The Fall TV Season is here, and that means a new crop of shows set to vie for big ratings. ABC felt confident enough to release pilot episodes of two new programs, the comedy “Selfie” and the drama “Forever”, online and On Demand weeks before their respective premiere nights. My thoughts on the inaugural episode of “Selfie” will come next week. Here’s my review of the “Forever” pilot, which airs tonight, at 10pmET (another new episode will be on Tuesday the 23rd at 10pm – its regular night and time):
Ioan Gruffudd (“Fantastic Four”) stars as Dr. Henry Morgan, a New York City medical examiner who’s lived a VERY long life. In fact he’s been alive for nearly 200 years, ever since he was thrown overboard with a pocket watch in the 1800s. Each time he apparently dies, which has happened a lot over two centuries, Henry immediately wakes up in a body of water, naked. How Henry’s body actually moves from the place of death to the water is conveniently ignored in the premiere. Bottom line: the guy can’t die.
Henry’s experienced a lot in his 200+ years on Earth. If he comes-up to you on the street, he can tell you your family history and what’s been happening recently in your life. Judd Hirsch plays Henry’s closest friend, whose true identity is revealed in the episode’s final few minutes. Together, they’ve been all over the world trying to get answers about Henry’s secret and keep it hidden from everyone else. Henry’s medical examiner duties include a perfect record for diagnosing fatalities. None of his co-workers know Henry well enough to suspect that he’s not your average M.E.
But everything changes when Henry cheats death once again after being involved in a subway crash that killed everyone else on the train. Detective Jo Martinez (Alana De La Garza) finds out that Henry was on board and survived, making him the key witness. These two bond professionally, and possibly romantically. So the stage is set for this unlikely pair to work together solving crimes each week, and dealing with their relationship, while Henry tries to prevent her from finding out about his immortality.
No doubt ABC is hoping “Forever” can become the next “Castle”. The tone of both shows is very similar, though the latter has more energy and elements of humor. “Forever” is also a mix of “CSI”, “True Blood”, and most notably “Bones”. The idea may have worked better as a film, if it had a better script and actors, though the concept is not very original. Gruffudd has a likeable presence, and could develop this guy into an interesting character except for one thing: “Forever” has very little chance of building an audience, so the odds are it won’t be around long enough for that to happen.
In this case, “Forever” will probably equal somewhere between 13 and 22 weeks.