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Is 'Forever' the new 'New Amsterdam'?

What’s that show about the immortal guy who lives in New York and solves crimes? If you answer Forever on ABC, you’re correct. But you can also claim New Amsterdam, Fox’s 2008 drama, and you’re still right. And not just kind of right; you’re still-gets-points-on-Jeopardy right. (Yes, they would probably have to consult the judges, but they’d give it to you.)

I was first drawn to Forever because of its similarities to New Amsterdam. In high school, I was obsessed with New Amsterdam and absolutely crushed when Fox canceled it after only eight episodes. I still think about the show and which direction the story might have gone if it had been given a chance. So imagine my utter delight when I heard that New Amsterdam, one of my biggest shows-that-got-away, was essentially coming back!

I was excited to see Forever revitalizing the  undying do-gooder storyline, but I didn’t have expectations of the shows being similar aside from the logline. Imagine the differences that these two shows could have! But when I watched Forever‘s pilot, the similarities just kept stacking up. By the end of the episode, I was happily surprised to see that I was wrong. Immortal New Yorkers are basically all the same, so let’s examine some of the strange coincidences between these shows.

They’re about immortal guys in New York City

1400.5x2John Amsterdam (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau), the protagonist of New Amsterdam, was a Dutch settler in the 1600s. He’s been in New York ever since, and he takes photos in the same spot in Times Square every year or so to document the changes.

Henry Morgan (Ioan Gruffudd), the protagonist of Forever, has been in New York for at least 100 years, but he’s moved around to protect his secret.

 The immortal guys help solve crimes

John is a homicide detective. Henry is a medical examiner.

They both have cool lady partners to help solve those crimesForever 3

John’s partner is Detective Eva Marquez (Zuleikha Robinson). Henry works with Detective Jo Martinez (Alana de Garza). Both ladies are cool, independent, homicide detectives who are not intimidated by their weird, secretive partners.

They both hang out with an old guy who knows all their secrets

John hangs out with Omar (Stephen Henderson). Henry lives with Abe (Judd Hirsch).

Both of their old guy pals are actually their sons

This was a big twist in New Amsterdam. On Forever, I saw it coming.

Omar is John’s birth son, while Abe was adopted. But both result in 30-something men parenting 60-somethings, and it is very entertaining.

Both sons have their own business, and Dad has a secret hideout there

Omar has a jazz club and bar; Abe has an antiques store. Their respective fathers hang out in a secret room and do brooding, immortal guy stuff.

They both died protecting an oppressed person

John died saving a Native American woman during the Dutch’s occupation of New Amsterdam in the 1640s. The woman was a shaman and cast a spell on John, so that he won’t age until he finds “the one” and their souls unite.

Henry was the doctor on a slave ship in the early 1800s and took a bullet protecting an ill man that the captain wanted to throw overboard. He woke up in the water, and he’s been immortal ever since.

Flashbacks are important and frequent

When you have centuries of memories, they’re bound to come up from time to time. On both shows, the flashbacks show parts of the protagonist’s personal life and past events that relate to their present-day cases.

Neither one has been proven to be based on Pete Hamill’s book Forever

The book Forever is also aNew Amsterdam Partnersbout an immortal immigrant living in New York. Hamill and his camp have accused both Forever (the show) and New Amsterdam for appropriating material (and in one case, the title, too) from his book, but neither show has cited the story as inspiration or claimed to be aware of said similarities. Matt Miller, the creator of Forever, insists he had no knowledge of New Amsterdam before creating his series.  Immortality is hardly a new concept, and New York is a pretty fascinating place with a lot of history, which could explain the broader coincidences. But these are some awfully big ones.

But these shows do have their differences, too. John on New Amsterdam could not die. Henry on Forever can die (and does, frequently), but he always comes back to life. John jokes about his past. He talks about his 609 girlfriends and how he’s been sober for 15,000-odd days. Henry, meanwhile, is secretive and doesn’t talk much about his personal life or history. John has been in love many times, but he’s always moving on from woman to woman trying to find “the one.” Henry has probably had numerous relationships, but his story focuses only on his true love, Abigail. Perhaps the most significant difference, though, is that John knows what his curse is. He knows how he got it, why he got it, and when it will end. Henry knows none of those things and has been searching for answers for centuries.

New Amsterdam’s short run makes me nervous about Forever’s longevity. If such similar shows have failed in the past, how can we expect them to succeed now (especially with Forever’s dipping ratings)? I hope that Forever can defy the odds and hang in there. I’m excited to find out more about Henry and his curse, his relationships, and his last 200 years. Plus, my heart can’t take losing New Amsterdam twice.

Forever airs Tuesdays at 10/9C on ABC.

TV Families | EW.com
Mark Harris
February 23, 1990 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Bradys are back, with a passel of 90’s hassles. Do they represent the typical American Family? Did they ever? Who does? Stare and compare!

