The broadcast networks have more than 20 shows debuting this fall, including a Revolution-ary drama from J.J. Abrams, a fresh take on the Green Arrow and a new incarnation of Sherlock Holmes. To help you prep for it all, TVLine is offering First Impressions based on the not-for-review pilots. Next up on our list…
THE SHOW | Fox’s The Mindy Project (Tuesdays at 9:30/8:30c)
THE COMPETITION | NCIS: Los Angeles (CBS), Don’t Trust the B—- in Apartment 23 (ABC), The New Normal (new, NBC) and Emily Owens, M.D. (new, The CW)
THE CAST | Mindy Kaling (The Office), Chris Messina (Damages), Ed Weeks (the UK’s Olivia Lee: Dirty, Sexy, Funny), Anna Camp (The Good Wife), Zoe Jarman (Huge) and others
THE SET-UP | Kaling stars as Mindy Lahiri, an OB/GYN at a good-sized medical practice who is as unlucky in love as she is masterful at her job. Messina and Weeks play two hunky colleagues, truth-teller Danny and Brit bad boy Jeremy, respectively, while Camp is Mindy’s married bestie Gwen. Added to the cast since the pilot are Gossip Girl‘s Amanda Setton (joining the überperky Jarman at the receptionists’ desk), Eastbound & Down‘s Ike Barinholtz (as a male nurse) and Glee‘s Stephen Tobolowsky (playing the head of the practice). Ed Helms (The Office) and Bill Hader (SNL) guest-star in the pilot.
THE FIRST IMPRESSION | In an admittedly soft field within this fall’s freshman class, The Mindy Project — as many peers, our own Meg Masters included, opine in this HuffPo video — is one of the best new comedies to be sampled. The show’s promise stems largely from Kaling’s character, a quirky, relatable, rom-com worshipper who uses Nora Ephron movies as the very high yardstick by which to gauge her love life. (“I’m Sandy Bullock!” she declares as she makes her getaway from a wedding crashing.) The two men in the Mindys’ orbit, Messina and Weeks, both deliver fresh TV characterizations, while we can only pray that the ongoing series better serves the pilot’s other major player, Camp, here playing a seemingly together mom/governor’s daughter. (At TCA, Camp shared with me her hope that Gwen, under her calm, collected surface, “is not all she’s cracked up to be.”) Overall, The Mindy Project‘s style and pacing is fresh, fast and fun, a show that may not make you guffaw but certainly make you smile wide.
THE TVLINE BOTTOM LINE | Tuesdays-at-9:30 is an interesting time slot this fall, seeing as it’s largely a case of “Which newbie will get pounded on by NCIS: LA least brutally?” Plus, you basically have three new/newish sitcoms up against each other. Given that Mindy has a better-watched lead-in (in New Girl) than ABC’s Apartment 23 (Happy Endings), while NBC’s The New Normal is paired with Go On (which is bit of a wild card per this TVLine poll), Dr. Lahiri appears poised to scrub into second place.