September 19, 2014 20 Comments

It’s no great secret that television today has become complacent. It’s also no secret around here that I’m easy to please. When I heard that one of my favorite British actors was set to headline one of ABC’s newest dramas, I was all happy. Turns out, that excitement doesn’t disappoint.

Forever, Season One Pilot (2014) ABC TV Review

Life for Henry Morgan (Ioan Gruffudd) is like any other person’s. Except for one thing – he has been alive for over 200 years. Each time he dies, Henry returns in a body of water… naked and quite alive – this naturally presents many awkward police station conversions. Only one person knows his secret, Abe (Judd Hirsch), his trusted friend. His latest brush with death involves a subway accident – something that may not be the accident investigators suggest it is. This also brings two new subjects in Henry’s life; a mysterious caller, who claims to know all of his secrets and NYPD homicide detective, Jo Martinez (Alana De La Garza). The former leaves Henry ready to run, the latter another person to conceal the truth from. Thus begins Henry’s collaboration with the NYPD as New York’s chief medical examiner.

Watching this leaves me with a goofy grin for the entire pilot episode. The mystery of the episode is an “easy solve” and not original in the least, however it’s the characters I enjoy most as well as a conflicting character matching. All of which makes up for a lot of the “bad” in the scripting. 

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‘FOREVER,’ SEASON ONE PILOT (2014) #FWarchives Click To Tweet

One of the setups I feel confident I’m going to like (in spite of the maybe-obvious-bad conveniences of the plot device) is the painful backstory of Jo playing against Henry’s own. The complications as a human being seemingly destined to live, forever. I think this could open an entire Pandora’s Box of interest depending on where the writer’s take it. Her character has as much curiosity as Henry albeit in a very different way. She walks onto the screen as a kind of anti-heroine with a “bad girl” vibe, which we later learn the truth of. Even in a mere 40-some minutes of a pilot episode, this piques my curiosity. 

Then, of course there are the actors and the primary reason this ABC newbie showed up on my radar: Ioan Gruffudd. Guys, there is no going wrong with this actor in a leading man role. Why, you ask? First and foremost, he’s British – and the accent remains intact (Kara will understand this), and second he’s the man who immortalizes Horatio Hornblower on-screen for the beautiful A&E miniseries. Those two reasons are good enough to consider adding Forever to your DVR, plus the accent —oh, right… I already mentioned that. Moving on.

If you’re anticipating something that is “cutting edge” from a crime drama, you’re better off (based solely on the pilot) to look at Person of Interest or the like. It’s got personality, a cast that’s fantastic and it airs on a network that enjoys many successes (*ahem* Castle). Plus the underlying mystery of Henry’s immortality is bound to be an addicting source of (hopefully not endless) curiosity that could hook a viewer. To its credit, the supernatural vibe of the show is “less important.” Overall, Forever has a good start. It may have the potential to outstay some of its notions, still, there is enough there to keep a person invested.    

What say you fellow TV addicts: have you tried this? Will you? Leave any thoughts, impressions or excitement below.  

(Disclosure: this post does contain affiliate links; if you buy anything through these links, I may receive a small percentage of the sale at no extra cost to you. Thank you to anyone who makes a purchase through these links. Read the disclosure page for details.)

You can find Forever, Season One Pilot digitally (and the complete first season series) on Amazon Video 

Content: there is a running joke about Henry showing up naked. We see him walking in the park, a shot of his legs first then waist up only. It’s implied a woman had a one-night stand and is an alcoholic. There is some blood; and a shot of bodies strewn across the train floor is shown The show is TV-14.

About Rissi JC

amateur photog. #bookblogger. downton abbey. inspys. internet-photo-shy. writer. the aspiration is to someday write professionally. a girl can dream, right?

Rissi JC

amateur photog. #bookblogger. downton abbey. inspys. internet-photo-shy. writer. the aspiration is to someday write professionally. a girl can dream, right?

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  • Dawn Janis September 19, 2014 at 2:22 PM

    This actually looks like something I'd watch. Except on Monday it'll be up against Under the Dome finale. Tuesday – maybe.

