TV Review: ‘Proof’

Proof TV Review TNT
Courtesy of TNT

Proof” explores the mother of all mysteries — what happens after we die? — in the most uninspired and banal of ways. Filled with cliches, the TNT series benefits from the casting of Jennifer Beals in the central role, but handcuffs her with a drab character and dead-end (pardon the pun) concept, which, as executed, demonstrates what would happen if a medical procedural and “The X-Files” had a baby. In theory, there’s an interesting and provocative show here; it’s just not the one that’s been made.

Beals’ Dr. Carolyn Tyler is introduced in the operating room, storming around and intimidating underlings as she demands that they “get it right the first time, no questions asked.” Soon enough, though, she is being pursued by Ivan Turing, an eccentric tech billionaire with a fatal diagnosis (played by Matthew Modine, and clearly intended to evoke the late Steve Jobs). While the disease can’t be stopped, his intellectual curiosity wants to know what he’ll face on the other side — even if that’s nothingness — and, as he notes with a mix of enthusiasm and resignation, “I have the resources to find out.”

Carolyn has been chosen by Ivan precisely because she’s a skeptic, but also based on her tragic past: She not only lost a teenage son, but suffered a near-death experience herself. Her reluctance to help Ivan soon fades, though, as she uses those aforementioned resources to assemble a team to assist in her investigations, without giving up her day job at the hospital. For good measure, the show throws in a psychic (Callum Blue), whose spectral observations only fuel the good doctor’s doubts.

Created by Rob Bragin and counting “The Closer” star Kyra Sedgwick among its producers, “Proof” can’t do much more than spin its wheels after that, delving into different cases (three episodes were previewed) where some sort of afterlife connection is either sought or suspected. Along the way, more details dribble out about Carolyn, but her separation from her husband (David Sutcliffe) and relationship with her daughter (Annie Thurman) have a decidedly familiar quality, and the show mostly squanders a supporting cast that includes Joe Morton as Carolyn’s boss and Edi Gathegi as her ambitious if slightly abused intern.

The Turner networks have discussed a bit of an image makeover under new management, but “Proof” seems squarely lifted out of the old comfort-food model. Except that in this case, the truth figures to remain out there, well, forever, or at least until Ivan succumbs. As for the prospect of the series evolving into anything more interesting, that, even more than the subject matter, requires a sizable leap of faith.

TV Review: 'Proof'

(Series; TNT, Tues. June 16, 10 p.m.)

Production

Filmed in Vancouver by the Jacobson Co., Kikkos View and Ipso Facto Prods.

Crew

Executive producers, Rob Bragin, Kyra Sedgwick, Tom Jacobson, Jill Littman, Alex Graves; director, Graves; writer, Bragin; camera, Thomas V. Kloss, Bernard Couture; production designer, Brent Thomas; editor, Russell Denove; music, David Buckley. 60 MIN.

Cast

Jennifer Beals, Matthew Modine, David Sutcliffe, Joe Morton, Callum Blue, Edi Gathegi, Annie Thurman, Caroline Rose Kaplan

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  1. Esther Trice says:

    Iloved the program Proof with Jennifer Beals. I think she is a great actress and the program kept me on the edge of mychair as it was full of exciting things always happening or being said.

  2. Donna Tucker says:

    Can’t believe that they cancelled it!!!! Everyone I knew that watched it was hooked. Please bring it back!

  3. Micah says:

    I really like watching it. I though there will be another season. Been trying to find it on my on demand like crazy but I couldn’t find it.until I found out it was cancelled. So sad.

  4. Lenore Strom says:

    Jennifer bombs again. She continues to try to be “the star”. . .in order to be the star, you first have to know how to act. I bet if she took acting lessons she could be terrific. She comes across as someone reading her lines from a prompt card. This is obvious in every scene. She is so one dimensional. She did great in the L Word series when she played a lesbian lover. Maybe that character type is easier for her to portray for some reason. Jennifer go back to the L Word!!! Still love you though!

  5. Alyson Marie says:

    It’s frustrating because no one will actually take the time to write something about TNT’s series ‘Proof,’– or any show for that matter. BUT, if any series needs to be blogged about, it’s Proof. Between the facts and the curiosity of the afterlife, a billionaire diagnosed with cancer searching for answers, taking risks to experiment with an intelligent yet stubborn surgeon who lost her son, and the constant reminder of the thin dotted line between the living and the dead– it is a show anyone could get wrapped up in. What does happen after we die? This was an amazing show. Proof deserves another season. and so do the viewers.

  6. Mary Sheffield says:

    You are obviously a critic who hasn’t had ANY paranormal experiences. I’ve had so many that I lost count. That is why this show is perfect for the disbelievers. In my opinion, who can possibly be convinced that there isn’t life after death, and that there isn’t a connection with those we love after their immediate passing? This show allows the viewer to come to their own conclusions, and Jennifer B. does that perfectly!

  7. Rena says:

    I have enjoyed watching Proof this first season. Jennifer Beals is excellent. This is my kind of show.

  8. Weymouth Wilson says:

    Proof has top quality actors and a subject matter that should interest most people. I along with many of my friends from coast to coast, look forward each week to this quality production. We are all hoping that “Proof” remains on TV for many years. (I did read a review that seem to suggest that the story line was one that could not support “Proof” returning even next season. Well, the writer of that article must know something that the rest of the world truly yearns to find out.

