Previewing FOX’s Fall Season-Part 1

FOX is notorious for shows with incredibly short tenures. Whether it was reality shows with absurd premises or just really bad sitcoms, a lot of its shows over the past decade lasted less than a season. In some ways, I almost anticipate most of their shows getting cancelled, even if I tend to like them. I know what’s done well and I know what’s not. I just don’t always like what’s done well. The fact is, network television is a rare and coveted entity.

New television excites me, though. It’s a new opportunity for a critical eye, whether my sentiment is “I like this,”, “I hate this,” or “I love to hate this.” The variables of FOX will most likely make this season very enjoyable.

The Mindy Project

I like Mindy Kaling and I don’t really have a concrete reason why. Her character type seems somewhat simple. She said in behind the scenes segments of The Office  to basically be an exaggerated version of herself. The character of Kelly Kapoor is a caricature. She’s very over dramatic, immature, and lacking emotional development. Despite all this, she’s still charming to watch.  Kelly went from an auxiliary background character to one worthy of an episode’s focus. She made me laugh, especially concerning her relationship “drama” over the course of the show. When I heard about The Mindy Project,  I knew that I would have to give it a chance.

Kaling stars as Mindy Lahiri, an OB-GYN, who while a very competent doctor, has a lot of trouble with friendships and dating. The trailer was interesting and made me laugh, but I couldn’t tell much about the show’s premise. Lahiri seems to have a lot of the same mannerisms as Kapoor, especially concerning her fixation on men. The trailer also detailed her being charged with public intoxication. Her complaints about men and her struggle with alcohol could get old, but it might not matter so much if the episodes are funny.

Regardless, the show’s premise isn’t very much established in the trailer and self-contained shows do not impress me as much as shows with recurring arcs. Either way, I’m not sure what kind of show this is going to be. If The Mindy Project becomes a show about various neuroses Lahiri has to endure with her “guy of the week,” I don’t know if it can sustain itself. If it becomes a show about the delicate balances between her career and the discoveries of what (and whom) she really needs out of life, that seems a bit more promising. I just couldn’t tell. However, out of loyalty to Kaling, I would have checked this out regardless of what the trailer told me and I will watch at least a few episodes. I just hope it shows Kaling’s potential, even though I will miss her on The Office.

Ben and Kate

Ben and Kate revolves around Ben, a free spirit, moving back in with his high-strung sister, Kate, to help raise her 5 year old daughter, Maddie. Ben and Kate were always at odds when they were growing up and their opposite personalities will surely create enjoyable conflict for the show.

The trailer was long, but I’m thankful that the premise was established so quickly. As the graphic says,  they raised each other, but only one of them grew up. Being pushed into a situation like raising his sister’s daughter will help Ben grow as a person. A good pilot tends to show the characters going through a very defined and huge period of change. Ben and Kate seems to be portraying that quite well.

One highlight of the trailer was a scene in which Ben wanted to swear, but kept stopping himself when he realized Maddie was in the car with him. He gives up, exasperated, and asks, “Why are you so young right now?” This seems to be the epitome of an immature character’s struggle to grow as he clearly making an effort to do so. The dynamic between Ben and Kate seems to be endearing and relatable.

While this is clearly a sitcom, it also seems to have its sentimental moments. I could certainly see this show lasting a while and new conflicts could arise as Maddie ages.  However, I am a little cautious because this is a show about people going out of their comfort zone. Once the novelty of Ben’s situation wears off, the premise might not be as effective. A lot of background information was established in the trailer, which impressed me, but you never know how good a show really is until you actually see it. We’ll have to wait, and I hope I’m not disappointed.

For a review of NBC’s upcoming fall season, check out Part 1 and Part 2.

Posted on May 26, 2012, in Comedy, Fox, Network Television and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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