Forever: Does ABC's Immortal Drama Have Staying Power?

Forever Series Premiere Recap

Every time he dies, Forever‘s Dr. Henry Morgan comes back to life. But will you come back for more of ABC’s newest drama?

Before you answer, a brief recap:

We meet Henry (Ringer‘s Ioan Gruffudd) as he’s chatting up a pretty Russian woman on a New York City subway. But just as they’re making plans to hang out, the car jumps the track and crashes, killing nearly everyone on board — including the good doctor.

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Turns out, this is nothing new for Henry, who first died 200 years ago when he was shot and pushed off a ship for trying to save the life of one of the slaves in the hold. “Something happened that night. I was transformed,” he says via voiceover, going on to explain that he always returns from death naked and that the resurrection always occurs in water. Even more puzzling: He has no idea why.

The only one to know his secret is a pal, Abe (Taxi‘s Judd Hirsch). To everyone else, including Henry’s co-workers at the New York City Medical Examiner’s Office, he’s merely a very talented M.E. It’s at the morgue that Henry meets Det. Jo Martinez (Alana de la Garza, Law & Order), a recent widow and New York City cop who’s investigating the subway derailment.

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A mysterious caller to the morgue lets Henry know that his secret is out: A man claims to know about his immortality, making Henry demand that he and Abe leave town. But Abe won’t go, and eventually Henry agrees to stay put and fight back against the man threatening to expose him.

In flashbacks, we see Henry happily dancing with his wife Abigail, who apparently knows about his immortality, as well. “You were made like this for a reason,” she says, “but it wasn’t for me.” In the present day, Det. Martinez looks like the most likely bet for Henry’s love interest, though in the pilot, they merely work together on the subway case.

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He helps her track the man behind the subway “accident” to the roof of Grand Central Terminal, where Martinez is shot and Henry jumps off the roof — with the man in tow — in order to save everyone in the building. When the detective comes to in a hospital room, Henry is there to explain that the crazy man threw himself off the roof. Any good feelings Henry has are obliterated when the mystery man calls again and indicates that he, too, is immortal — and that he and Henry are soulmates destined to spend eternity together.

Henry is a protagonist straight outta the Mentalist or Elementary playbook: super-observant, conflicted, rather hot. And having Hirsch’s Abe turn out to be a World War II refugee Henry raised is a nice twist. But the drama will need to use every minute of its lifetime — however long that may be — to avoid the fate of the similarly themed, short-lived drama New Amsterdam.

Did you like Forever? Grade the episode via the poll below, then back up your choice in the comments!

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. says:

    I really enjoyed it. I will be back for more!

    • BrittBrat says:

      Same here! It was much better than I thought it was going to be. I just don’t know how it will do in the ratings. Monday is a tough night.

      • Stormy says:

        Loved it. Ioan Gruffudd is amazing. I fell in love with him on Castle. And that bit of a Jon Bon Jovi smile doesn’t hurt either. Totally chuffed!

      • maria says:

        It’s on again tomorrow night, so maybe Tuesday will be its permanent spot?

        • Tran says:

          Forever is in a tough spot in the 10 p.m. Tuesday night time slot going up against Chicago Fire (NBC), Person of Interest (CBS) and Sons of Anarchy (FX). ABC is still having rough luck in the Tuesdays at 10 time slot even though Private Practice & Body of Proof give it their best but what are the chances?

          • MKS says:

            doesn’t matter who you go up against. it matters how it stacks up against other shows on abc. who cares if its up against CF and POI.

        • Matt Webb Mitovich says:


    • tim says:

      It’s gonna get cancelled so dont get attached

      • Rebecca says:

        I hope not!

      • Stormy says:

        I hope you’re mistaken. If it is they can cast Ioan Gruffudd as a new love interest for Regina on OUAT so Robin Hood can go back to his wife and son.

        • JC1 says:

          Works for me.
          I liked Forever (and I wasn’t even originally planning on watching it in the first place) but I don’t expect it to last long with premiere numbers like that. 1.5 is not a good place to start. :(

  2. Cobra says:

    I thought it was great. Count me in!

  3. Caity says:

    I’ve been a fan of Ioan’s since the late 90’s when he was Horatio Hornblower on A&E (back when A&E was good and not reality crap). I was a young teen with the hugest crush on him! I have followed his career since and i am so happy he is starting to have some success here in America.

    I haven’t had a chance to watch the show yet, but I am on board just because of him! It is like he hasn’t aged a day! So hot!!

  4. Amie says:

    I liked it a lot better than I expected to. But it pretty much sucked me in. And Judd Hirsch was terrific. Loved that father/son dynamic.

    • Yeah, it’ll be interesting how they play with each of them loving the other like a father, especially I’m guessing Abe doesn’t know about how far their relationship goes.

