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Fox's New Fall Shows: First Clips, First Impressions
May 14, 2012  | By David Bianculli  | 3 comments

Fox, in  announcing plans Monday for the 2012-13 TV season, was secure enough to announce only three new series for fall — one drama, two comedies. We have first-glimpse videos of all three, including the new series starring, and created by, Mindy Kaling of NBC’s The Office…

The headlines for Fox’s fall season include Britney Spears being added to the judges’ panel on The X Factor, and Fringe presenting its final 13 episodes on Fridays, preceded by the renewed Kiefer Sutherland series Touch. Midseason will bring more new and returning shows, including midseason powerhouse American Idol, and a new show starring Kevin Bacon as a tracker of serial killers.

Of the three new shows, the most promising, initially, is The Mindy Project (shown at the top of this column), a sitcom starring Mindy Kaling as a gynecologist who’s single, romantic, and determined to improve the status quo in both her professional and personal lives. The title could be a working title – but, since Kaling’s character is named Mindy Lahiri, it isn’t.

The Mindy Project is scheduled to be televised Tuesdays at 9:30 p.m ET. It’s summarized in a trailer that makes you eager for more, and impressed by what’s there – which can’t be said of most videos shown at the upfronts. Kaling is an intriguing lead with excellent comic timing, and both her castmates and her writing are big plusses. Here’s a sample:

The other new fall Fox sitcom, Ben and Kate (8:30 p.m. Tuesdays), stars Nat Faxon as an irresponsible older brother who visits his little single-parent sister, and her five-year-old daughter, and ultimately moves in to help raise his niece. He’s Ben, Dakota Johnson is Kate, and this is what it looks like – at first glance. It’s not as clever, overall, as The Mindy Project, but it’s not bad, and has some good moments…many of them from Lucy Punch as Kate’s British friend:

The one new Fox drama for fall is Mob Doctor, given the 9 p.m. ET Monday slot after Bones. Jordana Spiro stars as a promising surgeon who, through complicated family ties, finds herself embroiled with, and at times indebted to, the Chicago mob. It sounds like nothing special, but, as first impressions go, looks like even less than that. When a trailer for a drama show looks more like an SNL or SCTV parody, you know there’s potential trouble ahead:

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Sally W.
The title of the Mindy Kaling show is a little weak, but the preview looks intriguing and funny, as does "Ben and Kate." "The Mob Doctor" doesn't look interesting at all for me; not sure how they can keep this idea going for very long.
May 16, 2012   |  Reply
David Bianculli
We have the exact same first impressions... Thanks, Sally.
May 19, 2012
Not much to see here, either. "Mob Doctor" really does look bad. Between these offerings and most of the rest from the big networks, I'm glad cable TV has so much to offer these days.
May 16, 2012   |  Reply
David Bianculli
Thanks for all your opinions on the pilot previews, John -- and for working your way through them all.
May 19, 2012
"The one new Fox drama for fall is Mob Doctor, given the 10 p.m. ET Monday slot after Bones."

Stupid question: has Fox changed it's operating hours? I thought they go dark at 10 pm ET for local news. Did you mean 9 pm?
May 15, 2012   |  Reply
David Bianculli
Your question is smart. My writing was stupid. It's fixed now. Thanks.
May 15, 2012
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