Take Me to the Pilots '10: ABC's 'Body of Proof'
Led by Dana Delany's star turn, this is an appealing character-driven procedural
[As I've already mentioned, and will continue to mention each and every one of these posts that I do: This is *not* a review. Pilots change. Sometimes a lot. Often for the better. Sometimes for the worse. But they change. Actual reviews will be coming in September and perhaps October (and maybe midseason in some cases). This is, however, a brief gut reaction to not-for-air pilots.]
Show: "Body of Proof," ABC
The Pitch: "It's a little 'Bones,' a little 'House,' and a little 'China Beach.'"
Quick Response: "Body of Proof" has to spend too much time justifying/expositionalizing its premise -- Revered neurosurgeon has to become a medical examiner after a car accident -- but it's still a far more convincing Mid-Life Reversal Drama than NBC's "Jimmy Smits' Tiburon." Despite at least a half-dozen painfully over-declarative lines of dialogue -- "Tell me something... This new you, this Megan Hunt, ME, who seems to care about dead people more than she ever did about the living, is she for real, or is she just working off her guilt after killing a patient on the operating table." -- I actually found myself largely enjoying "Body of Proof" on its own simple merits. The show's secret weapon isn't exactly a secret weapon: Dana Delany has a meaty part to play and she tears into the role like the TV star she is. She's funny, interesting and, when she needs to be, appealingly sympathetic. Since the pilot has nary an original bone in its narrative body, "Body of Proof" is probably the fall's most purely and decently star-driven new show and Delany delivers. But that doesn't mean that there aren't worthy supporting players around her. You have the ubiquitous John Carroll Lynch and "The Wire" veteran Sonja Sohn as the two homicide detectives who are probably going to work with our main character every week, no matter how contrived that feels. You've got Jeri Ryan, basically reprising her role from "Shark," which isn't necessarily such a bad thing. You have Geoffrey Arend -- Mr. Christina Hendricks to you -- and Windell D. Middlebrooks popping up at the main character's workplace. And then you have Nicholas Bishop, like "Chase" star Kelli Giddish, trying to distance himself from "Past Life" as quickly as possible. I don't know how I feel about "Body of Proof" -- annoyingly generic title -- as an ABC show or as a Friday night show, but this is some solid, character-driven procedural comfort food for people who crave such things.
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