    • Rissi September 19, 2014 at 8:32 PM

      I really loved it, Dawn; the mystery in the pilot isn't great, however the characters were awesome, plus I like Ioan, which always helps. If you see it, I hope you like the episode. :)

  • Abbi Hart September 20, 2014 at 6:11 AM

    I absolutely loved this pilot! I caught it last Friday and I had the same goofy grin! When I saw the description of this show back when pilots were being optioned and saw that Ioan Gruffudd was starring in it I put it on my to check out list. Then I saw the trailer and it went on my going to watch the pilot list and now it's on my definitely watching list! I thought they did a fantastic job with it all and though I agree that it was a bit of an "easy solve" it wasn't obnoxiously so and didn't take away from the rest of the stuff I loved! I cannot wait till this starts airing!

    • Rissi September 22, 2014 at 5:14 PM

      *High Five*

      I'm glad you enjoyed it too, Abbi. While the solve was easier than most, I was just so excited to see Ioan in something again… anytime I get to see favorite British stars in something is cause for fun. I hope this gets the chance to grow because I've found that usually a show will use that opportunity wisely and the more episodes there are, the better it gets. Let's hope that is what happens for Forever! Excited to see what comes next. :)

  • Kara September 20, 2014 at 7:32 PM

    Oh yes! I will most definitely understand the allure of a British accent! As well as watching Ione Gruffudd. ;) I haven't seen this one yet, but I'll have to see about making the time to watch it. Sounds pretty fun! I love interesting characters, and even if the plotlines are familiar or easy to figure out, if the characters are great, I am happy to be entertained. :)

    • Rissi September 22, 2014 at 5:19 PM

      See, I just *knew* you'd understand this find in American television. ;)

      If you try this, I hope you like it, Kara. The mystery was easy, however the bigger picture is Henry's immortality, which is intrigue enough in my book. Being entertained worked well for me in the pilot and it'll be interesting to see what comes next!

  • The American Anglophile September 20, 2014 at 7:49 PM

    An intact BRITISH ACCENT!!!! This makes me happy!! Many shows tend to cover their beautiful accents with American accents, so this I may give it a shot!!

    • Rissi September 22, 2014 at 5:20 PM

      Right??? I was thrilled when I was watching it and heard Ioan's accent intact. We *need* more British in our American TV methinks. :) Hope if you try it, you like it, Alyssa – and thanks for dropping by! I still need to follow your new blog.

  • Rachel Hoyt September 20, 2014 at 9:26 PM

    I've been really curious about this since I first heard of it. I've quite liked Ioan in everything I've seen him in, so he (and his accent, obviously) was a draw. I'm glad to hear you enjoyed it! I'm definitely someone who likes characters above an unpredictable mystery, so I can see myself enjoying it. I also don't worry about loving pilots too much, since shows generally don't find their stride for at least a few episodes (or a whole season, in the case of Parks & Rec, my favorite show!). I hope you continue to enjoy this one Rissi! :)

    • Rissi September 22, 2014 at 5:22 PM

      Love your comment, Rachel… YES! You said it so well, shows generally don't find their groove at first glance – I found that with two of my very favorites (Burn Notice and NCIS), so in terms of their clever mysteries, I give them more than one episode before deciding if it will live "up to par" or not. Hopefully this one will. Because… yeah, the hero is BRITISH. ;)

  • Hannah Barta September 20, 2014 at 10:32 PM

    Oh goodness! I just saw a preview for this and it looks AWESOME. I may have to tune in to this one ;)

    walking in the air.

    • Rissi September 22, 2014 at 5:23 PM

      Yay! If you watch it, let me know what you think, Hannah. It was fun for my TV watching experience – plus there are WWII era flashbacks, which gives the show a bit of a "costume drama" angle too. :)

    • Hannah Barta September 29, 2014 at 4:20 AM

      I just finished it, and I did enjoy it! My complaint, however, is that the setup is much too like Sherlock. Even in the first two minutes you can see that with Henry's observing powers. He's also a doctor and works in the morgue; Sherlock was a chemist and visited the morgue frequently. He wears a coat and ties his scarf the exact same way Sherlock does. And the Jo-Henry dynamic was all too Sherlock-Watson-like. So that annoyed me a bit, but it's still a thoroughly enjoyable show and I look forward to seeing more :)

      walking in the air.