    Also, Jennifer Beals is such a powerful talent and she alone almost assures that your TV hour viewing “Proof” will be highly rewarding. Marrying the solid cast along with the question of life after death, may “Prove” to cause “Proof” to be with us for many seasons.

  9. Robert Evans says:

    Yes, Jennifer Beals is biracial but her dad is nowhere near as dark as Glynn Turman, and the kids look like Michael Jackson’s kids. Bad casting!!

  10. elizabeth crannage says:

    I died twice in the hospital and I was looking forward ,again, to the beautiful visions I saw then–this show has nothing.

  11. Joy says:

    Proof is an awesome TV series…..I love it! However, I just watched the new episode of July 28th. This episode shows Cat as having a black father, yet she looks nothing like a biracial person….she looks pure Caucasian. If they wanted her to be biracial, I’m sure there are hundreds of biracial actors available. I am biracial myself and no way the offspring of someone as dark as the man who played the role of her father could have a child with a white woman that looks like Cat. I wish Hollywood could be more realistic. The black gene is dominant when it comes to skin tone. Also, I don’t think Cat was a good choice for this role……she is far too skeptical and too much of an angry bitchy person. You would think someone with a more gentle personality would be researching something like life after death.

  12. Vivian Hight says:

    Please make Jennifer Beals less bitchy and a little more likeable.

  13. Rich Romano says:

    I watched the first few episodes until the last one Tuesday 7-7.You just had to folow the PC regulations and have a white bad guy shooot a black cop.Why? Never mind I woun’t be watching any more

  14. David says:

    The main character is one of the most thoroughly unlikeable protagonists I’ve seen in a long time. Dud.

  15. Terry says:

    Thought this may be a interesting series. Watched redemption this week and couldn’t believe the language. This adds nothing. Lost this viewer.

  16. Mazvita says:

    Got put off the very first episode! that know it all doctor. ….how many people are that mean in real life and then the most disgusting bit is the oh don’t throw the intern’s food away it can feed a family of 5 back where he comes from (Kenya,Africa). for crying out loud there are just as many starving families in your country as are in Africa, get over yourselves and be fair!

  17. L Vezzetti says:

    My husband & I are enjoying Proof
    We feel it is well written and of course the actors do a great job!!
    It is presents all the sides: Those who are Skeptical, those who believe, and those that are unsure!!
    We feel that everyone behind the show: writers, directors & producers really do leave the show’s theory/premise of answering what happens after death, up the viewer to decide by presenting all the various view points!!!
    Thank you!

  18. Wade says:

    The Jennifer Beals character is a real turn-off for me. She plays a bitchy, mean-spirited harridan.

  19. Gona says:

    For crying out loud, commentators! This is not an opportunity for you to toss in your unsupportive Christisn two cents and bury people for not promoting Jesus directly front and center on a clearly fictional show. I am very Christian myself and I recognize that this is a show for entertainment, drama. So get over your high and mighty ranting selves and just don’t tune in if you have that much of a problem. Jesus hung with thieves, prostitutes and tax collectors and you don’t see him judging pettiness every moment in the biblical accounts. Relax. You are not so fabulous yourselves.

  20. Marie Samuel says:

    The arrogant and know it all Doctor (Jennifer Beals) killed the show for me ! Bye

  21. Wilhelms says:

    obviously none of the producers are Christian!

  22. This presentation is just fine.
    It flows evenly and doesn’t jump
    to titillation or excitation easily.
    (With the exception of the jumper)
    I believe this is the proper pacing.

    I don’t know where it will eventually
    lead, but where did Game of Thrones
    go? So relax. I look forward to Tuesdays.

  23. Michael Weisser says:

    God has already said what happens when you die. A believer that Christ rose from the dead is sleeping and others are just dead until the ressurection of the dead and sleeping. You can’t know scientifically what happens so that’s why I’ll never watch Proof and I’m not religious, religion just means mans works.

  24. Go to Zimstories.com .see Eric’s picture ,then click on watch video to see our afterlife reading by George Anderson,World Famous Medium.Paramount Pictures filmed this for the Beyond Chance TV show.We answer any and all questions. 910-295-6480 Fzimmerman1@nc.rr.com

  25. Doug Wright says:

    it’s just another peon to the religious right. Pleeeez!

  26. Rose Star says:

    Is Proof based on real cases or is it totally fictional?

  27. Ken Kaplan says:

    You miss the point. “Proof” will never offer “proof” in the scientific sense because its evidence is primarily anecdotal. (But LOTS of it, which does constitute evidence.) I think it is meant to present both sides of the discussion in a format rarely used and let the decide. My suspicion is the case histories are real. The little girl’s meningitis was lifted from Eban Alexander.

  28. Larry watts says:

    AMEN SISTER AMEN, THEY NEED MORE ENTERTAINMENT LIKE PROOF. I BELIEVE WITH ALL MY HEART THEIR IS ANOTHER PLACE FOR THE ONES WHO BELIEVE. AND THAT PLACE IS WITH GOD, WHO IS THE KING OF KINGS AND THE LORD OF LORD, AND WE ALL SHALL BE THERE WHEN WE LEAVE THIS WORLD . MAY GOD BLESS YOU.

  29. dyane says:

    A well-written piece, but please have your editor do a better job – I found a couple typos. Heck, do you want to hire me? I’m cheap! ;)

    • I do want to see more ( Proof) I thank this is a wonderful show .. I have very much enjoyed watching look forward to watching every week , When I am gone I recorded it , Don’t want to miss nothing That is going on I can’t wait until next season

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