Friday, October 17, 2014

TV Review: Forever

Rating: 3 out of 5 Stars (after four episodes)

Bottom Line: It's a fun little cop show with a fantasy twist, that's worth a look but hardcore genre fans may find it lacking.  

Forever gives us a show about a man stricken with a "curse" that he cannot die (why do people on TV shows always look these sort of things as bad) and has developed a fascination with death that has led him to studying it for the two hundred years he has been alive.  In the modern day, he is a medical examiner and also a very Sherlock Holmsey type of person who has a keen eye to detail.  And thus we get the case-of-the-week stories in which somebody dies and his expertise is called upon to solve the murder (and there's also the obligatory Highlander style flashbacks to his early age and some event that relates to the case he is working on).  I really didn't expect that I would like this show when I first heard the premise, yet found myself oddly drawn to it.  It borrows quite a number of elements from a wide variety of genre sources including of course the Highlander movies and TV series, but also 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), and more.  On top of that, it gives us yet another procedural with a fantasy twist and and haven't those flashback sequences been done to death yet?  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's good fun and managed to keep my interest across subsequent episodes.  Of course there is a story arc of sorts in the background as someone who shares the same "affliction"  has been making cryptic calls to Henry.  But the Sherlock Holmes style case of the week is what this show is about and that side story is probably only there to appeal to genre fans who prefer a more ongoing tale.  But I'm not sure if it has done enough to distinguish itself as a cop show or a fantasy / sci fi show, and the genre blending could ultimately work against it as it may not quite grab enough fans on either side.  Still, I plan on keeping this show on my watch list, though it will be one that I catch up with as time allows as opposed to shows like The Walking Dead, Arrow, and The Originals that I usually watch right away.  And based on the current ratings, it looks like Forever will be anything but a Prime Time immortal, which is a shame because this fun little series deserves better.  But I will at least enjoy it while it is on.

No comments:

Post a Comment