Forever First Impressions Review
Forever is a show whose concept is more interesting than the show itself, and the concept isn’t that interesting in the first place. Stories about immortal people have been around forever (ha) and while Forever does one or two interesting things, it’s just another case of the week procedural. Not a bad one, but not a particularly great one, either.
Forever tells the current story of Henry Morgan, a medical examiner working in New York City. Because of course he’s based out of New York. I say current story because Morgan is an immortal. 200 years ago he gets killed but then comes back. No explanation, he just doesn’t stay dead. Whenever he dies, he pops up in the nearest large body of water. And he’s naked, because naked people are funny. After that set up he just goes about his job, investigating a train crash that he died in and drawing the attention of Jo Martinez, a cop who’s also investigating the crash. They’re probably gonna pork.
As far as police procedural shows go, this isn’t a bad idea for one. By having the M.E. be an immortal, they work around some of the toxicology wait times that most shows just completely ignore. Being over 200, Morgan has died a lot of different ways. There’s a pretty cool scene in the pilot where he extracts blood from the conductor of the train, who was poisoned, and injects himself with it to see what poison was used. And since he’s been around forever (ha), he knows a lot of the old stuff in New York, which helps him and cops save the day. But this also serves as a bit of a negative. This means that every case will either have some kind of historical bent to them so we can get flashbacks to Morgan’s past or have some murder method that forces Morgan to kill himself instead of waiting on lab results. There’s also an overarching plot for this season, maybe even the whole series (which very well could be this season), which I can’t really go in to without spoiling the episode too much. It’s nothing we haven’t seen before, but it’s at least a little bit interesting.
But the thing that really bugged me about the show is that it’s more interested in telling us stuff than showing us. Early in the episode we flash back to when Morgan first became immortal. The bit consisted of a few seconds of acting, and not very good acting, and was book ended by narration. So much of the episode is exposition when there wasn’t really a need for it.
Morgan is played by Ioan Gruffudd, who I know best as Mr. Fantastic and that guy who peed on men for money in Horrible Bosses. Right off the bat, I didn’t like this guy. Partially it was because he spent a lot of time narrating, but it was mostly because he had this smug as shit look on his face at almost all times. Every time I saw him I wanted to punch him. When we got more serious moments, he emoted totally fine and was actually pretty good, but his default face is just so hateable to me. He also has some Sherlock Holmes light cold-reading skills, which he uses to hit on women. But it comes across more like The Mentalist than Holmes. He says something to a person, they go “whu?”, then he dazzles them by doing a rundown of all the physical markers that led him to that conclusion. Apparently this is because he’s “seen a lot” (that’s the actual explanation from the episode). But when doing the rundown, instead of doing it with any kind of speed or flare like Sherlock or Shawn Spencer from Psych, he just lists off things in a really fashion like Patrick Jane. But he’s British so that makes it all better. And the conclusions he jumps to are more lucky guesses than actual insight. He sees a woman eating Russian chocolate and assumes she’s Russian. She is, but her eating Russian chocolate doesn’t prove that. It was a guess and it gets played off like it’s impressive when it really isn’t.
There are other characters in the show but we don’t really get to spend too much time with them. Martinez, played by Alana del la Garza, is your generic attractive lady cop who relies on the magic man to solve cases. She’s not a bad actress, but they don’t give her much to do in this episode. Judd Hirsch plays Abe, a Jewish father type guy who is the only one who knows Morgan’s secret. I’ll say this, they cast the right guy for the right part. Hell, him being Jewish is actually a plot point. Outside of them, there’s nobody else that I can mention in this episode. Everyone is just kind of there, not really doing anything other than suck at acting or draw my never ending hatred for them (you know who you are).
Forever doesn’t bring much to the police procedural genre outside of its one not really original idea. The writing isn’t great, the plot of the episode was really contrived (which was deliberate, but still), and I don’t like really like most of the cast. Garza was fine with what little they gave her and Hirsch is… well, he’s Judd Hirsch. But with all of that, I can’t say it’s that bad. There were moments of pretty good acting, and there’s storyline that could last however long this series lasts that I think could be pretty good, which is a lot more than I can say for a lot of these kinds of shows. If you decide to skip on this show, you’re not going to miss anything important. But if you’re looking for something to have on in the background while you do more interesting things, there are worse shows. Definitely better ones, too, but worse ones.
It's not terribly acted, and there is something introduced that could be alright, but Forever is mostly boring police procedural stuff with a main character I want to punch in the face and a supporting cast that's barely there. Oh, and Judd Hirsch is in it, too.