Thursday, September 13, 2012

The M.I.N.D.Y. Project

Every time I see ads for the upcoming Mindy Kaling sitcom "The Mindy Project" I imagine a show with a far more literal interpretation of the titular "project". Specifically I picture "The Mindy Project" to be some sort of ultra secret military initiative tasked with creating an android super solider designed to be the perfect battlefield killing machine (making up an acronym off the top of my head the MINDY could be short for  "Mechanized Infantry Neutralization Droid Y", maybe someone can think of a better one with time). So this killer robot played by Mindy Kaling would be essentially like the titular killer robot in the 1996 Mario Van Pebbles action vehicle "Solo" (and yes that is future Best Actor winner Adrien Brody in the scientist role) or the lovable Johnny 5 from the the beloved 1986 sci-fi comedy "Short Circuit". Also along the lines of "Solo" and "Short Circuit" the series would be a classic killer robot out of water story with the former blindly obedient Mindy bot unexpectedly "malfunctioning" by developing a soul, becoming conscious of the questionable morality of her actions as a government directed murder machine, escaping her handlers, going on the lam, and exploring the outside world for the first time while helping strangers in need to atone for her prior atrocities.

While that overarching plot alone would be enough for six seasons and a movie, I think if we combined the escaped killer robot angle with the actual premise of the series (sassy, career driven, single girl struggling to have it all with the help of her cadre of quirky friends and co-workers) we might be onto something special. The series could pick up right after Mindy has escaped from her top secret military installation and evaded a mess of government agents and troops to establish a new life and identity as a delightfully imperfect, single OB/GYN in the big city. The series would progress with episodes of Mindy's stressful life in the city balancing work and relationships alternating with action packed episodes where Mindy has to dispatch elite NSA hit squads and maybe take on the local mob boss. Perhaps there will even be episodes where both angles come together like when Mindy nervously goes on a date with a hunky guy she thought was Mr. Right...but turns out he's a nuclear powered cyborg sent to eliminate her.

I think the executives of Fox would agree the mass appeal of such a series is undeniable; what other show on television could combine light romantic situational workplace comedy with thrilling serial action drama, all with a solid science fiction background? What demographic would not be excited to watch such a show? Attention producers, there is still time to retool the series before it debuts proper later this month. You may have to do some re-shooting and editing, some heavy script modification, radically increase the production budget, and likely overhaul most of the cast but I think the results will be well worth it. If that is unfeasible, there is always the option of introducing the whole new robot angle retroactively by revealing her secretive past as an end of the season cliffhanger and continuing the series from there. Now that could do some serious damage during sweeps.

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