Portrait of Jennie. It’s a Wonderful Life. Forever.
I must confess. I am a woman on a mission, and that mission is to convince cozy mystery readers to watch a new murder mystery, Forever, that recently premiered on the ABC network. Dr. Henry Morgan is the Medical Examiner for the NYPD, still grieving the loss of Abigail, his one true love. Jo Martinez is the detective he assists, and often annoys. She is also grieving the more recent loss of her husband. There are wonderful secondary characters such as Lucas, who assists Henry in the morgue, obviously wants to be just like him someday, and is a kind of modern day Watson to Henry’s Holmes. Abe is Henry’s closest living relative, an older gentleman who owns an antique shop filled with fascinating curios. There are dreamy flashbacks to past times that are lovely and romantic. So far, so good, for most cozy readers, so why (you may ask) do I feel that you may not give this fascinating mystery a chance? Because it falls into a category that most of my genteel readers have said they don’t care for – fantasy/supernatural.
My mission is to share one vital fact with you: Forever is not supernatural. At least, not in the monsters/zombies/graphic novel sense of the word. It is certainly not written to appeal only to teens, the targeted demographic for the current craze. Instead, Forever is an intelligent, beautifully filmed, moving and thoughtful show that is very much like the lovely and beloved films Portrait of Jennie and It’s a Wonderful Life. Yes, these films fall into the Fantasy category, but the supernatural element is not the central idea or the defining arc of their stories. Each of these films were about the characters, their journeys of discovery and the wisdom they gained, the people they loved, the obstacles they overcame. These beloved movies explored themes of love, faith, and hope, just as Forever does.
The cinematic beauty of Forever is another reason I’ve fallen for this show. Much of the charm and beauty of Portrait of Jennie was created through beautiful photography and soaring music, as much a part of the story as the moving and memorable performances by Jennifer Jones and Joseph Cotten. In a similar way, Forever’s cinematography is often stunning, scenes are captured in a way that adds to the poignancy or shock of the moment, and this elegantly compliments the story that is being told by actors Ioan Gruffudd (as Henry) and Alana De La Garza (as Jo). There are also opening and closing voiceovers reminiscent of Rod Serling’s Twilight Zone, introducing or wrapping the story in words that are warm or wise, encouraging or cautionary. There are suspenseful moments and surprising twists that must certainly have been inspired by Hitchcock; the pace, the timing, the music or the frightening silence bring to mind the best of the Master of Suspense, and I am happy to say, these qualities have been skillfully applied in every episode to date of this intriguing new series.
And, as if those reasons to watch were not enough, the end of every episode makes me look forward to the next one. I’m not going to reveal any spoilers. Let’s just say that the closing commentary and scenes will always leave you moved, happy, sometimes tearful, and forever fascinated by this exceptional new show.
Ready to give it a chance? Watch online now at the ABC site, or stream episodes on Amazon. Begin with the Pilot episode, give it a few minutes to get past the yukky stuff (Henry is a coroner, after all), and I believe that you, like me, will quickly become a fan, Forever.
Please visit my Forever fan page for more information on this fascinating show.