Reviews of the Season 4 premiere of The Mindy Project started trickling in this week as television critics get the first look at the series in its new home. So far, reviews are good, and with the premiere just days away, my excitement level is at an all-time high.
The show, which spent its first three seasons on Fox, is a critical darling with a cult following. However, in the current climate of television viewing, many fans eschewed live viewing in favor of streaming, and traditional Nielsen ratings were modest. While it wasn’t necessarily a surprise when Fox announced in May that they would not be picking up the show, it was a huge disappointment to devoted fans (myself included), hoping to see Mindy get her “happily-ever-after”. Thankfully, that disappointment was short lived, as the streaming site, Hulu, saved the show, picking up the series for a 26-episode Season 4. That’s the longest season the show has enjoyed yet!
Hulu has, for years, had an exclusive deal to stream episodes of the show, and The Mindy Project has been one of its most-viewed properties. According to Hulu Senior VP Craig Erwich: “Mindy has been a beloved member of the Hulu family, so this deal is a natural extension of our relationship. With so many of her fans already catching up and tuning in to the series on Hulu, we know her millions of fans will be eager to find out what Mindy has in store for the next chapter.”
The show isn’t expected to significantly change in its move to Hulu. According to creator-producer-writer-star (what a mouthful!) Mindy Kaling: “I think the single significant difference is that we’ll have more time to let these episodes breathe. It’ll mean more screen time for some members of our cast, which I think will be really good…” Early reviews indeed suggest that the changes are few, and that the show is the same one we’ve come to know and love. In his review of the Season 4 premiere, While I Was Sleeping, Deadline’s Dominic Patten said the show “hasn’t changed very much online from what it was on network… While some of the language is a bit more explicit, all the main characters from when the show was on Fox are back, and even the opening sequence is basically the same.” Hooray!!!
Looking back, Season 3 found Mindy and Danny navigating their relationship, while Mindy made strides in her professional life and Danny struggled with overcoming his reservations and becoming comfortable in a committed relationship. Never one to play it safe, the show tackled some tricky subjects (I Slipped, anyone?), and surprised everyone when, mid-way through the season, Mindy got pregnant unexpectedly, and made the decision to leave a prestigious medical fellowship at Stanford University to return to New York. The end of the season saw Mindy navigating pregnancy and struggling to establish a successful fertility practice on her own.
The season finale, Best Man, ended on a cliffhanger after Mindy and Danny fought over the direction of their relationship. Mindy, ever the optimist, made it clear that she wants to marry Danny and have her “fairy tale ending”, while Danny, the realist, having already endured his own father abandoning him at a young age and the failure of his first marriage, expressed reservations. After a tearful exchange between Mindy and Danny at Mindy’s baby shower, Danny’s mother, Annette, chastised Danny, and attempted to convince him that he shouldn’t give up on marriage all together. Perhaps her reproach worked, because the final scene of the finale saw Danny traveling to India to introduce himself to Mindy’s parents with the declaration: “I’m Danny Castellano and I’m in love with your daughter.”
Looking forward, it’s my hope that the turmoil in the season finale will be resolved quickly. (I have a low tolerance for angst, okay!) And I’m hoping that Baby Castellano will make an appearance sooner than later! I’d so like to see Mindy develop some female friendships, please! Finally, are wedding bells in Mindy and Danny’s future? That part I’m not so sure about. If nothing else, I’m just glad to have my favorite characters back on my screen like nothing ever changed! Thank you, Hulu! And thank you, Mindy Kaling, for your determination in helping the little-show-that-could stay on the air.
Don’t forget to tune in to The Mindy Project on Tuesday, September 15th, only on Hulu! And while you wait, be sure to enter our #TGONLovesMindy contest by visiting our Twitter page @TheGameOfNerds!