If you get some major déjà vu while watching the premiere of CBS's Life In Pieces this Monday night, there's a good reason for that. The new comedy bears more than a passing resemblance to ABC's popular five-time Emmy-winning sitcom Modern Family. Despite airing on different networks, both shows are produced by 20th Century Fox Television, and the pilots of both were helmed by TV director Jason Winer (New Girl, The Crazy Ones). Plus, both tell the stories of four branches of a large family filled with big personalities. The biggest difference lies in the shows' structures: While Modern Family interweaves its four families in traditional television format, Life In Pieces will tell each family's story separately, back-to-back. ("One Big Family. Four short stories. Every week," the show's promo declares.) Despite this difference, the Life In Pieces cast shares another similarity with Modern Family's cast: They're both stellar.
Modern Family contains everything from beloved sitcom stars (Ed O'Neill) to erstwhile character actors (Ty Burrell, Eric Stonestreet), to previously-unknown breakout stars (Sofía Vergara). Life In Pieces is much the same: In its main cast of eight actors, you can find everything from an Oscar winner, supporting players from popular shows, and relative unknowns. Here's your cheat sheet on who's who in television's newest modern family, so you can be prepared when Life In Pieces debuts this Monday night.
Dianne Wiest — Joan, The Mom
The matriarch of the Short clan is portrayed by two-time Academy Award winner Wiest (Hannah And Her Sisters, Bullets Over Broadway) most famous for her supporting roles in critically-acclaimed films... like 1989's Parenthood, which inspired the dearly departed NBC drama (which also has a lot in common with this new series). But, this isn't Wiest's first time on television. She was a series regular on Law & Order in Seasons 11 and 12, she starred on HBO's In Treatment (which won her an Primetime Emmy Award), and she guest starred on a Season 1 episode of The Blacklist called "The Judge," as the titular character.
James Brolin — John, The Dad
Brolin, the husband of Barbra Streisand and the father of actor Josh Brolin, is a famous sitcom and soap opera star, most famous for his starring roles in Marcus Welby, M.D. and Hotel, both of which aired on ABC in the '70s and '80s, respectively. More recently, he has guest starred in the likes of Psych, Castle, and Community. You may also have seen him on the big screen in The Amityville Horror, Pee Wee's Big Adventure, Traffic, or Catch Me If You Can.
Betsy Brandt — Heather, The Older Sister
Although you may not recognize her out of her trademark purple outfits, Brandt co-starred as Marie Schrader on all five seasons of AMC's Breaking Bad. She also starred in NBC's one-season wonder The Michael J. Fox Show as the eponymous comedian's wife. Last year, she had a memorable recurring arc on Season 2 of Showtime's Masters Of Sex, and she also appeared in Parenthood (coincidentally enough) as the ex-wife of Ray Romano's Hank. Brandt's feature film resumé is brief by comparison, although she apparently appeared as a banker in 2012's Magic Mike.
Dan Bakkedahl — Tim, Heather's Husband
Bakkedahl is one of those actors who you recognize the instant you see his face, but you could probably never remember his name. He has appeared on some of television's most beloved comedies, including 30 Rock, Flight Of The Conchords, The Office, How I Met Your Mother, Hot In Cleveland, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Community, Veep, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, The Goldbergs, and The Mindy Project, on which he currently recurs as Dr. Bergdahl. But, his work's not limited to comedy: He's also appeared on genre dramas like Dollhouse, Grimm, and Gotham. Plus, you've probably laughed at his antics in movies like Observe And Report, This Is 40, The Heat, and Get Hard.
Thomas Sadoski — Matt, The Middle Child
Life In Pieces will be Sadoski's second series regular role on television after co-starring in all three seasons of HBO's The Newsroom as Don Keefer. (He also co-starred earlier this year in the NBC miniseries The Slap.) Sadoski is most famous for his work onstage; he started his New York career understudying for Mark Ruffalo in an off-Broadway production of This Is Our Youth. Since then, he's appeared in countless productions both on- and off-Broadway, including the 2009 Broadway production of Neil LaBute's Reasons to be Pretty with future Newsroom co-star Alison Pill — a production for which Sadoski earned a Tony nomination for Best Actor in a Play. His film credits range from Oscar-nominated dramas (Wild) to high-octane action flicks (John Wick).
Angelique Cabral — Colleen, Matt's Girlfriend
Although Cabral has worked on over a dozen primetime broadcast shows (including Happy Endings, Don't Trust The B— In Apartment 23, The Mentalist, and NCIS: Los Angeles), her only previous regular TV gig was as Staff Sergeant Jill Perez on FOX's comedy Enlisted. She also had a small role in the 2011 romcom Friends With Benefits. That's the Justin Timberlake/Mila Kunis one, not Ashton Kutcher and Natalie Portman's similar one, for the record.)
Colin Hanks — Greg, The Younger Brother
Hanks made his small screen debut in 1999 as Alex Whitman on The WB's Roswell, alongside such future big names as Katherine Heigl (Grey's Anatomy), Shiri Appleby (UnREAL), Emelie de Ravin (Lost), and Nick Wechsler (Revenge). He had his first starring role in a feature film in the 2002 Jack Black comedy Orange County. Since then, he's appeared in an eclectic variety of movies, including King Kong, The House Bunny, and this summer's Vacation reboot. He has recently had recurring and starring roles on some of TV's most acclaimed dramas, including Mad Men (as Father John Gill), Dexter (as serial killer Travis Marshall), and Fargo (as naive Officer Gus Grimly). Despite all of this, Colin Hanks is probably still best known as the lookalike son of his famous father, Tom Hanks.
Zoe Lister-Jones — Jen, Greg's Wife
Starting as a perennial guest star on Law & Order, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Law & Order: Criminal Intent, and Law & Order: Trial By Jury, Lister-Jones graduated to starring roles in 2011 with NBC's Whitney (cancelled after two seasons) and then last year on CBS's Friends With Better Lives, starring James Van Der Beek (cancelled after one season). She recently had a five-episode arc on New Girl as Schmidt's girlfriend Fawn Moscato, and she'll appear next year in the HBO original movie Confirmation, starring Scandal's Kerry Washington as Anita Hill and The Wire's Wendell Pierce as Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.
Life In Pieces premieres on CBS this Monday night at 8:30 p.m. ET.
Images: Cliff Lipson (4), Smallz & Raskind (5)/CBS