ABC’s newest installment of the mystery-fantasy genre manifests itself in Forever. Joining the ranks of similar shows like Once Upon a Time and Castle, the show primarily focuses on a “villain-of-the-week” plot; however, it blatantly presents an overarching mystery early on. Dr. Henry Morgan introduces himself as an ageless New York City medical examiner who has been inexplicably reincarnating for the last 200 years. He is determined to figure out why he cannot stay dead for good and keeps records on all the deaths he has personally experienced.
Within the first minute of the pilot, I was convinced I was watching another Sherlock rendition: Ioan Gruffudd’s British accent coupled with the story’s NYC setting made me think I was watching some sort of Sherlock and Elementary crossover. Henry sure seems to do more sleuthing than anything else, but he examines dead bodies relating to criminal cases – it comes with the territory. His skills at deduction both impress and creep out the actual detectives of the NYPD that he works with – a plot point that is all too familiar by now. I’m willing to overlook the unoriginality here since the show is self-aware to a degree, calling Henry out for being like Sherlock Holmes in the second episode.
The remainder of the pilot remains highly predictable, but also shows enough glimpses of backstory and promises of dramatic future encounters to keep me intrigued. The main villain, although secretive, makes himself known from the start, rather than just lurking in the shadows unbeknownst to our protagonist. Only revealing his pseudonym as “Adam”, he is the first person who shares the same immortality curse to make himself known to Henry through threatening notes and phone calls. Story-wise, then, it is thus far sufficient, and left me wanting to learn more about Henry’s long-dead wife and their life together and what “Adam” is up to.
Luckily, the second episode manages to pick up the pace and presents a much more engaging mystery involving a couple of fake suicides, false accusations, and close-calls . I enjoy the overall tone that is established so far, and definitely need to see a handful of episodes to decide if I like the show or not.
My biggest complaint is the set-up for Henry’s potential new love interest: the pretty Detective Jo Martinez who has recently lost her husband. I can already see how this could go based on most other shows that employ the same relationship buildup, and I am hoping the writers rely more on the platonic dynamic that can be found between Sherlock and Watson in Elementary instead. When Jo first meets Henry, she thinks he’s creepy and is cautious working with him, but of course she changes her mind once he helps solve a murder case (and saves her life by setting her on fire). It’s just too easy.
Forever is blatantly a ripoff of many popular shows, not to mention the entire premise is New Amsterdam (anyone actually familiar with that show?) and employs way too many clichés and tropes. Nevertheless, it is enjoyable enough and I plan to stick with it for the time being.