Three episodes of The Mindy Project season 4 have now been released on Hulu. So, what’s different between the Fox and Hulu versions?
The development of The Mindy Project season 4 is uncharted territory for Hulu. They’ve produced original shows, and they’ve aired pre-produced episodes of shows canceled by networks (Selfie, A to Z) but they haven’t bought a canceled show and revived it for new episodes. Fortunately, they saw value in Mindy Kaling and her show and earlier this year, ordered a whopping 26 episodes of The Mindy Project. This means we’ll have over half a year’s worth of new episodes every Tuesday. But that’s beside the point of this article, which is to discuss how the show is faring on Hulu after three weeks.
The truth is, the difference between Mindy on Fox and Mindy on Hulu hasn’t been that drastic. Mindy isn’t suddenly delving into explicit monologues about Michael Fassbender and heck, we don’t think anyone has done anything they wouldn’t do on Fox. This switch is less about the content on The Mindy Project season 4 and more about the overall structure of the show. But even that hasn’t changed much.
Comedies on network television are typically 21 minutes, leaving 9 minutes for advertising — four to five commercial (or, act) breaks. The first three episodes on Hulu have run about 22-25 minutes. While the additional minute to four minutes may seen insignificant, it is a dramatic increase that can allow the storylines to breathe a bit more.
Television is a world where every second is accounted for and time is money. Networks and studios tell shows how much time they have, and shows have to abide by that. That’s why television shows’ theme songs go from elaborate sequences (New Girl) to a quick flash of a card at the end of the opening scene. While The Mindy Project hasn’t deviated too much from the typical television comedy length, its fluctuation of merely a few minutes is significant unto itself.
What we have noticed, though, is that the show can breathe a little bit. Longer episodes allow characters to take a few extra beats in a scene to react — both dramatically and comedically. By being on a streaming network, The Mindy Project has the freedom to hold on a character’s reaction, or circle around a joke or scene longer than they may have been able to do so while at Fox. Meanwhile, as we alluded to, the material itself hasn’t undergone a major tweaking either. It does push the envelope, but that may be the show flexing its muscles of unrestrained, free speech.
While we don’t know what their budget per episode was at Fox or Hulu, we can assume they’re probably comparable. Salvador Perez is still cranking out amazing costumes for Mindy, and in the Fox vs. Hulu debate, in no way do scenes from either platform feel “less than” the other. (They do still have Universal Studios as a studio production company backing them which could explain it, too.)
When all is said and done, we think The Mindy Project has successfully navigated the transition from our television sets to our computer screens. We don’t know what’s to come over the next 20-odd episodes, Mindy could rack up the raunchy material a bit or loosen the lips of its characters, but for now it remains a thoroughly enjoyable show that is just a few clicks away.