Proof of a lot of things, no proof of life

Months back, the trailer of TNT’s newest medical drama Proof didn’t promise a lot of excitement. Unfortunately, it’s not surprising, with the pilot episode not presenting much to cheer about either.


Medical dramas have been around since the Stone Age, so whenever a new one rolls around, there has to be a unique selling point. A twist, like a weekly evaluation of the operations performed and doctors basically getting roasted by the hospital’s chief of staff. Sound familiar? It was the original concept of TNT’s short-lived other medical show, Monday Mornings. Despite having heavy hitters on its cast, like Alfred Molina, Ving Rhames and Jennifer Finnigan, not even mentioning the fact it was written by dialogue mastermind David E. Kelley (Boston Legal, The Crazy Ones), it quickly got cancelled. Something similar will happen to Proof, for no other reason than it’s not even half as good as Monday Mornings.

The Concept, his Angle and his Fortune
Proof’s concept is pretty thin, so thin in fact, I don’t see the story really going anywhere. Dr. Carolyn Tyler (Jennifer Beals) is asked by billionaire Ivan Turing (Matthew Modine) to find proof of an afterlife. He’s dying, probably won’t be around for another year, and wants to know if there’s life after death. The angle he has to ask Carolyn, is her son, who died. Wouldn’t she also want to know for certain that he’s still out there and she’ll see him again one day?
O, and let’s say she does find proof, Ivan will leave his fortune to her, there’s that, too, of course.

ER, House, MD and A Gifted Man
The show’s got similarities to A Gifted Man, which also dealt with doctors and ghosts, and it borrows a little bit of House, MD and ER, as well. In a typical case of the opposite of ‘show, don’t tell’, it‘s said that Carolyn is ‘not too good with people’. I’d say she gets along great with everybody; they’ve clearly confused tell and show. She’s a bit on the tough side, but nowhere near as cynical and obnoxious as Gregory House.
We don’t spend too much time in operating rooms, but when we do, instead of House, ER is more of an influence. House, MD has shown us how to make hospitals warm, tidy and sexy, but Proof prefers them hectic, topsy-turvy and cold. Probably much more accurate, but you don’t want your viewers to walk away to turn the heating up.

Carolyn doesn’t want to hear it, but she’s had a near death experience herself. She’s seen something too, a glimpse of the afterlife, but stubbornly denies it was anything other than a hallucination. The scene is a testament of the lack of creativity of everyone involved with the show. They’ve actually come up with a bunch of people, back lit, standing around. Shadowy figures waiting for the bus, that’s what the afterlife looks like, according to Proof. It’s such a simplistic visualisation, they should be ashamed of themselves.
Apart from the two leading characters – at least their (two) scenes together do spark a little flame – the show’s proof of a lot of things, except compelling TV. There’ll be life after this one, because this one’s already gone. You’ll have your proof when it doesn’t get past its first season.

I Know What You Watch This Summer

TV would have a time-out during the summer months, but at this point, when the big boring procedurals go on holiday, the more interesting stuff comes out to play. This is a rundown of what you’ll be watching this summer.


Take a brilliant feature film director and keep the keys of the writing room far away from him. This could be good. Wayward Pines (May 14) is M. Night Shyamalan’s crossbreed between The Sixth Sense and Twin Peaks. Starring Matt ‘everybody knows who he is, but can’t name one movie with him in it’ Dillon and the amazing Carla Gugino.

One week later, History adds a few more historical bad asses to their lineup. After Vikings, it’s time for Texas Rangers, in Texas Rising (May 25). Starring Bill Paxton, but it could just as well be Will Patton, I can never tell the difference.

At one point, it looked like he was going to be Fox Mulder forever, but his portrayal of Hank Moody has also become legendary. It could go either way this time. The tagline for Aquarius (May 28) never grabbed me. Investigating Charles Manson? That can only end badly. The writers probably came up with a twist, but I’ve yet to hear it.
Creepy, but in a more extraterrestrial way, is The Whispers (June 1). A ‘force’ is manipulating kids into achieving its goal, whatever that may be. A lot of mystery and you know: the bigger the secret, the bigger the payoff has to be. We’ll see.

Constance Zimmer (House of Cards) is back, but it’s a long way from the White House. Unreal (June 1) is all about a dating competition program. Her former home, Netflix, is the gift that keeps on giving. On June 5th, they launch Sense8, the show directed by James McTeigue (V For Vendetta) and created by The Wachowski siblings.

As usual, FX has got a lot to offer. The second season of Tyrant (June 16), for example, but also a new comedy by Denis Leary: Sex&Drugs&Rock&Roll (July 16). It wasn’t hard to figure out what that will be about.

TNT keeps on trying to overshadow USA, but I don’t think it’s their year. Despite the fact that Proof (June 16) stars the wonderful Jennifer Beals, the premise sounds like a watered down The X-Files and all that’s left is Scully doing autopsies.
Falling Skies (June 28) is back, as well as Cold Justice (July 31), Legends (August 25), Rizzoli & Isles (June 16) and The Last Ship (June 21).
That last one will disappear between the waves, because on the same day HBO brings out their big guns. The return of True Detective, followed by two comedies. Ballers, starring Dwayne Johnson and The Brink, starring Jack Black, Tim Robbins and directed by Jay Roach (Austin Powers, Meet The Parents).
TNT’s dark horse is Public Morals (August 17), a period police drama set in 1967, directed by Edward Burns.

Suits has just ended its fourth season, but is back on June 24th. USA cancelled Rush last year and will replace him with another doctor in Complications (June 18). They’re also moving into AMC territory, with the hacker series Mr. Robot (June 24), starring Steve Buscemi’s brother Michael and Christian Slater.
On June 25th we’ll finally know whether Mike Warren actually died or not. The second season wasn’t as hot as the first, so I’m looking forward to the third of Graceland.

Stephen King’s Under the Dome (June 25) also goes into its third year, where Zoo (June 30) still has to prove itself. Showtime’s got its usual suspects lined up: Penny Dreadful (May 3), Ray Donovan (July 12) and Masters of Sex (July 12), and NBC will once again be the one to beat when it comes to reality, with Running Wild with Bear Grylls (July 13) and American Ninja Warrior (May 25).

You may say Orange is the New Black (June 12) and cannibal may be the new serial killer Hannibal (June 4), but summer is the new spring.