Fall TV First Impression: Does The Mindy Project Deliver the Fall's Best New Comedy?

The Mindy Project ReviewThe 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)

RELATED | Read Our First Impressions of ABC’s Last Resort, CBS’ Elementary, NBC’s Revolution, The CW’s Arrow, Fox’s The Mob Doctor and ABC’s Nashville

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.

RELATED | Fall TV: TVLine’s Guide to 110 September Premiere and Finale Dates

Watch a video preview for The Mindy Project, then vote in our poll below.

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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37 Comments
  1. Seb says:

    I’ll give it a shot, but the trailer looked like a show trying to be quirky but not in a likeable or smart way like New girl can be, and frankly just felt like a rip off of most of the films it was referencing. Hopefully theirs a hidden gem that wasnt in the trailer to make this interesting. But if i was in america id be watching Go On i loved the pilot it was funny yet had an emotional element with a mild bit of perrys quirky sarcasm to make me hopeful itll just get better, plus its on NBC so it wont take much to stay on the air unlike the mindy project (terrible name btw) thats on Fox if it falls to much below new girl already slightly declined ratings, it come be one season and out.

  2. portiaslegacy says:

    I already feel devoted to it and upset that it is against Don’t Trust the B*@# in Apt 23 to which I am similarly devoted.

  3. Tricia says:

    I would just like to urge everyone to watch past the pilot, the writing staff they hired is top notch; one example is Chris McKenna who is nominated for his work on Community last season, so I know my high expectations for this show will most likely be met even if it isn’t in the pilot.

    But to be honest, I’d watch Mindy Kaling read the phone book, or better/worst yet, the twilight books.

    • Rebecca says:

      Agreed. Mindy is one of my favorites. Plus, she’s a fellow Masshole.

    • Ann says:

      I like Mindy. Even if the pilot stinks, I’d be willing to give the show at least 5 or 6 episodes. I like the episodes of The Office that she wrote, so I have faith that even if the show doesn’t give off a great first impresion…it will get better.

    • Angela says:

      Oh, really? Well, that’s interesting, and certainly a good pitch for the show.
      I like Mindy, too. I’ll probably give this a look, yeah, we’ll see how it pans out. Best not go to based solely on pilot episodes or preview snippets alone with a show, I’ve learned.

  4. Patrick says:

    I just don’t like Mindy Kaling. I always hated her on the Office, and she was one of the reasons I finally gave up on it. She is just too annoying for me. The 9 oclock hour on Tues is super crowded. I love the ABC shows, am devoted to NCIS:LA, and will follow “Chandler” anywhere he ever goes. Fox may get the short end of the stick on this one.

  5. Shannon says:

    I’m a fan of Mindy Kaling but this show just looks awful and I’m not at all excited about it. Every preview I’ve seen just looks like the same tired plotline of a “late 20s single girl trying to find herself and Mr. Right while still maintaining her chosen high stress career.” I just don’t think Mindy can carry a show on her own either. She was awesome as a supporting player on The Office and the couple of movies she has been in but I just don’t buy her as a leading lady.

  6. zaza says:

    I figure if I’m all ready watching New Girl, I might as well stick around for this and see if it’s any good. I watched Apartment 23 last year but didn’t really get into it…it was just okay for me.

  7. Bailey says:

    Interesting about the times :) I feel like The Mindy Project and Go On (and Apt 23, if it counts) are the strong players this season, as far as sitcoms go. Everything else seems pretty…terrible. It’s too bad this year is kind of a letdown for pilots, after last year had so many strong ones that some deserving got canceled because of competing ratings. I’ll never understand why networks pit core audiences against each other. Okay, well, I guess I understand, but if they would schedule them at different times, everyone would get more viewers!

  8. Aprilcot says:

    I love Mindy (currently reading her book, as well), and will most definitely be checking this out. It’s one of the few new shows I’m looking forward to this fall.