      • Delirious says:

        I got the impression he knew (or at least, “kinda knew”) that he’s Henry’s grand(times N)son? That they were directly related, at the very least…

        • Delirious says:

          Wait, no, I remembered as soon as I hit “Post”… It’s his son, right? I saw the pilot when it leaked a few weeks ago…

          • Meg says:

            Abe was the baby that Henry’s wife found in the concentration camp in WWII, so Abe is Henry’s adopted son… I thought that was an interesting little twist. Also, Abe knows that Henry can’t die, or age… since Abe is in his 70s at this point, and Henry looks exactly the same as he has for Abe’s entire life.

          • John NYC says:

            They very deliberately focused in on the concentration camp tattoo on the baby Abigail gave Henry: the very same number they then did a closeup on of Abe’s arm.

  5. tara says:

    it was really good! better than i expected, to be honest. and the funny thing is, this show wasn’t on my list of new shows to try out. i hope it continues to be good, so that i’ll like it. also, i hope this show does well and gets enough fans so that it’ll be a success.

  6. maria says:

    Absolutely loved it. Excellent acting, intelligent writing, good pacing, and…the icing on the cake…Ioan is completely charming.

  7. Tran says:

    I give Forever a C. Several TV critics really didn’t like Forever and they recommended the series as a “skip it”. Hope the viewers are going to prove the critics or naysayers wrong.

  8. Hannah says:

    I got so turned off by the whole Sherlockian thing. So lazy, do we need 5,000 shows like that?

    • BrittBrat says:

      Yes, because Sherlock is awesome!!!!!

    • asm says:

      Yeah, me too! It’s just so unrealistic. It seems like this show is made for those who aren’t that smart.

      • AT says:

        What a condescending remark. All shows will be similar to something. Was Forever the best, most original show ever? No. But it fits into a genre or type of show that many people like and was done well. I personally thought it was entertaining. Not to mention Ioan Gruffudd is a fantastic actor. So personally, I think the show has potential and I’m definitely not stupid. As for the show, they should focus more on the mythology and less on the procedural angle (though not go down the route CW’s BATB unfortunately did). So if they find what works and really go there this show could become really great! This is only the pilot after all. I think it should become a romantic drama in the realms of Moonlight.

        • Stormy says:

          ITA It’s more interesting than Sleepy Hollow and Ioan Gruffudd is certainly more engaging than JLMiller on Elementary. So, it’s a bit time travel [Sleepy Hollow], a bit Sherlockian, a bit Highlander/The Immortal [old show starring Christopher George] and just a little forensic procedural. It’s kind of Chex Mix for the mind. Love it.

      • Kimberlee says:

        Grey’s Anatomy is has so many mistakes and it is so unrealistic. I have spoke to medical students and interns, and they say it’s nothing like Grey’s Anatomy, yet only “smart” people watch it? Ha, I think if people were smart enough, they won’t watch that show. Watch what you say, thousands of shows have many unrealistic aspects and make so many mistakes, but in the end it is just TV LAND. Just because a person watches a certain show, doesn’t mean they’re stupid. Some people watch a show for one hour of entertainment and laughter, to distress after a long, tiring day at work. You shouldn’t judge. I wonder how many stupid things you do for someone who indirectly claims to be smart. Also, what were you doing watching that show if you are smart? A quick search would’ve told you what the show was about. Not so smart now, are you?

    • I wish that maybe instead of exploring the investigative avenue, how about something like the relationship between Abe and Henry. . . Or doing good towards the descendants of the people he knew in the past.

    • Maryann says:

      The Sherlock Holmes archetype is one of my favorites. And this show is far better than CBS’s entry, Elementary, which I personally find unwatchable. Others to check out in this genre are Murdoch (also sometimes titled The Artful Detective, Canadian show airing here on Saturday nights and on Netflix and other services) and The Mentalist.

  9. Sweetpea says:

    I loved it and will definitely keep tuning in! Really hope it sticks around! Ioan is so freaking gorgeous and he needs to be on my tv every week!

  10. Tai says:

    I really liked it. I liked it a lot more than I thought I would. I love the relationship between Ioan Gruffudd and Judd Hirsch. I could definitely watch this one again (and I will tlmorrow). I’m just happy that there is an arc through thr show and not just a procedural with a twist.

    • Sheila says:

      Agree. I am not loving the mystery boogieman caller. They should hurry up that plot line. Love the father/son relationship. Enjoying the show thus far. I do not need a romance between Henry and Martinez.

  11. N says:

    My new fave show!

  12. S says:

    Monday is a tough night for such an intriguing show…it’s up against The Blacklist and Monday night football. This seems destined for a move when another show flops.

  13. Rick Katze says:

    Interesting reboot of “Highlander” minus the sword fighting. Even the use of flashbacks reminds one of the Highlander format.

