Forever is the title of a 2014-2015 American police procedural TV show. It lasted for one season and I am currently two episodes from the end. I think if the show had continued I would still stop around the end of the first season.
It is a cop show were the two leads are a female detective and a male coroner. Dr. Henry Morgan is blessed or cursed with seeming immortality. He has been alive for the past 200 years. Not to say he doesn’t die, he just keeps coming back at the same age and apparently in the same physical condition. He doesn’t appear to age either. It is kind of a cheesy concept, that I found a little interesting – at least to start. Unfortunately, I don’t think they made very good use of the two hundred year old history. While the plots are filled with lots of twists that sweep you through the 50 minute time frame, I have several problems with the program.
I think a lot of the problems stem from the nature of TV. It is episodic. Further, to exacerbate this characteristic, it has different writers working on each episode. This leads to a number of inconsistencies which become even more numerous and glaring as time progresses.
With the coroner being detailed oriented and very intelligent, it was very noticeable when he contradicts his own words between episodes. One example of this occurs when a murder victim is slashed across the throat. He points out, that the killer was smart enough not to pull back the head as that action pushes the cartilage supported trachea (the windpipe) forward thus protecting the main arteries in the neck. By titling the head forward the cut is easier and more effective in killing the victim. A couple of episodes later, the good Dr. himself is killed with a knife to the throat. Again he comments on the ruthless proficiency of the killer who pulls back his head and slices his neck open. Obvious contradiction to earlier information.
The side characters are constantly changing opinions. Abe, the Dr.’s adopted son from WWII could have been an interesting character with such a long shared history with Henry. Unfortunately, the writers struggle to know what the relationship is, how to develop it and more importantly how to keep Abe’s character consistent. He is always flip-flopping between pushing Henry to keep his secrete and share his secrete. It doesn’t make sense. The relationship they do have is clichéd and worse very shallow – mostly because there is no single writer to properly showcase the complexities of a 65 year old son living with a 200 year old father who appears to be 35 years old.
Lucas is the assistant M.E. He is best written as smart and capable with a strong regard for Henry. But again, the writers are not always consistent with him. Occasionally he is treated like an nerdy, idiot that no one wants to associate with. It is just so muddled that I find it frustrating.
Then we come to the biggest issue I have with the program, Adam. He is another immortal having been alive for some 2,000 years – or so he claims. I understand and even appreciate the desire to have some greater arc to a TV series. Sure each episode is a new crime to be solved, but watching characters change and evolve; learning about their histories can in theory be a strong draw for a program. If it is done well. Unfortunately, Adam, much like Red John in the Mentalist, is more of an irritating and jarring addition to the set. He doesn’t fit. His desire to taunt Henry is more off putting than engaging. For a man who is supposedly 2,000 years old he is shockingly bland as a character. He is also, surprise, surprise, Henry’s nemesis (mostly). Why? For reasons is the best I can discern.
I do, sincerely appreciate the idea of Adam. It is good in many ways to have another character who is also in the same predicament as the Dr. If done well, it could be used to show how people would view immortality differently. How they would live their lives differently. But I don’t feel that is accomplished. Adam is tossed in for the cheap, meaningless moments of stress for Henry. He attempts to challenge Henry’s views and actions only work to show how shallow of a character our 200 year old man is.
And if that wasn’t enough, the series has started to fall into the main trap of shipping the two leads. Really? Why does Detective Jo and Dr. Henry have to be in a relationship with each other? Why can’t they have relationships with other characters? The program teases you with such possibilities, but in the end (literally the third last episode) we have Jo trying to express her feelings for the Dr. who has only shown interest as a friend. It is such an over done cliché that I cannot properly express my utter disappointment in the series for doing this. Completely Disappoint.
In the end, I am glad Forever didn’t last. It really couldn’t in my mind. Not with the shallow characters and standard plot. There are dozens of police procedurals on TV. Even within a program you can only kill a person so many ways before things start to become repetitive. Multiple writers might bring new and crazy ideas for the cop part of the show – different killers and methods of crime – but they also reduce the opportunity for the main characters to develop. You can’t have character or world growth in a consistent world with different people writing each episode. With the change in writer you change the voice of the characters on screen, because what most people fail to realize is how important a good writer is to a movie or TV show. Writers are important, but writing for TV seems to create some obstacles that cannot be overcome. At least, I haven’t seen it done well yet.