  9. Mony says:

    I recently watched the pilot, went in with low expectations but enough intrigue to queue it up and I must say, I really enjoyed it. The writing was strong, the acting as well. I do believe Mindy Kaling has the chops to head such a series. Plus I’m a sappy Chris Messina fan and while he wasn’t featured quite as prominently as I would have hoped, it’s quite obvious that they’re setting him up as a possible ‘something-more’…

  10. Balaji K says:

    I’m basically not going to watch any freshman shows until they get renewed for a second season. I’ve plenty of returning shows to watch in any case.

    • tripoli says:

      Me too. Too many shows I was really into this year were canceled. Not getting invested until I know it’s going to stick.

    • Rain says:

      Every year I get hooked on new shows that get cancelled but I can’t get myself to wait to see if they get a second season pick up! Good for you if you manage it!!

  11. C says:

    Was on the fence, but Amanda Setton’s casting put me over. LOVED her on “Gossip Girl” and especially on “One Life to Live”. Can’t wait to have her back on my television.

  12. dude says:

    This is one of those shows I CANNOT wait for. I love Aprt. 23 but I’ll likely DVR it for this. Mindy is hilarious and the show looks great.

  13. Ally says:

    I will check it out but it’ll be a bubble show for me–as I have to share the TV with my boyfriend, there’s only so many TV deals I can make (ie. he’ll watch Grey’s if I watch an hour of the hunting channel). The show is not in my Top 10 for new fall shows.

  14. KS says:

    Of all the pilots I’ve seen, this is one of the few shows I can imagine watching regularly. Chris Messina’s gruffness is the big draw, really. The only real downside for me was the production/camera-style. Not my fave.

  15. Alex says:

    Sounds like a real stinker.

  16. RYan says:

    I already follow NCIS: Los Angeles eagerly during that timeslot, so I doubt I will watch it.

  17. nick1372 says:

    I was surprised it was possible, but this looks worse than New Girl. Terrible. And I hate the Office too.

    Ratings-wise, it is one of the strongest comedies of the season, along with Go On. People will like it. Quality-wise, it’s nowhere near.

  18. Lena says:

    I’ll probably check it out, but the title doesn’t really work for me. “The Mindy Project” sounds like what Mindy Kaling and Co. were calling it while coming up for a title then never thought of anything.

    • Matt Webb Mitovich says:

      Perhaps, but it’s within the language of the show. “The Mindy Project” is the character’s plan to better herself (a la stop hooking up with random-ish guys).

  19. Matt says:

    I don’t think Kaling can carry a show. Her personality is annoying.

  20. Jared says:

    I may give it a shot and watch it on demand..but more excited for The New Normal

  21. Zoey says:

    I love Mindy and her brand of humor, so I’ll be totally watching this!

  22. Mary says:

    It’s a Bridget Jones rip-off and all the supporting characters outshine the lead.

  23. Sarah says:

    This is possibly the worst programme I have watched second new girl. The show actually seems to borrow a lot from new girl, but what seems to be the strangest is that Mindy and her Minority status don’t really fit into the show because it reads as if it was written for a Zooey and then HBO decided that they wanted to fill the quota and put Mindy instead, this along with the ditsy American girl by numbers performance make it all for a boring watch.

    • Spyder says:

      Sarah- Most children of immigrants don’t go around thinking “I’m an ethnic minority– how does my minority status fit into my life and my relationships?” They just, you know, live their life and watch stupid rom-coms like anybody else. It’s actually refreshing that Kaling is in a role that a white person would normally play.

      Having said all that, I agree with you that the show is not very good.

  24. celena says:

    I definitely LOVE, LOVE, LOVE The Mindy Project. Every episode is like it’s own mini beginning of a romantic comedy, quick quirky humor that i love & so much relatability. Its funny how nothing ever quite goes the way Mindy plans and that’s what makes it feel like a romantic comedy & the sad relatable truth of what happens in our own life. Love it! Love every episode & I’m also a huge fan of Parks & Rec. & The Office among other shows. I’d say the characters & comedic level of The Mindy Project in it’s scripting, & characters to be craved & honored like those shows i love like the Office & Parks, has the same potential & can’t wait to see more. Mindy’s character is my favorite though. Her hopeless romantic & can’t catch a break in love is perfect! Keep the laughs coming!;)

  25. Lily says:

    Anyone who grew up watching Nora Ephron and enjoys The Office will love this show.