'One Day at a Time' is the rare family-friendly sitcom that's actually good

20170106_inq_wkzstream06z-a
The Cuban American remake of "One Day at a Time" stars Justina Machado (left) and Rita Moreno.

Old sitcom, new twist

There are few names that portend quality for a television sitcom. Norman Lear is one of them. This time, he's remaking his 1970s hit One Day at a Time, but with a twist. Along with Mike Royce (Everybody Loves Raymond, Men of a Certain Age) and Gloria Calderon Kellett (How I Met Your Mother, Devious Maids), 94-year-old Lear gives One Day at Time an updated twist by featuring a Cuban American family at the center of the show.

Six Feet Under's Justina Machado plays single mom Penelope, a military veteran raising two teens. The great Rita Moreno plays her mother, Lydia, and she remains positively luminous on screen. Schneider is the series holdover, this time played by Todd Grinnell rather than Pat Harrington.

One Day at a Time breathes new life into the multicam sitcom (think of those as the more- traditional shows with laugh tracks or a studio audience, rather than, say, The Office or Parks and Recreation, which are considered singlecam). The performers - especially Moreno, who is skilled at working live - feed off the audience's energy, and vice versa. It doesn't try to get too edgy (looking at you, Netflix's The Ranch), yet feels new all the same. Take the pilot, where Penelope's daughter Elena (Isabelle Gomez) refuses to participate in her quinceañera. It's a universal story of a teen rebelling against the wishes of the parent, just with different parameters.

Sit and watch it with your family, just like the good ol' days of sitcoms.

- M.E.
Where to stream: Netflix.

Like this? Binge these: The Carmichael Show (Xfinity OnDemand) is insightful on race, but also features some expert comedic performers (David Alan Grier and Loretta Devine are fabulous) and a new take on the multicam; go vintage Lear and revisit All in the Family (iTunes).