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Posts Tagged ‘Body of Proof’

Dana Delaney as "Megan Hunt"

A couple of months ago, I reviewed ABC’s “Body of Proof,” a series starring Dana Delaney as “Megan Hunt,” a female Quincy — a Medical Examiner who solves crimes. Back then, I wasn’t impressed and didn’t think the show had much of a chance.

Well, continuing my hot streak* of guessing which shows will make it and which won’t,  I read this morning that BoP has been renewed:

Debuting very late in the season, on March 29th, the premiere of Body of Proof attracted a 3.1 rating in the all-important 18-49 demographic and 13.94 million viewers. The demo number’s not great but overall viewership is very strong, an indication that the series skews older and is a good match for Dancing with the Stars.

ABC aired the second episode on the following Sunday, likely to try to entice viewers who remember Delany from her Desperate Housewives** days to give it a try. Most weren’t interested and it scored only a 2.0 demo rating and 8.94 million.

The following Tuesday, episode three attracted a 2.4 rating and 11.15 million viewers, a loss of 23% in the demo when compared to the premiere. Subsequent episodes have fallen down to a 2.0 rating. The overall viewership has remained strong however, still pulling in 11 million viewers.

Hollywood worships the 18-49 demographic, to the point that any weakness there usually spells doom for a show. In this case, as the article notes, the overall strength of BoP’s numbers outside that demographic may have combined with the poor performance of the rest of ABC’s lineup of new dramas to give it a second chance — because the network didn’t have much else.

I’m still not impressed with the series, as I wrote in a comment at the site. (Awaiting moderation.) The mysteries are so-so, and the dialog, for example in last week’s episode, is cliché and predictable. Like the article’s author, I don’t expect a season three unless the numbers improve***.

Regardless, congratulations to the cast and crew for the renewal.

*I was wrong about Rizzoli and Isles, too, though the cynic in me thinks that its success is due to the subtext of sexual tension between the two leads, played by Angie Harmon and Sasha Alexander.

**I never knew she was and Desperate Housewives; I remember her from China Beach. I’m getting old…

***Passing question: Why is this show at 10PM? That’s usually the “adult hour” in network programming, with grimmer, more graphic stories told after the kiddies have gone to bed. What’s so grim and adult about this show? The occasional shot of a fake corpse or meat pretending to be a human body part? It sure isn’t the lightweight stories or situations.

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Dana Delany as "Megan Hunt"

I watched Dana Delany’s new ABC show, “Body of Proof,” last night and I can’t say I was impressed. The brief review is that I’ll give it another couple of episodes, but I don’t expect it to last.*

Body of Proof follows the life and career of Medical Examiner Megan Hunt, once a high-flying neurosurgeon, who now works in Philadelphia’s Medical Examiner’s Office after a car accident abruptly ended her neurosurgery career. As a Medical Examiner Megan applies her vast medical knowledge, keen instincts and variously charming and scalpel-like personality to the task of solving the medical mysteries of the dead and bringing the people responsible for their deaths to justice. But that’s only half the show.

Read showrunner Chris Murphey’s pitch to the public for the rest.

On the surface, the show sounds promising; in addition to her job as a Medical Examiner, Megan Hunt has no real friends (thanks to her often-acerbic personality, which she uses to keep people at bay), a failed marriage, and a broken relationship with her young daughter, the latter two thanks to her obsessive dedication to her former career. In addition to the weekly mysteries, then, we should be intrigued to see how Megan overcomes her weaknesses, rebuilds her old relationships, and builds new ones.

Trouble is…. We’ve seen all this before. Irascible medical detective? Quincy. (Or, for those too young to remember Quincy, House.) Crime fighter with broken personal relationships? The Equalizer. Scientific crime-fighting with cut up bodies on a table? Almost any procedural of the last 20 years. Witty, snappy, ironic dialogue? Too many shows to name, and it’s become cliché.

And that’s the problem with Body of Proof: there’s nothing special about it. Not the stories, not the investigation, not the dialogue, and mostly not the cast. Regarding the cast, Delaney herself is an excellent actress deserving of better writing. From among the supporting cast, Sonja Sohn (“Detective Baker”) is a favorite from her role in The Wire. The rest… eh. Jeri Ryan (“Dr. Kate Murphy”)  didn’t appear enough to make an impression. Windell Middlebrooks (“Dr. Brumfield”) risks being turned into the show’s regular punching bag. John Carroll Lynch’s character (“Detective Morris”) is a walking stereotype, “the cop who hates the star’s character but eventually turns into an ally she charmingly annoys.” Nicholas Bishop as Delaney’s sidekick (cop-turned-ME “Peter Dunlop”) who’s willing to tell her what she needs to hear… well, lose the stubble-beard, guy. It’s another cliché. Of course, so is the whole character.

The one relatively bright spot was seen in Delany/Hunt’s relationship with her daughter. Obviously estranged (a fact perhaps exacerbated by her ex-husband, who has custody), Hunt struggles to find a way to begin reconnecting with “Lacey” on the occasion of Lacey’s birthday. No spoilers, but, she does, and the final payoff is nicely handled — for once avoiding the trite.

But, that was about it. As I wrote at the start, I’ll give the show another couple of episodes to see if it improves, but I don’t think this “Body” will be rising from the table any time soon.

*Yeah, I know I said that about Rizzoli and Isles and was proved massively wrong, but cable has relatively lower standards for what constitutes a “hit” than do the broadcast networks. “Body of Proof” has a much higher hurdle to clear.

UPDATE: According to Variety, Body’s premiere enjoyed “3” rating in the coveted 18-49 category, with 13.9 million viewers. That’s a good start, but the key will be to see the trend over the next several weeks.

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