Forever focuses on Dr. Henry Morgan (Ioan Gruffudd) an M.E. who helps the police department with criminal cases, whilst also trying to solve the mystery behind his own immortality. Warning, spoilers ahead.
Forever is one of the shows you just can’t help liking. There’s a sweetness about it that makes you smile throughout. Perhaps that might be because it’s lead, Ioan Gruffudd, is so likeable and charming in the role. I always find it quite difficult to love a lead right off the bat; usually there are funnier or more interesting secondary characters that I’m drawn to first. Whilst there are some great secondary characters, Gruffudd does such a great job that he effortlessly manages to steal every scene. Bonus points for letting him keep his Welsh accent; it makes the character seem more authentic. Him serving as a narrator also works well, in many shows the narration seems forced or unnecessary but in this case it actually adds to the charm and plot. What I really loved though was the character’s vulnerability, both his fear of being exposed and his fear of death made him very relatable. Gruffudd did a fantastic job in the more sensitive scenes and I hope we get to see more of that as it gives both his character and the show more depth.
Each of the supporting actors are strong in their roles, made more so by their chemistry with Gruffudd. We can see that the writers are already laying the groundwork for potential romance between Henry and Detective Martinez (Alana de la Garza). They have a kind of Castle/Beckett rapport going on, something I’m sure the fans will love. Alana de la Garza plays the feisty detective, with a complicated personal life, well. I love that they’ve hinted at potential addiction issues; in the pilot we see references to her problems with alcohol, adding a darker layer to the show. Hopefully they’ll pursue this as it would be interesting to see such a major character struggle with addiction, especially in her profession.
Judd Hirsch plays Abe, the only person who knows of Henry’s immortality. The mystery surrounding his background is revealed at the end of the pilot, showing why he and Henry share such a strong bond. Their relationship is another highlight of the show. Both interchange in the father and son roles, which is rather interesting to watch. Henry has raised Abe as his son and now Abe is getting older and closer to death. It adds an emotional layer to all of their scenes as both know the inevitable outcome. It’ll be interesting to see, if the show gets renewed, whether they decide to kill Abe off and the implication that will have for Henry.
The comedy element comes from Henry’s colleague, Lucas, played by the very capable Joel David Moore. It’s almost as if he represents the audience, asking Henry the questions we would if we were there, constantly enquiring about his strange behaviour. The only negative I would have to mention is that he was underused in the pilot, but I would predict that there will be more character development from him in forthcoming episodes.
What I really love about Forever is that for all its sweetness and charm, it also has a very dark and sinister side to it. The mystery caller on the phone, who shares Henry’s inability to die, comes across as very chilling and dangerous. This storyline might actually be more interesting than the immortality mystery. The pilot sets up this person as an antagonist for Henry and I think the show did well by just using his voice. I find that a villain always seems scarier if you can’t see their face; it has also made the show much more suspenseful and thrilling. Whoever the voice turns out to be, it will be an exciting reveal.
This show has real potential; it was both enjoyable and exciting. That being said it is entering a saturated market; there are so many crime shows on air that you need something special to succeed. However the immortality factor is a unique spin which really works in its favour. Adding in the darker and more emotional elements of the show, as well as having an outstanding cast, this show could be a real winner for ABC.