    I’m taking under 10 more episodes before the detective gets the truth.

    Will it survive. Unfortunately I don’t think so. Too much competition but maybe ABC will find another location for it.

  14. Diz says:

    I didn’t even have room on any dvr for it Mon. Night. I may catch it tomorrow though I think that’s eps. 2 already. I’m tired of shows premiering 1 night and then already moving it around , so stupid.

  15. James says:

    Looks like ‘Forever’ was intended for multi-season viewing but more likely will end up as a limited season show. Hopefully past broadcast experiences with fickle Networks will hint to the producers of Forever to have a contingency back up script with a conclusive ending, something that would not go amiss with a few other shows that are ending or pending too.

    • Katherine215 says:

      So is predicting the demise of shows after one episode what all the cool kids are doing now? Because it’s pretty lame.

  16. Lori says:

    I found it by accident, and I stayed for the whole show. Really surprised how much I liked it. It’s nice to see the guy from Bones again too.

  17. M3rc Nate says:

    Done watching the pilot, and I’m left wondering a few things…first and foremost: What happens to his body when he dies? Does it disappear like magic and reappear in the water? So if someone watched his fall onto the taxi (or a camera caught it, likely in NYC) it would just disappear once he died? If so thats horribly dumb.

    Speaking of the Taxi, so the cop thinks he fell too…well obviously as a Detective she would check out the report…would she not see the CSI report pictures of the scene? Would she not see the photos of the suspect on the sidewalk (having fallen and impacted the sidewalk) from the fall? and the Taxi roof which has been impacted by a human being falling onto it?

    What about is blood? Should it pool on the Taxi and the CSI team take a sample? Or does it magically disappear when he dies along with his body? lol.

    • Sheila says:

      His body must disappear or they would have found him on the train or on the sidewalk when they fell off the roof.

      • John NYC says:

        They showed the watch without his body in a followup scene of the subway wreck.

        • M3rc Nate says:

          Yeah….soooo….thats okay with you guys/gals? lol. That his body magically disappears and pops out of thin air into a body of water? I mean at least on New A.M.S.T.E.R.D.A.M his body healed and he came back to life in the morgue…but a magically disappearing body? LAME.

          And im sorry but im to believe no Cop, no CSI noticed the Taxi who’s roof was completely caved in and wind-shield broken due (obviously) to a body falling from the roof and landing on it….yet there’s no body? Lol god…the plot holes…its like they think we are complete idiots.

          • Jefrrey says:

            Yes, this is what bothered me, too. They are smart enough to figure out that 2 bodies must have fallen and not just “assumed” the one hit the taxi and bounced. And maybe it’s Ichabod Crane on the phone calling him!

    • michael eiseman says:

      Yeah, the whole taxi aftermath would have been a zoo…I mean have you ever been near Grand Central when there was NOBODY around? Especially when the police are attempting to stop a terrorist attack in this day and age!

      The watch? Why would he try to grab it in the train when he can’t take it with him, right? And how could he still have it if he dies all the time?

      Liked the show, hate the plot holes.

      • Emmanuel Stalling says:

        In the first episode, he was the suspect in the poisoning of the conductor, yet he was allowed to continue his work as Medical Examiner on the body. As if he couldn’t have planted anything he found thereafter (like the fingerprint).

    • corwinsr says:

      I don’t remember this being billed as or implied to be a show with some scientific, biological freakish thing happening to Henry. Its obviously a show with a supernatural premise. Its hard to believe you don’t get that. If this happened on Heroes it would be lame because that show implied there was a scientific, biological mutation causing the abilities. This show has never made that claim or implied it. If you don’t like it fine but judge it by its own standards. You’re criticism is what’s lame.

  18. M3rc Nate says:

    Wow this show is like New A.m.s.t.e.r.d.a.m…..almost all the way down to the old son he has with him (On Forever the son isnt biological).

    • M3rc Nate says:

      Lol wow TVLine…either you have a messed up language filter or you on purpose didnt allow that word (the Dutch Capital one). I tried to comment over and over and my post wouldnt get posted, i finally put periods between each letter and it posts…so either that word for some really weird reason is not allowed by your “language filter” (filter that wont let posts with curses etc be posted) or you didnt want your comment section to have the obvious comparisons to New A.m.s.t.e.r.d.a.m ….

      • Stormy says:

        I had the same problem once commenting on a Downton Abbey article. It involved the portrait in the dining room which was painted by a certain Flemish artist.

    • Mzteaze says:

      I really liked that show which is why I was leery about getting hooked on this show. I see the similarities as well.

