Friday, June 19, 2015

Pilot Review: Proof

Proof (TNT)
Premiered June 16 at 10pm

TNT and Jennifer Beals – two TV things I haven’t thought about in a long time. I used to watch a few shows on this network, but I abandoned “Major Crimes” and “Falling Skies” a while back. I haven’t made a definitive decision on “The Last Ship,” which returns this weekend, but I’m not feeling optimistic. TNT has strayed from typical procedurals like “The Closer” to shows with a twist that involve something semi-supernatural or at least highly theoretical. I’m not too impressed by the notion of someone who operates entirely scientifically being chosen by a dying billionaire to research what happens when people go towards the light and have near-death experiences. Beals is just the one to play the part, of course, though her steely nature makes for a less engaging performance than in “The L Word” or “The Chicago Code,” in which she also played relatively buttoned-up characters. I think the problem is that the subject matter just isn’t all that interesting, especially as portrayed in a television show. It’s far too ethereal, since it will surely be hard to prove anything, despite what the show’s title would suggest, and instead doesn’t actually provide any substantial satisfaction. Beals’ Dr. Tyler having lost her son is obviously important, but sharing custody of a teenage daughter with a doctor who she happens to work with is an unnecessary and unflattering complication. This is the kind of show that feels like a smart-science spin on a procedural, but instead it’s something far less rooted in evidence and more in experience. That may appeal to some, but it certainly doesn’t to me.

How will it work as a series? Matthew Modine’s billionaire is going to die soon, so he can’t be around for that long, but I’m sure he’ll have Dr. Tyler firmly swayed to his way of thinking well before then. There are going to be a lot of uncomfortable conversations with grieving parents that I doubt will be helped by Dr. Tyler’s abysmal bedside manner.
How long will it last? The ratings for the pilot episode were not positive, and reviews haven’t been either. Since it’s on cable, it should at least get the entirety of its first season order, which is ten episodes, but I think that’s all and the pull will be pulled on this show.

Pilot grade: D+

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