced by: 20th Television, Universal Television (a division of Universal Studio Group), 6th & Idaho, 3 Arts


Joe Kimbreau, 鈥淥rdinary Joe鈥

James Wolk stars as Joe Kimbreau in the new NBC drama 鈥淥rdinary Joe.鈥

Wolk was recently be seen on the HBO series 鈥淲atchmen,鈥 written by Damon Lindoff, based off the comic book series. He also co-stars on the CBS All Access series 鈥淭ell Me a Story,鈥 created and produced by Kevin Williamson, which was renewed for a second season. 聽It takes the world鈥檚 most beloved fairy tales and reimagines them as a dark and twisted psychological thriller. He also recurred on season two of Amazon鈥檚 legal drama series 鈥淕oliath,鈥 created by David E. Kelley and Jonathan Shapiro, and starring opposite Billy Bob Thornton.

Wolk is also known for his starring role on the CBS summer series, 鈥淶oo,鈥 which ran for three seasons. 聽Based on the bestselling novel of the same name by acclaimed writer James Patterson, 鈥淶oo鈥 centers on Jackson Oz (James Wolk) 鈥 a young American zoologist, who begins to notice the strange behavior of the animals, leading to a wave of violent animal-on-human attacks across the globe.

In 2010, Wolk nabbed the lead role in the critically acclaimed but short-lived Fox series, 鈥淟one Star鈥 and co-starred on the the Golden Globe-nominated USA miniseries 鈥淧olitical Animals.鈥 Wolk also notably recurred on the award-winning and critically acclaimed AMC series 鈥淢ad Men鈥 and starred opposite Robin Williams and Sarah Michelle Gellar in the CBS comedy 鈥淭he Crazy Ones.鈥 Other television credits include 鈥淏illions,鈥 鈥淗appy Endings,鈥 and 鈥淪hameless.鈥

Wolk, a native of Farmington Hills, Mich., and 2007 graduate of the University of Michigan drama school, began his career in the CBS/ Hallmark Hall of Fame special 鈥淔ront of the Class.鈥

Wolk also appeared on stage in the Tony Award-nominated production 鈥淣ext Fall,鈥 written by Geoffrey Nauffts and directed by Sheryl Kaller, for its West Coast debut at the Geffen Playhouse.

On the big screen, Wolk made his film debut in Disney鈥檚 鈥淵ou Again.鈥 His film credits include 鈥淔or a Good Time Call,鈥 鈥淭here鈥檚 Always Woodstock鈥 and 鈥淭he Is Happening.鈥 Wolk notably co-starred in the 2015 critically acclaimed film 鈥淭he Stanford Prison Experiment,鈥 which premiered at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival and was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize.

Wolk resides in Los Angeles.


Eric Payne, 鈥淥rdinary Joe鈥

Charlie Barnett stars as Eric Payne, the best friend of Joe Kimbreau, in the new NBC drama 鈥淥rdinary Joe.鈥

Barnett is familiar to NBC audiences, starring for three seasons as Peter Mills on 鈥淐hicago Fire.鈥 聽Born in Sarasota, Fla., Barnett began performing at a young age, participating in local opera and musical theater productions before graduating from the Juilliard School.

Barnett鈥檚 TV career began with guest star roles on 鈥淟aw & Order: SVU鈥 and 鈥淟aw & Order: Criminal Intent鈥 before landing his first series regular role on 鈥淐hicago Fire.鈥 He then joined the second season of 鈥淪ecrets and Lies鈥 followed by a series regular role on the CW military drama 鈥淰alor.鈥

In 2019, Barnett starred alongside Natasha Lyonne in the Emmy Award-nominated Netflix series 鈥淩ussian Doll.鈥

Other notable TV credits include a series regular role on Armistead Maupin鈥檚 鈥淭ales of the City鈥 as well as guest starring roles on 鈥淵ou,鈥 鈥淪pecial,鈥 鈥淥range Is the New Black鈥 and 鈥淎rrow.鈥 He debuted on the big screen alongside Will Smith and Josh Brolin in 鈥淢en and Black 3.鈥

Offscreen, Barnett is an avid history buff, enjoys cooking, volunteering, hosting friends and family, horseback riding, sailing, and almost anything involving nature.


Jenny Banks, 鈥淥rdinary Joe鈥

Elizabeth Lail plays Jenny Banks on the new NBC drama 鈥淥rdinary Joe.鈥

Lail, who also can be currently seen in HBO Max鈥檚 reboot of 鈥淕ossip Girl,鈥 is best known for her breakout role as Guinevere Beck in the addicting drama 鈥淵ou,鈥 opposite Penn Badgley. The series premiered on Lifetime in 2018 and quickly became a big hit when it moved over to Netflix.

Lail鈥檚 other film and television credits include 鈥淐ountdown,鈥 鈥淰ideosyncrasy鈥 and ABC鈥檚 鈥淥nce Upon a Time.鈥 She made her theater debut in Ken Urban鈥檚 Off Broadway play, 鈥淣ibbler鈥 directed by Ben Kamine.

Lail is a BFA graduate from the University of North Carolina School of the Arts.


Amy Kindelan, 鈥淥rdinary Joe鈥

Natalie Martinez plays Amy Kindelan on the new NBC drama 鈥淥rdinary Joe.鈥

Martinez, who will be seen in Warner Bros.鈥 鈥淩eminiscence鈥 with Hugh Jackman and Rebecca Ferguson, appeared in Quibi鈥檚 2020 action thriller 鈥淭he Fugitive.鈥 In that same year, she also co-starred in CBS All Access鈥 鈥淭he Stand鈥 and previous to that appeared in the Netflix sci-fi series 鈥淭he I-Land.鈥 Additional TV credits include 鈥淭he Crossing,鈥 鈥淎PB,鈥 鈥淒etroit 1-8-7,鈥 鈥淯nder the Dome,鈥 鈥淪ecrets & Lies,鈥 鈥淜ingdom.鈥

On the film side, Martinez鈥檚 credits include 鈥淢essage from the King,鈥 鈥淜eep Watching,鈥 鈥淪elf/less,鈥 鈥淏roken City鈥 and 鈥淓nd of Watch.鈥

Martinez first gained recognition after being hand-picked by Jennifer Lopez to become the spokesmodel for her fashion line, JLO by Jennifer Lopez. From there, she went on to star in several music videos, and the telenovelas 鈥淔ashion House鈥 and 鈥淪aints & Sinners.鈥

Originally from Miami, Martinez currently resides in Los Angeles.

Garrett Lerner and Russel Friend

Executive Producers, 鈥淥rdinary Joe鈥

Garrett Lerner and Russel Friend executive produce the new NBC drama 鈥淥rdinary Joe.鈥

Previously, they were executive producers on 鈥淗ouse M.D.,鈥 where they were nominated for four Emmys Awards and won the WGA Award for Outstanding Episodic Drama. Other writing credits include 鈥淕lee,鈥 鈥淗ome Before Dark,鈥 “Altered Carbon,鈥 鈥淩oswell,鈥 鈥淩ise鈥 and “Boston Public.鈥

Lerner and Friend graduated from the USC Peter Stark Program in 1995.

Proofread and Edited by Brenda

Back to the Primetime Articles and Interviews Page

"Ordinary Joe" premieres 9/20 on NBC