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TV Review: Forever 1.1 “Pilot”
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Forever Ioan Gruffudd

Forever
Season 1 Episode 1 “Pilot”
Directed by Brad Anderson
Written by Matthew Miller
Starring Ioan Gruffudd, Alana De La Garza, Joel David Moore, Donnie Keshawarz, Barbara Eve Harris, Judd Hirsch
ABC
Air Date: September 22, 2014

Forever is pretty neat.

I watched the pilot for this new ABC series this weekend, and to be honest, I didn’t expect to enjoy it. It was compelling enough to keep my attention. And to get this part out of the way, I absolutely recommend that you check it out if you were already at all interested in it.

Ioan Gruffudd plays Dr. Henry Morgan, a New York City medical examiner who, 200 years prior to the current timeline of the show, discovered that each time he shuffles off this mortal coil, he returns to life, resurfacing resurrected from a nearby body of water.

Again, I liked the pilot. However, I would be remiss if I didn’t point out some epic trope-ridden laziness on the part of the show’s writers.

One: Dr. Morgan is immortal.

Okay, I get that this is the basis of the show. And this is something that we’re all going to have to be OK with this if we’re to even give this show a chance, so let’s not dwell here on this very close resemblance to Highlander. However, they have made their version of Immortality unique by giving Dr. Morgan his own quirky, little way of returning from the dead. So, that counts for something.

Two: Dr. Morgan is paired with a female police investigator.

So much of our episodic, crime-solving fare has paired a savvy law enforcement agent with a quirky non-law enforcement lead that I don’t know whether this is meant as a homage to Brenda Wyatt, the NYPD Forensic Examiner from Highlander, or if it’s merely unoriginality of a much more general nature. In any case, Alana De La Garza is serviceable in the role of Detective Jo Martinez. She’s not really given much to work with yet, but I’m eager to watch her character develop.

Three: Dr. Morgan has a, now elderly, companion which he discovered as a baby during wartime.

Judd Hirsch plays Abe, Dr. Morgan’s guy friday. His inside man. When we first learn that Abe is not immortal, it’s a given (at least to me) that Dr. Morgan has probably known Abe since he was very young. But when the show flashes back to Morgan taking custody of a wounded baby Abe during WWI (I think), I can’t help but think of the scene from the Highlander where Connor MacLeod happens upon an orphaned Rachel as a child during WWII. It’s a kind of magic.

Four: Dr. Morgan owns an antique shop.

Come on, people. I mean, seriously… Okay. To be fair, I think it may be Abe’s antique shop, but I don’t think they made that distinction during the episode. If they did, I missed it. So, “Highlander, M.E.” hangs out with his old companion in an antique shop. That’s just… words fail me.

Five: This one is a large spoiler for the pilot, so proceed with your personal spoiler protocol…

The villain of the first episode, (Lee Tergesen), and likely the entire first season, crashes a train, killing a bunch of people in order to discover if Dr. Morgan is, in fact, immortal. Now, I’m not saying that’s lifted directly from Unbreakable, but it’s lifted directly from UNBREAKABLE! (And let’s not forget that there’s a whole train scene in Highlander II: The Quickening.)

Six: Another large spoiler. Do whatevs…

Turns out that this villain, Hans Koehler, is also immortal. So, there’s our bad Immortal. He doesn’t have a sword. But he definitely wants to kill a ton of people, for an as yet undisclosed reason.

Okay, to summarize: Forever very, very Highlander-y. BUT, Gruffudd plays a medical examiner, so the show is also kind of Quincy, M.E. Hold on, though. Dr. Morgan is also a crime-solving genius. So, the show also has a bit of a Sherlock taste to it, with a hint of C.S.I. tossed into the pot for good measure.

Again. Despite all of this, I liked Forever and plan to continue watching it. But, I’ll be dammed if I was going to let these things go undocumented.

Forever airs on ABC on Tuesdays at 10pm/9pm C. Learn more about the show and get a sneak peek over at abc.com/forever.

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