Fall 2012 Pilot Reviews: The Mindy Project

Premise: Mindy is a romantic-comedy loving OB/GYN who must navigate and balance her professional and personal lives.

Initial Thoughts: I don’t watch The Office, so I really didn’t have any preconceived notions of Mindy Kaling. The previews looked a little quirky, like New Girl, so I knew I would at least want to give it a shot.

Series Premiere: 9/18/12

Timeslot Competition: Don’t Trust The B- In Apt 23 (ABC), NCIS: Los Angeles (CBS), The New Normal (NBC), Emily Owens, M.D. (CW)

Post-show Thoughts: I don’t love the show yet, but I think it has a lot of potential. I loved all of the romantic-comedy references and I found Mindy really likeable, but I haven’t quite been sold on the quirkiness yet. I don’t like Danny as a character at all, and I’m really hoping that they’ll mellow him out a little bit as the season continues. I actually liked the OB/GYN aspects of the pilot, and I would like them to continue to explore it as a career and the insurance issues that arise.

I have high hopes for this show – I didn’t immediately love New Girl but it ended up being one of my favorite new shows of last year, and I expect something similar to happen with this show. It’s very character-driven, so the actors and writers need some time to settle into a characterization that is personable and funny at the same time.

Predictions: It didn’t have nearly as strong of a premiere as I thought it would. It seems like a great fit with the New Girl and I had been under the impression that Mindy Kaling was fairly popular. That being said, while it’s ratings weren’t stellar for a pilot, it wasn’t a horrible start. If they can maintain most of their audience in the coming weeks, I can see it getting a back-9 pickup, even if it’s just to give it more of a chance to gain an audience. Either this show or Ben and Kate is going to get the pickup so FOX will have a full schedule on Tuesday nights in the spring (assuming that’s where The Goodwin Games will be placed), and right now, this show is in a slightly better position.

By the end of the season, FOX will need to decide whether or not the Tuesday comedy block is more profitable than one hour of comedy plus an hour of drama. If they decide the keep the comedy block, then depending on the pilots they receive for the 2013-2014, at least one of the current Tuesday shows will be cut, if not two. New Girl should stay pretty constant and Raising Hope will be a season away from syndication, so they are likely safe. After the first episode, The Mindy Project is doing better than Ben and Kate, although The Goodwin Games‘ performance is still unknown. It is possible that the show will fix some of the early kinks and start getting good enough buzz that viewership increases, putting in in a better position for next year. If they decide to get rid of the Tuesday comedy block, it’s chances of a second season drop dramatically.

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2 thoughts on “Fall 2012 Pilot Reviews: The Mindy Project

  1. I love reading your perspective on TV because it’s so different from mine in terms of what I initially think about with shows. You go into such detail in terms of what it would take to make this a successful show in terms of its time slot, network, and ratings – and I am fascinated by those things (and should probably think about them more myself so I’m not shocked when shows I like get canceled).

    I agree with your thoughts on this pilot. I loved Mindy’s character, but I wanted it to be stronger overall. I felt like I knew exactly what was coming every step of the way (which is probably because I have read Mindy’s book too many times already and relate to her on a frightening level). I also wasn’t sure how to feel about Danny. There were some moments of genuinely great chemistry between him and Mindy, but then there were times when I disliked his character so much that I couldn’t see myself rooting for the two of them unless he gets a major attitude adjustment.

    But like you said, I didn’t love New Girl immediately either, and now it’s one of my favorite shows on TV. I think, like that show, The Mindy Project just needs to find its stride and allow the characters to guide the show.

    1. Thank you! I find the whole process behind creating and maintaining a television schedule so fascinating so I’m happy that someone else is enjoying my ramblings.

      I really think that The Mindy Project could end up being a great show and the perfect match with New Girl, so I hope that it’s given the time to figure out who they want the characters to be and let us fall in love with them like we did with Jess, Schmidt, Winston, and Nick.

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