Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Focus on Fall Sci Fi TV: Forever

forever-abc-cancelledSelect previews of this Fall's upcoming science fiction and fantasy shows. You can see the full schedule of shows at this link. Forever: ABC New Series, Premieres Wednesday September 23rd 10 PM EST Here is the series description from the show's website:
Doctor Henry Morgan (Ioan Gruffudd), New York City's star medical examiner, has a secret. He doesn't just study the dead to solve criminal cases, he does it to solve the mystery that has eluded him for 200 years—the answer to his own inexplicable immortality. This long life has given Henry remarkable observation skills which impresses his new partner Detective Jo Martinez (Alana De La Garza). Each week, a new case and their budding friendship will reveal layers of Henry's long and colorful past. Only his best friend and confidant, Abe (Judd Hirsch) knows Henry's secret.
ABC has offered the pilot for free online viewing, and I really didn't expect that I would like this show yet found myself oddly drawn to it.  It borrows quite a number of elements from a wide variety of genre sources including The Immortal (a short-lived 1970 series starring Christopher George), New Amsterdam (a short-lived 2008 series starring Game of Thrones' Nikolaj Coster-Waldau), Unbreakable (2000 M. Night Shyamalan film starring Bruce Willis and Samuel Jackson), the Highlander movies and TV series, and more.  On top of that, it gives us yet another procedural with a sci fi (maybe fantasy) twist and it makes frequent use of the tired flashback sequences.  And yet, even as I processed these derivative factors while watching the pilot, I found myself enjoying it.  Maybe it was Ioan Gruffudd's excellent performance as Henry Morgan.  Maybe it was Judd Hirsch's presence in the cast (he's a particular favorite actor of mine and has been criminally underutilized on TV).  Maybe it was the ageless Sherlock Holmes-type character that Henry Morgan gives us (I've always loved Arthur Conan Doyles' SH tales).  Maybe it was the show's somewhat fun, light-hearted tone that was mixed in with its more dramatic elements. But I found that something just clicked for me.  I'm not saying it is a great series or a must-watch new entry on the schedule.  But it was good fun, and I will definitely tune in for a few more episodes. As far as its prospects for survival on the Prime Time schedule?  It's kind of hard to tell at this point.  It has Agents of SHIELD as its lead-in, but that series was fading as last season was winding down.  If that show continues its decline into the current year, it will offer no help to Forever.  But then this new entry could become a surprise hit like last year's Sleepy Hollow (FOX) or Resurrection (ABC).  I give it about a 50/50 chance of surviving at this point, which are decent odds these days for a new series.

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