Tuesday, July 14, 2015

"Proof" of Life

Anytime Jennifer Beals is on my television is a reason to rejoice. Yet, for whatever reason, it took me a month to finally get around to watching her new TNT series, “Proof.” While initially I had practically begged (not practically, I straight-up begged) that it be paired with “Rizzoli & Isles” on Tuesday nights, I realize I made a terrible mistake. Because of my recapping schedule I have little time to focus on any other show, especially on the same night. So, anyway, excuses excuses excuses.

The good news is I finally did find the time and the better news is I am happy I did. Not only is it lovely to see Jennifer back on screen on the regular, it’s an interesting premise. I mean, who isn’t curious about the search for life – or lack thereof – after death? It’s a big question show with a familiar formula. So it’s really a sneaky way of meshing a serialized melodrama with a case-of-the-week procedural.

But what really makes it work, of course, is Jennifer. Her no-nonsense, no-niceties Dr. Carolyn Tyler is a brilliant but prickly cardiothoracic surgeon. In “Proof” she’s a slightly less cranky Dr. House mixed with a slightly less skeptical Special Agent Scully. But it’s her realness that provides the needed backbone for a show that delves into ghosts, mediums and white lights.

I will say I could do with a tad more skepticism. So far from the cases we’ve seen they all seem legitimately otherworldly. Which is fine, if this show wants to all supernatural all the time. But to keep the healthy sense of disbelief alive long enough to keep us from going full “Ghost Whisperer,” it would be nice if a few of these near-death experiences turned out to be duds. I mean, they can’t answer The Big Question in the first season, right?

Another thing that makes me question the show’s long-game is the setup for this afterlife quest. It’s all being bankrolled by an obvious Steve Jobs doppelgänger tech billionaire played by Matthew Modine, who also happens to have terminal cancer. Let me repeat that last part: terminal cancer. Good thing he can afford the best doctors in the world or this could be a very short season.

Still, all these quibbles are minor compared to the how good it feels to see Jennifer back doing what she does best – being smart, kickass and in command on our televisions.

So, have you checked it out? Thoughts? Does it have you going toward the light? (The light here, obviously, is Jennifer Beals. Duh.)


Saba said...

Aye. Considering the premise of the show it's weird that they went full supernatural after just 4 episodes.

Helena said...

Impossible to resist Jennifer , will check it out.

Anonymous said...

I've managed to catch every episode so far, and I think it's pretty solid. The third episode, especially, with that war flashback (keeping things spoiler-free here) = wow! The writing is a bit stiff at times, but Queen Beals makes it work anyhow. I just wish Dr. Tyler could go on a profanity-laden rant a la Better Porter once in a while. I miss those rants.

Patty said...

I'm in the same boat as you. I have all the episodes taped, but just started watching it last night. I concur with everything you said. I think it's an interesting premise, and it's great to see Jennifer back on our screens. I even enjoyed the short-lived Chicago Code. It did make me long for the L Word days though minus things like Dana's death (damn you, Ilene Chaiken!). I seriously think we need to start lobbying for a reunion movie!

Louise said...

I'm hooked. Jennifer is always lovely but I think I'd enjoy the show even without her. I do hope she gets more than one season out of this. I keep waiting for Joe Morton to burst into a theatrical monologue a la Scandal but no luck so far!