TV Review: “Forever” – Fantastic

Written by Caitlin Cooper April 24, 2015

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There are so many crime dramas on TV these days that every time a new one pops up, I think “Another?!” Don’t get me wrong, I do enjoy a good crime show like “Bones” and “Sherlock”, but on North American TV there are so many crime shows, and almost none of them are particularly original anymore. But when I saw the commercial for “Forever” back in the summer of 2014, I took note of the premiere date. Because “Forever” isn’t just any crime show, it’s a crime show with a man who dies, but comes back to life every time. Have I got your attention?

“Forever” tells the story of Henry Morgan (Ioan Gruffudd), a seemingly normal albeit incredibly intelligent medical examiner. But there’s way more to Henry than anyone could’ve ever expected: somehow, over 200 years ago, Henry was cursed with immortality. He can die, sure, but he comes back to life in seconds. As you can imagine, this makes his life pretty complicated, and his now elderly adopted son, Abraham (Judd Hirsch), is the only one who knows his secret. He tries to keep under the radar, but his drive to help people lands him a job working alongside Detective Jo Martinez (Alana De La Garza) to solve cases, especially the unusual ones. Unfortunately for Henry, it seems he isn’t the only immortal, and the person who shares his curse wants to twist Henry into someone who takes a dark advantage of their ability.

“Just a few weeks on Homicide and you’re already Sherlock Holmes.”

The first episode of a new show is vital. Can it interest audiences enough to bring them back next week, the week after that, and so on? The first episode of “Forever” was so good that it did indeed make me want to watch it each week. While Henry as a character isn’t that original, I found I didn’t mind. Henry is pretty reminiscent of Sherlock Holmes in that they’re both very smart, and know how to read people and situations very well due to keen observation. The script even has characters make jokes about how similar Henry is to Sherlock. But the characters differ in that whereas Sherlock struggles to make friends, Henry chooses not to because he has a secret to keep, and he doesn’t want to be left behind again by mortals. All of the characters are pretty complex. Jo is still grieving the loss of her husband. Abraham was found and adopted by Henry when he was a baby; he was in a concentration camp and has the numerical tattoo as a daily reminder. Like it or not, Henry bonds with his co-workers, and they come to support him, worry about him, and care for him. At its heart, “Forever” is a show about friends and family.

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Each episode of “Forever’ has its own case to be solved as well as some life lesson that Henry has learned throughout his long life. We’re also treated to flashbacks of Henry’s life which I find fascinating. He’s seen a lot and occasionally bumps into people he knew when they were much, much younger. Some of the flashbacks are a little cheesy, I must admit. I think the writers went a bit too mushy with the romances. Aside from that, the history is neat. “Hitler on the Half-Shell” is a particularly cool episode: a victim was trying to return the art his Nazi father stole during WWII. There are also overarching plot-lines like what does the other immortal, Adam (Burn Gorman), want; what happened to Abigail (Mackenzie Mauzy); will Jo discover Henry’s secret. It’s those that really keep the show interesting, and kept me coming back for more. The last few episodes of the season grew more and more intense, and it seemed like Henry was closer to discovering how he became immortal, and like Jo was closer to learning the truth. The closer we got to the season finale, the more questions are answered.

“I’ve seen a lot of death, a lot of pain, a lot of suffering. But I’ve also seen a lot of life, a lot of beauty, a lot of wonder.”

Of course, what can make or break a show is the acting. Thankfully, “Forever” has a talented cast. Gruffudd plays Henry with flair, being the right balance of funny, vulnerable, and confident. Garza as Jo is generally serious, but brings enough depth to make her character really sympathetic. Hirsch brings entertainment to “Forever” with his one-liners, and sarcasm. The relationship between Henry and Abraham is the best on the show. Joel David Moore as Henry’s assistant provides a lot of the comic relief, and he does so well. But he also wants to be friends with Henry, which adds a nice personal touch to the show.

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Crime shows are a dime a dozen, but the first season of new show “Forever” has shown that it is possible to have a crime show that is mostly fresh among a sea of clones. While it does borrow a little from “Sherlock”, it’s different enough to stand out. The characters, plots, and historical touches make this show entertaining and engaging; unlike some shows, almost every episode is great. I hope that there will be a second season of “Forever”, and you should too.

My Rating: 8.5/10

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About Caitlin Cooper

Caitlin Cooper

Caitlin is an avid watcher of movies and television shows so she decided to use her passion to write about them. She has a B.A. in English Language and Literature with a Minor in Creative Writing.

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