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A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Forever is a drama about an immortal medical examiner who solves crimes. Part of the conceit of his character is that he dies repeatedly, in colorful, violent ways: being impaled by a steel bar during a train crash, being shot, and by leaping off a tall building with a murderer. In addition, his work as an ME means that dead bodies, including gory ones with the skin taken off, are shown offscreen, as are autopsies, though we don't see dead bodies actually getting flayed or cut into. Crimes and deaths are discussed in graphic detail. Most of the main characters are single and interested; expect dating, kissing, and references to sex. Characters drink wine on-screen.
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What's the story?
Dr. Henry Morgan (Ioan Gruffudd) is a man with a secret: Since he was born over 200 years ago, he hasn't been able to die. Living FOREVER isn't all it's cracked up to be. He's had to watch everyone he's loved wither and die as he hangs on to life, emerging alive, and naked, from the water each time he's "killed." But this time around he thinks he may be on to the secret of his never-ending life, with a shadowy villain stalking him who seems to know more about him than he should. He also has an interesting new side career as a medical examiner in the service of the NYPD under the auspices of Jo Martinez (Alana de la Garza), herself a recent widow. When she stumbles upon Morgan's secret, she becomes one of only two people in the world who know, including Morgan's only friend, taxi driver Abe (Judd Hirsch). Wait, make that three people, because Morgan's stalker just sent him an ominous package ...
Is it any good?
Overstuffed with plot and resoundingly silly, Forever is nonetheless a lot of fun in the mold of Sleepy Hollow or a show those under 40 may not remember at all: Beauty and the Beast (the 1980s version, not the recent remake). In fact, with its gothic settings in Olde (and also modern) New York and its tragically flawed hero, Forever recalls Beauty quite strongly, though it boasts an exceptionally handsome, instead of hairy, main character. Gruffudd, all square jaw and sardonic eyebrow, has a great way of putting across sublimely ridiculous sequences, like the ones in which he has a Sherlock-like ability to suss out things about characters: He figures out one young cellist's profession by noting string impressions on her fingers and decides another character's bereaved because she's squinting. Dopey! But OK, it moves the plot along.
The crime-of-the-week setup isn't exactly fresh, but that familiarity makes the show easy to watch, as does the charming interplay between Gruffudd and the other characters. Clearly the main story arc is about Gruffudd/Morgan's immortality and how he got that way, and it's an interesting one. Parents may not appreciate that the case-of-the-week structure tends to trivialize violence and crime and lessen its impact. Still, for older viewers, or for families who enjoy cop shows with a fantastic twist, Forever is a pretty pleasant way to spend an hour.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the notion of immortality presented in Forever. Is Dr. Henry Morgan happy about his immortality? Would you enjoy being immortal? Why, or why not? Why do you suppose Dr. Morgan doesn't appear to age? Why would a TV show want this in a star?
Forever is a mix between two popular network genres: the police procedural and the fantasy show. Can you name other shows of each type? How is Forever similar to these shows? How is it different?
How do you suppose Dr. Morgan has kept working as a doctor for two centuries? How does he get modern credentials? How does he explain to his colleagues that he doesn't age?