“Beauty. Brains. Bodies.”
To be completely fair, Body of Proof: The Complete Second Season is only twenty episodes long. Add in the first season’s nine episodes and together they barely overfill one season. So the growing pains still evident here are to be expected, but I’m disappointed that it still feels like Megan is in orbit around these other characters. I see potential for her to exist as a valued member of their lives, but that hasn’t happened yet.
Philadelphia Medical Examiner Dr. Megan Hunt (Dana Delany, Desperate Housewives) is surrounded by a staff which includes Dr. Kate Murphy (Jeri Ryan, Leverage), Peter Dunlop (Nicholas Bishop, The Glades), Dr. Curtis Brumfield (Windell Middlebrooks, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia), and Ethan Gross (Geoffrey Arend, Devil). Dr. Hunt’s partners in law enforcement are Bud Morris (John Carroll Lynch, Fargo), and Samantha “Sam” Baker (Sonja Sohn, Brothers and Sisters), and together they catch criminals. Well, Megan almost always solves the crimes. so these guys are the Pips to her Gladys Knight.
The main problem with Season Two is the same thing which plagued Season One: namely, Megan is not the boss of anything. And yet, not only does she act like she is the boss of everything, everyone around her supports it. It’s supposed to feel like I’m watching a rebel. Yet all I think is ‘why isn’t she running things?’ since her “rebel” way is to run around acting like she’s in charge. This was my issue with House as well so I can recommend Body of Proof: The Complete Second Season to fill in the hole left by House‘s departure.
Every part of Megan’s life is in shambles. As a viewer I don’t get a moment to be happy she’s in whatever environment because there’s constantly a source of stress. She battles with all her co-workers, and this season especially sees her fighting more and more with sort-of BFF Peter, whose calm nature normally provides the perfect foil to Megan’s arrogance. At home she has to worry about daughter Lacey, (Mary Mouser, Drop Dead Diva) a 13-year-old who’s just beginning to understand boys aren’t so icky. Even in Megan’s love life she stresses constantly about dating younger man Aiden, (Jamie Bamber, Perception) and their scenes are purposely interrupted as if the editors know there’s only so much of it we can stomach.
However the cases are intriguing which is difficult to do when you have a weekly repeating formula. More than once there was an interesting twist on what was expected. Usually during an investigation there are like five people you’ll see and the killer has to be one of them. But they played with this a few times and how they arrive at their conclusions takes interesting turns.
The saving grace this season has been the lives of the supporting characters. Bud’s wife is pregnant and Sam has to help him keep his eye on the prize. Ethan falls for new hire Dani (Nathalie Kelley, The Man Who Shook the Hand of Vicente Fernandez) yet she’s a goner for Peter, making a sort of love triangle that doesn’t really work, to be honest. And then newly-single Kate has to deal with losing her Chief Medical Examiner title which goes instead to Curtis. This plotline provides the biggest laughs of the season. But guess what? Megan isn’t in any of those scenes. The series is still figuring out how to make Megan a part of everyone’s lives in a role other than resident pain in the ass. After two seasons I wanted to see more progress in that arena. To be fair the season finale did leave me feeling the show was moving in the right direction.
I have no issue with the acting. Delany and company do a good job — great, even — with their characters. The trouble is the central conceit’s staleness. Why is it the norm that medical dramas have leads who buck the system? Why do I have to invest in a world where I can’t trust someone who actually does their job but instead I have to hope for a maverick who is just so much smarter than everyone else? If they’re so smart why can’t they find a way to do their thing within the constraints of their job? It’s a wonder any real world crimes ever get solved.
So while Body of Proof: The Complete Second Season had some highlights for me overall I just wished it was already the series I know it can become.
As far as the technical specs go I was disheartened to read the back of the case and discover a warning about possible pauses in playback. Not to mention a warning all special features may not play in all machines. But I do appreciate ABC Studios owning up to it straight off the bat. And when I opened the case and saw the way the discs were manufactured with a sort of cheap looking holographic image I was worried. But what gave me real pause was seeing there were only four discs with five episodes per disc plus special features. That is a huge peeve of mine as it always results in compression artifacting and this time was no different although it was less than I’d feared. The 1.78:1 anamorphic and palette both are typical of currently broadcasting procedurals, though at times I felt like the palette was a step away from going completely sepia. As far as audio goes the Dolby 5.1 was more than functional although I did notice the audio sitting on its own track at times, highlighting my other peeve of obviously ADR-ed scenes. It wasn’t often enough to produce anything more than mild irritation, though.
As far as the special features go this season improves on the first with BTS featurettes, a gag reel, and webisodes. The BTS stuff is just okay and the gag reel was nothing special. However I did like the webisodes. In the season’s only two part episode “Going Viral” Philadelphia deals with an alarming infectious outbreak. The webisodes comprise a sort of side story to those episodes.
I was disappointed with this season because I can see how great the show will be once all the pieces are in place and everyone is working together. Megan is still (metaphorically) singing “Part of Your World” a little too much for my taste and I’m not sure how much patience I have left. I do think Body of Proof: The Complete Second Season will please House fans. If you like snarky, dysfunctional doctors who solves puzzles this is a no-brainer. If you’re already a genuine fan then yes it’s worth a purchase. If you’re merely curious go ahead and stream it.