You only get one chance at making a good first impression. And ABC’s new drama, Forever, totally gets it right by introducing an intriguing hero, a fascinating plot, and a dastardly nemesis. And we only have to wait till tomorrow to see the second episode!
Our hero, Henry Morgan (Ioan Gruffudd), originally a doctor by trade, is an immortal passing this lifetime as a medical examiner in New York City. So there’s a procedural, case-per-episode format happening. But it’s interspersed with ominous messages from a mysterious “fan” who promises to be a formidable adversary, foreshadowing of a romantic relationship, and touches of gallows humor. All of these, I like. Plus, there’s the mystery of how and why Henry is immortal in the first place, which is more interesting since Henry himself doesn’t know.
The Sherlock Holmes vibe is undeniable, except our hero is far more accessible since he’s not a genius, he’s just a regular guy with several lifetimes worth of information. You’d be that smart, too, if you lived as long as he has. And, of course, there’s the whole mysterious immortality thing which is pretty much as far as you can get from Sherlock. And the coming back to life naked in a body of water thing. Which has the potential to get tiresome and problematic if done too often, but I’m willing to put forth the cautious belief that the writer’s are clever enough not to make such an obvious mistake.
***WARNING SPOILERS AHEAD WARNING***
The first episode does a great job of familiarizing you with the bounds and limitations of Henry’s immortality and the risks that come with it. When his “fan” reveals that he knows his secret, Henry is ready to pick out one of his many passports and make a dash for it. But Abe (Judd Hirsch), who turns out to be Henry’s adopted son who he’s raised from a baby, says he’s tired of running and that they should fight back. And by the end of the episode, you’re excited to find out how he’s going to manage a fight against an untraceable enemy.
There’s also the foreshadowing of a romantic relationship between Henry and Detective Martinez (Alana de la Garza). Now, usually, my eyes start hurting because they’re rolling so hard any time romance is introduced. But somehow, Forever manages not to hit my gag reflex. I think because they’re not overtly making it a love interest. Their relationship is awkward, they both have issues they need to sort through, and there’s still a lot of trust that needs to be built. And though the foundation for a romance is there, it could just as easily grow into a platonic relationship and it would still be ok. Point is, they’re being developed as if they’re real people. It’s messy. And I like that.
I also like Martinez’ character introduction. She has an awkward moment as she tries to sneak out on a one-night-stand. And when her colleague accuses her of just that, she doesn’t even flinch as she passes it off as an early morning of yoga. I like her.
And there’s the gallows humor I mentioned. Such as when Henry tells Abe jokingly to kill him. Except he’s actually not joking at all because he’s telling him to inject him with poison. While this sort of thing can easily be overdone and feel very corny, the frequency and delivery is just right and has me laughing. We also have a moment where super-smart Henry has to be the hero when Martinez gets the scary-lethal poison on her hand. And in order to save the damsel, he has to douse her hand in ethanol and light it on fire to burn away the poison. Her knight in shining armor? Yeah, maybe not. You see, it was good because they didn’t have the googly-eyed you-saved-me moment.
I will have to question why an M.E. might be allowed to come along to apprehend a suspect, but I’ll excuse it since a) I happen to have liked the scene and b) the goodness of the rest of the episode outweighs this bit of silliness.
So far, so good, and I’m totally onboard. But then, this is only the pilot, so we’ll have to see if the quality remains consistent, or if it’s all downhill from here.
Did you check out Forever? Are you going to keep watching? Let us know in the comments!
Forever comes on Tuesdays at 10/9c on ABC. If you missed it, you can catch this episode on ABC’s website.