Forever or Maybe Just a Repeat of the Same

Ioan Gruffudd, formerly known as Mr Fantastic, is an immoral medical examiner with an English accent in the ABC series Forever.

I sat there watching the first episode thinking about the exec meeting that took place prior to the series getting a green light. Imagine the scene, it is the ABC executive board room, the walls are lined with framed posters of Lost, now a long forgotten memory of success, Supernanny and Ugly Betty, only barely hanging onto the wall after crashing and burning. A Nashville poster takes a central place, the whole network holding onto the vainest of hopes after only just renewing the twenty-something country and western musical drama. And then there is The Neighbors. Did I get that right? The Neighbors? People watch that? Sorry, I dunno.

The file into the room. Seriously suited execs. The spectre of Disney bearing over them, threatening to absorb them into the happy smiling wonderland of Disney productions. The meeting starts:

Exec 1: So what’s big?
Exec 2: Vampires are always good.
Exec 1: Been done.
Exec 3: Sherlock Holmes is doing well.
Exec 1: We’ll spend years in court getting rights to the name.
Exec 2: People like buddie cop shows.
Exec 1: Done to death.
Exec 3: Unbreakable was a good film. How about a film to TV series transition?
Exec 1: Too many film to TV shows. Did anyone actually watch Dusk till Dawn?
Exec 2: Couldn’t we restart the Highlander TV show?
Exec 1: Copyrighted.
Exec 4: I know, let’s put them altogether. We could have an immortal man who solves crimes with a genius IQ he has cultivated over hundreds of years and after getting involved with a police detective is contacted by a man who is also immortal who causes disasters to find other immortals.
Exec 1: Genius. The rest of you are fired.
Exec 2: Hey anyone know anything about Captain Scarlet?
Exec 3: No idea, why?
Exec 2: Ah nothing. My kid was talking about it.
Exec 3: I was looking forward to watching something called New Amsterdam.

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16 thoughts on “Forever or Maybe Just a Repeat of the Same

  1. The sponsors of network (the C’s) shows would not want me to respond to their surveys. And I may buy their products but not because of the influence of their commercials on the C’s. That’s because I don’t watch. I do watch television but I skip around a lot. Mostly on the upper channels where I can learn something about vintage cars, gold mining or cattle ranching in Alaska. If my income depended upon me answering trivia questions about network TV shows aired after 1973 I would be homeless and starving. Well, my doctor has me almost starving now so I would at least be living in a cardboard tent under the Airport Road bridge.

    Where is the talent? There a tons of capable minds out there that can write screenplays and scripts. Has Hollywood run them all off to work as telemarketers? I wonder. You must be either extremely well paid or drink heavily before sitting through what the C’s are offering. Me, I’m going to write for a while and then settle in for the salmon fishing and beekeeping episode on one of the upper channels a little later.

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    1. Hi Mike, I do have to wonder whether there are any capable minds working in TV or whether it is all about pushing products. A sad state of affairs. There are a few worthwhile narratives and ideas out there. The problem with the good ones is they are artificially lengthened to squeeze out season after season of much of the same, or cut short because they only get 4 millions viewers and not 6 million viewers.

      I think I’ll join you in the beekeeping catch up.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I suppose I’m intended to infer from the network executive hijinks that you did not like “Forever”, but since I’ve never seen it, I figured I’d ask for some clarification. Is it only the concept that you’re taking issue with, or there a lackluster execution as well? I quite like Gruffudd after Hornblower, Mr. Fantastic (those films weren’t great, but the casting was quite spot-on) and a fairly likable guy amidst psychopaths on “Ringer”, so that combined with the immortal-angle made me a bit curious. But the obvious Holmes/House rip-off and done-to-death medical show angle put me off enough that I never got around to giving it a glance. If the quality is there, though, I don’t mind how cynically rehashed the concept originally was, so I thought I’d check whether to keep this on my list or not.

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      1. Sounds like the exact kind of “this is really underwhelming but has the potential to get good any minute” stuff I get stuck watching for years on the off chance it’ll improve. So probably for the best I never checked it out, then. Thanks for the insight!

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      2. I’ve honestly lost count, but I checked out about 40-50 new shows each year the past three years, plus a few older ones when I (rarely) find the time, and a lot of them get renewed, so …

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      3. Well, 95% of them I watch with my wife, and we’re not that social people, so we stay in watching TV pretty much six evenings out of seven. The ones I watch on my own (usually because my wife tried the first couple of episodes with me and disliked it) are much more slow going — I work from home, so I usually manage to fit one in with lunch, and maybe a predictably procedural one that doesn’t require a lot of attention while I make supper or do dishes (no commute, you know), but that’s about it.

        But yeah. If we ever have kids I’ll have to make some ridiculously tough choices on how to cut, I don’t know, nine tenths of that off the bat.

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      4. If you ever have kids you can just start on their shows. I see you have already started with Star Wars: Rebels. It will just be a lot more Mickey Mouse and a lot less crime and brutal violence. It could be calming.

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      5. I/We watch plenty of kids shows already, if they’re good ones. In the last few years we’ve watched end-to-end on “Emperor’s New School” and “Kim Possible”, and right now we’re almost done with “Samurai Jack”. 😉 I don’t discriminate with age demographics, good TV is good TV.

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      6. Agreed, it’s really, really great. Those other two were decent, but “Samurai Jack” is in a class of its own as far as children shows we’ve checked out in the last few years go. Oh, actually, not entirely on its own — “Avatar: The Last Airbender” would be in that category too.

        Anyway, we just have a half-season left of “Samurai Jack” now, and my understanding is it never got a proper conclusion? Too bad. Might have to check out those comic book continuations I heard about to soothe the abstinences.

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      7. The lack of ending to Samurai Jack was a little disappointing, but I tend to put it in the Lone Wolf and Cub, Ulysses 31 and Quantum Leap category which suggest that the point is the continued journey.

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      8. Haven’t seen any of those, I’m afraid. But yes, sure, I see your point. Though I think even a story about a journey can benefit from havung some sort of end. It can be open-ended, but there’s a difference between an intentionally open-ended finale and a finale that becomes the end by default when no more ends up being made.

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      9. Quantum Leap was a late 80s show I used to watch as a kid. I loved it, watched every week. Recorded it and watched it again. Then the series finale came along and I have never watched it since. It had an ending but it just didn’t live up to the journey of the series.
        The Lone Wolf and Cub was, I think, a comic made into a series of 70s slasher samurai films. Well worth the watch.

        Liked by 1 person

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