The Mindy Project was one of my most highly anticipated pilots for 2012. Mindy Kaling stars as Mindy Lahiri, a OB/GYN who’s great at her job, but not so skilled at finding love. Thankfully, there’s plenty to love here, and only a few minor kinks to work on as the season progresses.
Partners is would have been an edgy, clever show about a decade ago. The format and styling of the show are truly of the 90s, and the portrayal of gay stereotypes is from around then too. The schticky humor, the laugh track, is not something that appeals to my particular tastes, but I wanted to give it a go anyway for the very appealing cast and my confidence in showrunners Max Mutchnick and David Kohan (Will & Grace is one of a limited number of shows I will always watch a rerun of if I flip past it). It was really too bad, then, that this was one of the most unfunny pilots that I’ve seen this year.
As many critics have already noted, Revolution is the last in a long string of high concept Lost wannabes, all unable to recapture the 2004 series’ instant watercooler buzz. Revolution has that J.J. Abrams stamp of potential quality, but it’s worth debating if any show could ever pull off Lost-type success again, or if it really was lightning in a bottle. Revolution mostly disappoints, but there are enough appealing elements that there’s still potential for a hit. I hold up the shining examples of Parks and Recreation and The Vampire Diaries, both of which transformed from ooky pilots to must-watch television. And that is the point of this Pilot Test experiment, to find out if shows are truly able to course-correct from pilot mistakes and become great.
FOX’s The Mob Doctor has already been made fun of for its hokey title, but I found myself pleasantly surprised with the pilot. The show stars Jordan Spiro, of my beloved My Girls, as a Chicago surgeon who’s also working for the mob to pay off her brother’s debts. William Forsythe co-stars as Constantine Alexander, the newly reappointed mob king (after taking out the competition).
The New Normal is Ryan Murphy’s first foray into sitcoms and his influence is clear here, which can be a strong plus or minus depending on how you feel about Glee and Murphy’s other work. The family in question is gay couple David (Justin Bartha) and Bryan (Andrew Rannells) who want to have a baby with the help of surrogate Goldie (Georgia King), who comes as a package deal with her daughter and grandma.The show aired a sneak peek Monday night, before moving into its regular timeslot last night, as well as being available early on Hulu.
Go On features Matthew Perry in another bid for a successful sitcom. Like most of the Friends, Perry’s had trouble finding something that sticks in the last couple years, and I don’t think this is the one either. It’s not that’s it terrible, it’s just not that enjoyable either. Perry stars as Ryan King, a radio DJ that’s in mandated therapy to get over the death of his wife before he returns to the airwaves. The therapy group is a bunch of oddballs, led by the inept, but feeling, Lauren (Laura Benati).