    • Rissi September 29, 2014 at 8:47 PM

      Glad you didn't mind it in the end, Hannah. I didn't make overt Sherlock connections other than its British hero (maybe scarves are big with British guys!). Still, I wouldn't be surprised if writer's intentionally or otherwise made some comparisons to the classic detective given the popularity of the character both in a British show as well as America's Elementary. They probably wanted to try and get in on some of the popularity. ;)


      I actually liked the set-up (cliché as it is) of Jo and Henry. Here is a woman, who lost her husband and is acting out as a result, hoping to "lose" herself from the pain. Then she's going to be working with a man who – as of now, cannot die. Hmm… I wonder at the possibilities of that!? ;)


      Thanks for visiting, Hannah – and sharing what you thought! I still haven't decided if I'll watch a few more or wait for the DVD. Either way, I'll be watching more. :)

  • Becky Ritta September 20, 2014 at 10:52 PM

    Caught this one on Hulu last week. (Isn't it great that networks are putting their pilots online before the premiere?) I really enjoyed it. Of course, Ioan is a huge draw :-) I'll definitely keep watching. Speaking of Ioan, have you seen "Ringer"? It only lasted one season on the CW, and it was ridiculously soapy, but I loved it! It starred Ioan and Sarah Michelle Gellar, and Jason Dohring had a recurring role. Anyway, if you haven't seen it, you should definitely Netflix it!

    • Rissi September 22, 2014 at 5:27 PM

      Seeing the pilots out before the premiere is AWESOME, Becky. Especially since I don't watch network TV with exception to something like DWTS or various special programs, so I like the chance to be able to see something and gauge whether or not it's for me. Ioan is basically the draw for me, although I did like ABC's, Body of Proof which was also about the medical examiner angle.

      No, I didn't see Ringer, however I do remember reading about it – thank you for the reminder! I'll have to look into it. A little soap drama is needed now and again, right!? :)

  • Bekah M. September 21, 2014 at 5:07 PM

    I watched the pilot ep because, like you, Ioan Gruffudd. ;-) I was very happy to read you love his amazing accent too *high five*. Haha. While I was a little disappointed with the boring mystery, I still think this show has potential! Also, I totally agree (and love) what you said about the supernatural vibe being less important. That's a big reason why I will definitely be tuning in for episode 2. Glad to hear you liked it too… thanks for the great review!! :)

    Oh, one more thing. I saw that you mentioned seeing "Numbers"… did you like it? I've been thinking about trying it for a while, but wasn't sure if I'd like the characters. Sounds interesting though!

    • Rissi September 22, 2014 at 6:01 PM

      Exactly. What else needs to be said but IOAN GRUFFUDD?? ;)

      The mystery was pretty easy, however, yes. Like you, I'm hopeful that aspect will get better – perhaps the writer's wanted more focus to be on introducing the character instead of a complicated mystery. Which words for me. Thank YOU for reading and commenting – hope you like episode 2. I haven't decided if I'll watch a few more or just wait for the DVD set. We'll see. ;)

      Numbers is very entertaining. The whole match explanations went over my head (I basically detested math ;D), but I still enjoyed it, and it gave fans a nice conclusion in the end. Plus, I liked the brother relationship. I liked the characters…. though Don doesn't always inspire the warmest of feelings because the dude makes some seriously bad choices in terms of his relationships – or rather how he chooses to handle breaking up with or opening up to a girlfriend. Beyond that, I liked everyone – even Don. ;D

    • Bekah M. September 23, 2014 at 2:56 AM

      True, I never thought about the fact that it really focuses on the characters. I'm pretty excited to see where it goes… *fingers crossed*. ;)

      Hmmm, sounds like something I'd enjoy… especially the brother relationship. Haha, that sounds exactly like me– I was not a fan of math as well. Thanks for sharing, Rissi! All of my shows are returning this week (Blacklist, Chicago Fire & PD, Hawaii Five-0, etc.) but I will probably check out "Numbers" on the weekend! :)

    • Rissi September 23, 2014 at 11:26 PM

      Same here. I'm just hoping for MORE when it comes to future episodes and in terms of the mysteries. Beyond that, I'll watch it just for Ioan. Yes, my shallow-ness is showing. ;)

      You have excellent TV taste. I've never watched the Chicago franchise, however I am a fangirl for Blacklist as well as Five-O. I couldn't find the latter at the store last week (season four just released), so now I *have* to order it off Amazon because I need to find out what's up with Steve and Company. Enjoy your new premieres! :)

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