Who: “Forever” is a fantasy crime drama that aired on ABC during the 2014-2015 television season.
What: “Forever,” a drama centered on a forensic medical examiner, Dr. Henry Morgan (Ioan Gruffudd), who is immortal and who has lived for over 200 years, and on the mysteries that follow him.
When: The first and only season of Forever aired on ABC from September 22, 2014, through May 5, 2015, when the series finale aired. One full season of 22 episodes was ordered and aired in its entirety.
Where: The action is set in and around New York City, primarily in Manhattan and in Brooklyn, though flashbacks to periods in Henry’s long life occasionally take the action to other places around the globe.
Why: I picked up this show when shopping for pilots during the 2014-2015 TV season (a yearly ritual for this viewer and this blog, no matter how far behind I am). I said:
“While this show may tread closely toward procedural territory, the spin of having the principal character be immortal is intriguing. How the creators choose to vector the story will indicate how long the show will last (i.e. how many people will watch). I do enjoy Ioan Gruffudd and Judd Hirsch as well.”
While said vector was largely enjoyable and created an entertaining and touching story that repeatedly drew this viewer as well as the podcast panel in and spurred the need to see more, not enough viewers, apparently, caught on to this intelligent and unusual serial that might have been derivative of other TV fare but presented its derivation in a unique and heartfelt way. I watched the show’s one and only season despite its cancellation because there was quite a large groundswell of fan support for this show, culminating in the #SaveForever fan campaign following its cancellation, and friends of mine, some of which appear on this podcast, watched it and loved it. I courted the known but nonetheless painful sting of network axing by watching Forever on Hulu following its cancellation. The podcast panel and I agree: cancellation was a mistake, and one that may never be rectified.
How – as in How Was It?
The pilot/premiere rating scale:
***** – I HAVE TO WATCH EVERYTHING. HOLY SMOKES!
**** – Well, it certainly seems intriguing. I’m going to keep watching, but I see possible pitfalls in the premise.
*** – I will give it six episodes and see what happens. There are things I like, and things I don’t. We’ll see which “things” are allowed to flourish.
** – I will give it three episodes. Chances are, I’m mainly bored, but there is some intrigue or fascination that could hold it together. No matter how unlikely.
* – Pass on this one, guys. It’s a snoozer/not funny/not interesting/not my cup of tea… there are too many options to waste time on this one.
Forever = 4.8 – average of the podcast panel
Forever centers on the character of Dr. Henry Morgan (Gruffudd), who is an immortal New York City medical examiner. He uses his extensive knowledge and Sherlock-like powers of deduction to assist the New York City Police Department (NYPD) in solving crimes and to discover a way to end his immortality. Flashbacks within each episode reveal various details of Henry’s life and mete out some of the mysterious circumstances behind his immortality, as well as describe the many lifetimes he’s lived. Since his first death by point blank shooting, while trying to free slaves as a doctor aboard a ship involved in the African slave trade in the eighteenth century, Henry disappears each time he dies and returns to life, naked, in a nearby body of water (most often the East River while in New York City) without aging a day. Henry’s long life has afforded him encyclopedic knowledge and remarkable observation skills which impress most people he encounters, including Detective Jo Martinez (Alana de la Garza). Only antiquarian Abe (Judd Hirsch), whom Henry and his now-deceased wife Abigail found as a newborn in a German concentration camp during World War II, and who Henry regards as a son, despite the fact that Abe has surpassed his surrogate father in age, knows that he is immortal. Henry is stalked throughout the series by “Adam,” who is also an immortal, and claims to have been alive for two millennia.
The cancellation of Forever was something of a surprise to this viewer, particularly given how many people, according to the interwebs and this viewer’s own inner circle, seemed to like it. Normally, CPU! would (likely) not podcast a canceled show; however, the passion is strong for Forever, and we at CPU! thought we might offer our own earnest if belated plea to #SaveForever. So, I invited a few fellow Forever followers to discuss our devotion to this short-lived series and our pangs of betrayal and disappointment regarding its untimely demise.
Fair warning: the recording location and logistics were a bit trickier than normal, so the recording almost sounds as if we were sitting in a tunnel near a large air vent. Being somewhat of an intermediate sound mixer, I can vouch that the final product is better than the initial rough cut. You can hear us, but pay no attention to the “atmosphere.” Television podcasting is somewhat of a mobile art for us right now.
Anyway, give this brand new podcast episode a listen, and comment on what you think below!
Forever is recommended to viewers who enjoy crime dramas, such as Bones or Castle, but also to viewers who like fantasy added to their television mix. The podcast panel felt that Forever might appeal to fans of Once Upon a Time and Sleepy Hollow as well as to fans of Ringer (due to Gruffudd) or fans of Judd Hirsch, as he has a lovable role as Henry’s “son” Abe. Fans of Orange is the New Black may recognize the actress who played Vee, Lorraine Toussaint. In all honesty, though, Forever has something for everyone, and it’s disappointing that not enough of “everyone” found it.
THE FUTURE OF THE SHOW:
Canceled! ABC canceled Forever in May 2015 as one of the few of the shows canceled by the alphabet network. There is no word yet on whether any other network–general, cable, or streaming–plans to pick it up, and the show has not yet been made available for purchase or rental via most sites. There is a mystery in the hold-up surrounding home video release – maybe we’ll be surprised again as many of us were by the cancellation. It’s worth the watch, even though most of the podcast panel did not feel an immediate need to watch it repeatedly (as it was only one season and our questions will, seemingly, never be answered).