Friday, February 22, 2013

Body of Proof

Body of Proof
Episode 1: Abducted
By: Carlos Uribe

Body of Proof is a show about an ME that basically acts like a cop because she breaks the rules and is Dana Delany.

Spoiler Alert!

Body of Proof was a show that premiered March 29, 2011 on ABC. It was about a medical examiner that helped the police solve cases. She didn't just do her job in identifying people but she helped interrogate and look for clues. This is a show where a medical examiner will get all the credit and the city morgue has really nice offices. It's the type of show where the head of the morgue will actually give out press releases that the media pays attention. I could be wrong but it's usually the police chief or the District Attorney that will speak to the press. This isn't a cop show that's really going for realism as Megan Hunt practically forces herself into the investigation. The show was successful enough for the first two seasons but declining ratings convinced the network that it needed to retool the show. A retool is an often used ploy to try and save a show but it's rarely successful. This is because it tends to upset the people already tuning in because they like what they have been watching and it's rare for the average viewer to give a show a second chance. They could try and appeal to people who have never seen the show before but this can be just as difficult. That would mean having to spend money into marketing and having to convince them to give this show a shot. If you're a viewer who gave up within episode or someone whose never seen the show then I'm not sure this season premiere is for you. In this regard, the purpose of the retool failed. If you're a fan, I have no idea how happy you'll be with the changes.

The only episode of Body of Proof was the pilot and that was back when it first aired. I didn't really remember any of the characters. What I do remember thinking of the episode was that it was a decent procedural with a strong lead but nothing beyond that. The weekly case wasn't that interesting, the side characters were flat, and the world didn't make a lot of sense. As I said, this is a morgue that appears to be better funded than the police office. It doesn't make a lot of sense as I doubt that's the case in reality. Megan Hunt is basically able to get away with anything no matter how much people try to control her actions. This is because she's a strong independent woman whose going to do as she pleases, rules be damned. The premise of the show hasn't changed in the retool. The question to me was if the show had been able to build a solid procedural based on the pilot. This is the only episode I have seen since then so it's the only point of evidence. The difficult part about a television show is that it can have weak and strong episodes from one week to the other that makes it challenging to truly tell the quality of a show in the long-run. I'm not going to try and state the quality of the show but rather the episode that's supposed to change things around to attract viewers that they lost along the way with new ones and the ones who liked the old show. This is the second impression that the show is giving out and I'm not convinced to tune in.

A large problem is how high stakes the episode ends with. The weekly case seems to be normal. There are bodies and they manage to find the killer. The killer ends up dying but the episode ends with a huge twist. The killer had been putting in bombs in the bodies and he was working with someone else. The daughter, Lacey, gets kidnapped at the end. There are a couple notes I would like to make here. The first is that this premiere is eerily similar to the Castle episode that aired the night before in that Castle's daughter had been kidnapped. At the same time, it was more successful in it's cliff-hanger because there is a sense of urgency to need to rescue Lacey because her life is in immediate danger. If I was a fan of the show, I would probably be hooked. The second note is that the episode made a frustrating technique of opening with the cliff-hanger before building the entire episode to the events. This basically means you know there's more to the weekly case but in-media rest beginnings should not refer to the end but the middle. It makes for frustrating viewing because that's all you're waiting for. It might be good to hook the viewer but it also distracted me throughout the episode-which is why I wasn't hooked. The weekly case is basically a pretty good entertaining one but it suffered by that beginning. I understand wanting to get the viewer hooked from the first scene but the case was strong enough on it's own to do that. It wasn't just the distraction of the very beginning but that the high stakes didn't allow me to truly get into the world.

The problem is I'm not sure the world is one I want to get into. It's not because it's ridiculous but because it didn't try to really catch me up. It gave me some basic info but that's it. The episode picks up three months after the finale. The previous male lead, Peter, was killed in a stabbing. Why? You'd have to ask someone who saw the episode. Two other characters were written out (one joined the FBI and the other resigned to take care of a baby) but I have no idea who they are. The show doesn't try to really introduce me to Megan Hunt. It expects that I'm already familiar with her. It makes the same mistake with her two lab assistants. There's the chubby guy who I liked due to his sense of humor and the skinny one who made no impression. That I don't even know they're names is a sign that the show didn't even try to introduce them to me. What's the point of the retool if not to attract new viewers or ones who caught it a long time ago? Where's all the work at catching me up to what I need to know. There's also a boss who is apparently running for political office. I'm not sure why I care when I don't know her. Also, why did she seem to give the cops instructions? It's all very confusing because the only character to really get any attention was Megan. I will commend the show with Lacey. I might not know who she is but the actress portraying her made a great impression-and she has great screen chemistry with Dana Delaney.

What about the two new cop characters? The new lead is Tommy Sullivan. I like the actor portraying him, which is part of the reason I checked out the retool. Mark Valley did a good job in Fringe, Human Target, and Harry's Law. Tommy's character is largely defined on how he used to have a thing with Megan back in the day. He's not a fully-formed character. His partner, Adam, is even more undeveloped as he only keeps on questioning Tommy about his old relationship status. The closest he had to a personality was when he asked if they got to ask female patients to lift up their shirts to check for incisions. The actor playing him did a good job but there's only so much you can do when you have a flat character. Overall, I didn't connect with any of the old characters or the new ones. This means there's no reason for me to come back.

Abducted is the first episode in a retool and the second chance this show had impressing me. It decided that it would make no attempt to actually win me over as this was an episode that was definably written for the fans. I have no idea if they will love it or not but the show failed to win me over. It's a good episode and this is a good procedural-this is a show I could see myself watching in syndication but simply not live.

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