Saturday, April 2, 2011

Pilot Review: Body of Proof

Body of Proof (ABC)
Premiered March 29 at 10pm

I’m not one for procedurals. Medical dramas in particular don’t much interest me, but my commitment to watching every single new series pilot necessitated a viewing of this premiere. Dana Delany is an actress who was recently welcomed in to the fold on “Desperate Housewives” only to be underused and driven crazy, quite literally, after just over a season on the show. Why this is her next project is quite a mystery, since it doesn’t utilize her talents well at all. She’s capable of much more than just being a cold, steely anti-social character. The role as it’s written here appears rather one-dimensional, yet the show’s insistence on showcasing her supposedly miraculous abilities contrasts sharply with that. The mere fact that she is tagging along on police investigations doesn’t make sense, and the show pretty much utilizes that as its jumping-off Linkpoint. John Carroll Lynch, onetime star of “The Drew Carey Show” and such magnificent films as “Fargo,” shouldn’t be relegated to playing annoyed cop to Delany’s annoying medical examiner. This show borrows a lot from preexisting past and current medical shows, and those elements don’t work nearly as well here. Jeri Ryan’s chief of medicine, for instance, is nowhere near as intimidating or entertaining as the mirror character on Showtime’s “Nurse Jackie,” and she possesses no other endearing or deliciously despicable qualities, making her entirely forgettable. Megan’s haunted past involving an accidental death on the table and the deterioration of her relationship with her daughter feels awfully trite, and this show doesn’t appear to have anything original to offer, save for one thing: its rather poor and uninventive title, which encapsulates the basic structural problem of the show: she’s a medical examiner who used to be a neurosurgeon who somehow is able to solve crimes better than anyone else in the medical field or on the police force. I just don’t bLinkuy it.

How will it work as a series? One body to be proved per episode, along with a bit of back story on our not-so-charming protagonist. This is a cookie-cutter procedural that isn’t pretending to be anything more than that. For those who desire a new medical show that might be a mix of “House” and “The Closer,” this could be the answer, only it’s nowhere near as engaging or creative as either of those shows.
How long will it last? Well, the two abovementioned superior shows attract quite a few viewers, and this pilot’s numbers were certainly promising, outperforming time slot competition like “The Good Wife.” While those figures are sure not to last, this one should at least be present for the rest of the season, though it’s too early to tell whether another procedural will make the list of the network’s renewed shows.

Pilot grade: C-

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