Forever is ABC’s new series. It is part crime series, part mystery. I hesitate to call it sci-fi because it only has one of the ordinary element: the main character is immortal. The mystery is why, how, and can he do something to allow him to die.
Dr. Henry Morgan is over 200 years old. Originally he was a doctor aboard a British ship in the early 1800’s. He was murdered for trying to protect a slave who was ill. After being shot and thrown overboard, dead, he found himself very much alive, though naked and in water. Ever since then he has remained the same youthful age, and every time he dies, be it by poison, being shot, or being hit by a car, he always returns to the land of the living, in water, naked. If there was ever a way to make death humorous, this may just be it!
The series premiered on Monday, September 22nd and then aired its next episode on its regular night, Tuesdays at 9/8c. I happened to watch it completely by chance. I hadn’t heard about it, having been far too busy to watch any TV lately. The show immediately caught my attention and at first I didn’t know why. When it dawned on me I couldn’t help grinning and I knew I liked the show.
What made me grin? If you are a fan of Amanda Tapping’s Sanctuary, you may want to check out Forever. Forever reminds me of Sanctuary! Specifically, Dr. Henry Morgan reminds me of Dr. Helen Magnus. They both have the same problem. They can’t age and die of natural causes. In Henry’s case he can’t die from unnatural causes either. Both are forced to outlive everyone they ever come to care about, and both seek ways to solve their condition, seeing it as more of a curse than a gift.
Both characters are British, and quite clearly proud of it. While Henry is older than Helen by roughly 50 years, you can sense the Edwardian/Victorian Era influences in both of them. Both have a sharp wit and will happily use their unique perspective of history to prove their arguments.
Both Dr. Morgan and Dr. Magnus are exceptionally smart. Some of it comes from being long lived. Wisdom comes with age you know! In Helen’s case we know she was an enigma in her time even before her experiments gave her the gift of long life. Henry is very astute, having made one study after another, becoming an expert in death in an attempt to solve his problem. Helen made it her life’s work to seek out the unknown and misunderstood in the hope of finding a cure for her condition.
Henry’s intelligence is actually becoming annoying. Why? Because like far too many shows jumping on the bandwagon lately, it screams “Sherlock Holmes.” When you have a male British character in a crime drama it seems he automatically becomes this great detective. He notices things outside of his realm of expertise. Henry is a pathologist, but in less than a minute after meeting someone he can tell them their life story. He is able to tell with certainty whether or not someone is lying. He can do the work of the entire police department himself and he has just enough arrogance to point out the flaws in everyone else’s theories. He can be rude and insensitive towards people and get away with it. There are a few aspects of Henry that do not fit the Holmes mold, but by and large the similarities in basic character are very strong and I wish they would stop.
Actor Ioan Gruffudd does an excellent job of bringing the character of Henry Morgan to life . . . over and over again! I am familiar with his work on the Horatio Hornblower series that he first starred in back in 1998. While the historical British naval drama may not have made waves in the sci-fi community, it was enough of a hit in other circles to be revived again and again through 2003. Sci-fi and comic fans will recognize Gruffudd as Mr. Fantastic of the 2007 Fantastic Four movie. After seeing this much of his work I have no doubt that he is an excellent choice for this series.
Forever has the unfortunate risk of falling into the same category as so many crime shows these days. Castle, The Mentalist, Elementary, and White Collar are all shows that involve an atypical character who starts working with the police to solve crimes, even if their help is not wanted. Each show is wonderful in its own way. Each main character has his or her own demons and talents that help define them, but the basic plot is very much the same. It remains to be seen whether Henry Morgan’s immortality will help Forever stand out among the crowd. For now, I’m hooked.