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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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.
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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.