The third season of The Mindy Project takes a little while to find its footing, but once it does it proves to be yet another entertaining season courtesy of Mindy Kaling. At the start of this season Mindy and long-time co-worker Danny Castellano (Chris Messina), end the "will they, won't they" hinting built up over the previous two seasons to embark on a relationship together. This changes the dynamic of the show somewhat, and when combined with the introduction of a number of new characters could explain why things feel wobbly in early episodes.
However, these teething problems do eventually go away and over the course of the season, a number of fun stories are told. Fun, although not wholly original. Indeed, anyone well-versed in the tropes of the TV sitcom will find much of this season to be familiar at best and predictable at worst. Although there were a few surprises along the way, numerous moments seemed derivative of scenes we've seen before elsewhere, while some subplots ended feeling rather half-baked. Fortunately, The Mindy Project can, for the most part, get away with these unoriginal tendencies thanks to a roster of loveable characters portrayed by a talented ensemble cast.
Stand-outs in season three include the aforementioned Kaling and Messina who have excellent chemistry together, while Ike Barinholtz also continues to be a favourite. Impressively, Beth Grant delivers a number of great lines in spite of having arguably the smallest role of all the season regulars. Perhaps it is due to the strength of the show's returning cast that some of this season's new members can take some time to warm to, though it should be said that by the end of the season almost all of them define themselves as worthy additions. The Mindy Project also shines in its high-profile guest stars which in season three include the likes of Laura Dern, Lee Pace and Stephen Colbert with It's Always Sunny's Rob McElhenney also making an impression in his small recurring role.
Although the performances here are strong, it is worth noting an odd trend that in numerous scenes actors seemed on the brink of breaking character. This isn't anything major, but subtle smirks during moments which clearly shouldn't feature them were surprisingly common; judging from the season's blooper reel (included on the DVD bonus features) there are a lot of laughs on the set of this show, but when they creep into the final cuts it can take you out of the moment. Additionally, there are some editing issues here and there with some lines quite obviously dubbed over but this becomes less of a problem as the season progresses.
Still, in spite of these flaws, it's difficult not to have a fun time watching The Mindy Project. While the plot of the show suffers at times from a case of unoriginality, the strong cast and memorable characters act as an anchor to stop it from drifting into mediocre territory. While not a show that will redefine the genre, The Mindy Project should satisfy anyone looking for some light entertainment.
THE MINDY PROJECT - SEASON THREE / CERT: 12 / DIRECTOR & SCREENPLAY: VARIOUS / STARRING: MINDY KALING, IKE BARINHOLTZ, ED WEEKS / RELEASE DATE: NOVEMBER 14TH