Tuesday, April 5, 2011

New Show Review: "Body of Proof"

Dana Delaney plays a medical examiner on "Body of Proof"
Credit: ABC

In my post on the pilot of Body of Proof I said I wanted to see at least one more episode before reviewing the show. After seeing episode 2 that aired last night, I feel safe with my opinion of the show. My review of the new ABC series Body of Proof is after the jump.

I really didn't hate Body of Proof, but I did have a major problem with it. It's generic on almost every level. It's like every crime procedural in that it has a simple mystery every week that is the center of the episode, and not much else is happening. It's the same show every week, which is not a terrible problem, but it's one that will prevent me from watching a show every week. Even if Dana Delaney is fantastic in this show, everything and everybody around her are very weak and are unimportant.

The one thing about this show that does work happens to be what makes the show not be throwaway. A very good analogy that other people have used is that Dana Delaney is to Body of Proof as Hugh Laurie is to House. This is clearly her show, as she's the only thing that's remotely good about it. She's clearly the center of the show and everything has to work around her. In every single scene it's either her talking to someone, or someone talking about her. She's at the center of everything, she even solves cases as a medical examiner. Obviously, Dana Delaney cannot be left behind a table, with a body, for an entire episode (although that would be a boring show). The show is willing to bend over backwards to feature her, it even made sure that everything around her was generic so that she would be the focus of the show.

Even though the show surrounding Dana Delaney is almost throwaway, her performance is not. She's giving a fantastic performance as Dr. Meghan Hunt. She nails everything the writers throw at her, no matter how cheesy it is. She nails switching from sarcasm to sympathetic and emotional. She sells the character's connection to the dead, even if it's not the character's chosen path. She tries to sell the character's change of mind, and almost does this successfully. Also, she does a fantastic job in the scenes with her daughter. Even if the ABC music (*) is playing in the background, she is able to make the characters emotions real, and not forced. There are scenes at the end of the first and second episodes that, even if they are full of cheese, are almost good because she sells them so well. Especially with the scene at the end of the pilot with the birthday cake. She is able to overcome the ABC music and make the moment almost seem real.

(*) I really hate how ABC wants us to be told how to feel about everything. It can ruin a show by telling us that "this is a humorous moment" and "this is a sad moment". It really doesn't work for anything that they do and this is no exception.

Like I said, the show doesn't help itself by surrounding Dana Delaney with forgettable supporting characters that don't do much at all. There are two detectives who she is supposed to work with every week played by John Carroll Lynch and Sonya Sohn. These characters are completely forgettable and are mainly there to tell Dana Delaney that she is interfering in the investigation and that she's wrong, only to be proven wrong themselves. They really don't do much in the first two episodes besides annoy Hunt and me. There's also throwaway medical examiners who work with Dr. Hunt. There's her boss Dr. Curtis Brumfield (who is played by Windell Middlebrooks, who you probably know from the Suite Life on Deck) and another medical examiner played by Jeri Ryan. These characters are also completely throwaway and only exist to give Dana Delaney people to yell at when they don't listen to her. And there's also Nicholas Bishop's character, who is Hunt's partner. He's the only character in the crime world other then Hunt that actually plays a purpose, but that still doesn't make him interesting.

The series does try to have an ongoing arc, with Hunt trying to reconnect with her daughter. It's really the only part of the show that I care about because Dana Delaney sells it so well. Even if it's not the most compelling of story ideas, it works because of the performances from Delaney and Mary Matilyn Mouser as her daughter. I could see this arc working in the short term and even though I don't see how this can be drawn out, I see it as good enough for right now and the first batch of episodes.

The center of the show, which the show is not subtle with at all, is that the body is the proof, "it will tell you everything you need to know". The show clearly knows how it wants to use Delaney, she is playing a character who cares about these people and how they lived. While I love Delaney in this show, the rest of it is completely lackluster. While I don't see myself writing about it in the future, I do see myself watching it sparingly for the rest of this season (and judging from current ratings, next season as well).

What did everyone else think of this show?

Body of Proof airs Tuesdays at 10PM ET/PT on ABC

1 comment:

  1. I somewhat liked the show, it's good as a time filler, but the thing i did not like was that Delaney felt too "perfect" (the daughter issues were not that much of a thing), it was too good to be true; unlike, for example, House, who is brilliant, but has some addiction problems etc... however, I only saw 1 episode, so i really dont know if it's still that way.


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