Kind Of Family
TheBradyBunch 1969-74: Blended
The Bradys 1990-: Enormous
Married…With Children 1987-: Postnuclear
Thirtysomething 1987-: Extended
The Flintstones 1960-66: Modern Stone Age

Family Pet
The Brady Bunch: Tiger
The Bradys: Alice
Married…With Children: Buck
Thirtysomething: Grendel
The Flintstones: Dino

Typical Guest Star
The Brady Bunch: Davey Jones
The Bradys: There’s no room
Married…With Children: Sam Kinison
Thirtysomething: Carly Simon
The Flintstones: Ann Margrock

Expression Of Joy
The Brady Bunch: Groovy!
The Bradys: Ritual hugging
Married…With Children: ”Oh, great.”
Thirtysomething: ”Of course I’m happy for you. Really. But what about me? Why does it always have to be about you?
The Flintstones: ”Yabba-dabba doo

Expression Of Rage

The Brady Bunch: ”Hmmm…”
The Bradys: ”If you back away from something you really want, then you’re a quitter!” (the angriest any Brady has ever been)
Married…With Children: ”Aaagh, God, take me from this miserable life!”
Thirtysomething: ”I’m not angry, OK?”
The Flintstones: ”Willllmaaaa!”

Typical Problem
The Brady Bunch: Marcia and her rival both want to be the prom queen.
The Bradys: Bobby gets paralyzed.
Married…With Children: Al doesn’t buy his family Christmas presents.
Thirtysomething: Nancy gets cancer.
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney are staying out too late.

Typical Solution
The Brady Bunch: The prom committee decides to have two queens.
The Bradys: Bobby gets married.
Married…With Children: They hate him.
Thirtysomething: If only we knew…
The Flintstones: Wilma and Betty decide to follow them.

House Style
The Brady Bunch: Conservative but mod, circa ’69
The Bradys: Conservative but mod, circa ’90
Married…With Children: Roach motel
Thirtysomething: Enviable
The Flintstones: Suburban cave

Clothing Style
The Brady Bunch: Early Osmonds
The Bradys: Made in the USA
Married…With Children: Flammable fabrics
Thirtysomething: Eclectic earth tones; nice ties
The Flintstones: One-piece

Most Annoying Character
The Brady Bunch: Alice’s cousin Emma, the substitute housekeeper (too strict)
The Bradys: Marcia’s husband, Wally (chronically unemployable)
Married…With Children: Steve (supercilious)
Thirtysomething: Ellyn (goes through Hope’s drawers, babbles, changes hairstyle every other week, generally mistreats her friends)
The Flintstones: Mr. Slate (bossy)

Attitude Toward Sex
The Brady Bunch: Never heard of it
The Bradys: Omigod — even Cindy does it!
Married…With Children: Peg: Yes. Al: No.
Thirtysomething: They didn’t get all those kids by accident.
The Flintstones: Prehistoric

How Spouses Fight
The Brady Bunch: They don’t.
The Bradys: Infrequently, but it happens
Married…With Children: Tooth and nail
Thirtysomething: They stop talking
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney go bowling while Wilma and Betty max out their charge cards.

How Kids Get Into Trouble
The Brady Bunch: Greg takes a puff of a cigarette.
The Bradys: Carol’s grandson steals her business cards and sticks them in the spokes of Bobby’s wheelchair.
Married…With Children: By committing felonies
Thirtysomething: Ethan plays with a forbidden toy rocket.
The Flintstones: They don’t.

How They’re Punished

The Brady Bunch: ”It’s not what you did, honey — it’s that you couldn’t come to us.”
The Bradys ”Next time, ask.”
Married…With Children: By the authorities
Thirtysomething: It blows up in his face.
The Flintstones: They’re not.

What Family Does For Fun
The Brady Bunch: Takes special three-part vacations to Hawaii and the Grand Canyon
The Bradys: Has flashbacks
Married…With Children: Exchanges insults
Thirtysomething: Talks
The Flintstones: Attends showings of The Monster at the Bedrock Drive-In

Unsolved Mysteries
The Brady Bunch: How exactly did Carol’s first husband and Mike’s first wife die?
The Bradys: What’s with Marcia’s new face and Bobby’s blonde hair
Married…With Children: What kind of hair spray does Peg use?
Thirtysomething: Why did Nancy take Elliot back? What do Gary and Susanna see in each other?
The Flintstones: How does Barney’s shirt stay on if he has no shoulders? Where do Fred and Wilma plug in their TV?

Worst Behavior
The Brady Bunch: The Brady children once made Alice feel under-appreciated.

The Bradys: Marcia’s son Mickey watches Bobby’s car-crash tape for fun.
Married…With Children: The Bundy’s kill their neighbor’s dog.
Thirtysomething: Elliot has an affair and talks about it.
The Flintstones: Characters don’t wear under-clothes.

Best Reason To Watch
The Brady Bunch: This is what life should be.
The Bradys: They’re all grown-ups now!
Married…With Children: Terry Rakolta hates it.
Thirtysomething (Tie) This is your life. This isn’t your life.
The Flintstones: This is what life might have been.

Best Reason Not To Watch
The Brady Bunch: Blurred vision from rerun overdoses.
The Bradys: You’re all grown-ups now.
Married…With Children: She has a point.
Thirtysomething: After a while, you think it’s real.
The Flintstones: The Simpsons

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