Saturday, September 27, 2014

Pilot Review: Forever

Forever (ABC)
Premiered September 22 at 10pm

Over the past week or so of this pilot season, I’ve written frequently about how shows have tried to capture fresh concepts that are far from original. What I haven’t yet mentioned is the unintentional influence of watching two new shows back to back which happen to be somewhat similar. In this case, “Forever” and “Scorpion” don’t have all that much in common, except, of course, the protagonist’s tendency to deduce just about everything about a person by simply looking at them. While CBS’ new procedural was all about misfit geniuses, this show is about a man whose ability to discern so much from a person’s appearance comes from the fact that he’s been alive for two hundred years. This isn’t the first time immortality and policework have interacted, and the last time I can remember starred another non-American, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, now of “Game of Thrones,” as the title character in “New Amsterdam.” The secret of immortality here isn’t explained, and instead of Dr. Henry Morgan never dying, he does actually die and then comes back to life somewhere in the water. That gimmick already becomes tiresome in the pilot, and, as would be expected, someone has learned his secret and is going to try to exploit him and figure out how it’s possible. Ioan Gruffudd tried TV a few years ago with a dull role in “Ringer,” and at least this is a more interesting part for a charismatic actor whose energy just isn’t quite right for this kind of character. Alana de la Garza was a regular cast member in the later seasons of “Law and Order,” and her part here is rather bland. Judd Hirsch, Joel David Moore, Donnie Keshawarz, and Lorraine Toussaint all have plenty of TV experience but have seen better material. This show wants to be groundbreaking and epic, but it’s just not.

How will it work as a series? Henry now has a new friend in Detective Martinez, which will help him to feel like he’s doing something to help the world while surely tipping her off on many occasions to his secret. Balancing that and this mystery man who wants to get to know him will likely be stressful, but Henry seems to have it all under control in this mild and far too casual drama.
How long will it last? It’s too early to tell, but this show did manage to pull off the unusual feat of doing better in its regular timeslot premiere than in its special preview the night before. With ABC having renewed “Resurrection,” I think this may just be the type of show the network wants to put on its roster.

Pilot grade: C

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