  19. Ram510 says:

    Why does every show have to be put into a procedural package? Some shows like this and Sleepy Hallow, The Strain have to be bogged down with procedural aspects and it’s not always necessary. Can networks please quit it already

    • cmunney says:

      Because people like procedural shows. Not everybody but, the overwhelming majority. Just look at the top rated shows. Almost exclusively procedurals. Personally I agree with you. But, a creator of a TV show would be almost foolish to not try to include at least some aspect of a procedural in order to draw as many people as possible.

    • John NYC says:

      Hardly every show. Dancing With The Stars isn’t, neither are any of the professional wrestling ones, nor the singing competitions or TBBT or iCarly: all quite popular too.

      But if the concept is “cop show”? That sort of lays the groundwork. Hell even Cop Rock had aspects….

    • M3rc Nate says:

      They do it (procedural episodic series) that way so its easier to jump in at any point and watch an episode and feel like you somewhat understand what is happening and become a viewer. Take for example Castle, which is procedural, they play the opening scene (where Castle says hes ruggedly handsome and lays out the synopsis of the show) and then have procedural episodes so someone who has never seen the show can come in randomly at season 3 episode…6…and watch it and understand whats going on in that episode and can start watching from there (or if they want watch previous episodes using netflix or redbox or itunes etc).

      Then theres when it is not procedural, aka “serial” series…episodes that arent episodic, like Battlestar Galactica. There is absolutely no “weekly case” in shows like that, or say a show like Alphas…a show like Alphas (and BSG) can be very hard to start watching say at season 2…by coming in having missed a lot, you are left confused and have no idea whats going on in the episode you are watching…theres so much you dont know. So the entry level is much higher, however what has helped a bunch of shows in that way is having Netflix have seasons of shows that are still on TV, so many shows have gained more viewership because people went on Netflix Instant and get caught up (especially with Binge watching). The Walking Dead for example, it didnt absolutely explode its first season with 20 mil watching…but as the word of mouth grew and grew, and the first season showed up on Netflix Instant…the viewership grew and grew….yet great shows like Alphas with very little word of mouth and a hard entry to start watching the series, got cancelled.

  20. I will stay around if they can keep the mystery of who called Henry at the end interesting and the characters entertaining.

  21. ErikMarie says:

    I had no expectations for this show and wasn’t even going to watch it even though I adore Ioan, but I happened upon it when it started and my sis and I ended up watching the whole episode. It was engaging enough for a pilot plus I loved the morbid dry humor.

  22. herman1959 says:

    I hadn’t planned on watching Forever because my TV Monday was already booked and the premise didn’t grab me. But, I like what I’m reading here so I’ll watch it today and post later. Fortunately it’ll run on Tuesday, a day when I don’t watch anything else.

  23. Sue S says:

    Ok -he died 3 x in the first episode – what happens to the bodies? do they just disappear when he is resurrected ?

  24. Heathers says:

    I didn’t watch, because this is at least the third try by network tv at having a show about a man who lives forever. They were all cancelled within 10 episodes.

  25. Katherine215 says:

    Really enjoyed it! It reminded me a lot of Castle, which I love to death, so I was already sold from that perspective. Plus I thought Jo and Henry had nice chemistry, and I liked the relationship between Henry and Abe. I’m interested to see what they do with the supporting cast from the police station, as I didn’t really care too much for the cops Jo interacted with. I did love seeing the Squintern though. All in all, really looking forward to the next episode and hope it gets the viewers!

  26. Liked it a lot…except recurring bad guy…absolutely hate that premIse…since The Profiler.

  27. Maryann says:

    I am more excited about Forever than any new show in years. It was always in my list to check out, but after seeing it, I would give it an A+. It’s star, the chemistry of its characters, the layered life of the protagonist, the complex underlying subplot, the writing, the directing, the flashbacks, the acting are all superb. It’s just a feel-good, enjoyable show. Anyone with a love for the Highlander series, the Castle/Moonlighting dynamic, or well-written comic book characters should check this one out.

  28. sarah31733 says:

    I really enjoyed it, has a Castle feel to it, I will definitely be back for more.

  29. mandapants says:

    I loved it. I enjoyed watching the final scenes of genuine affection between Henry and Abe, it was a nice twist that Henry had raised Abe. I look forward to more of Forever.

  30. pam says:

    I don’t know. This show lost me when the promo for it said he had been around forever but in truth only 200 years.

    • Katherine215 says:

      this is why I don’t watch promos for shows. They are usually misleading or even wrong – Killer Women comes to mind. I loved that show but it was not anything like the way it was portrayed in the promos, which turned a lot of people off. I read the synopsis, see who’s in it, maybe read some reviews and give a ton of pilots a try.

    • It is because he have forever, to look ahead to….:-)

  31. John NYC says:

    I think the Abigail storyline is going to be intriguing.

  32. Ave says:

    I liked it! Gave me sort of a Ducky/Holmes vibe; hope it will get a fighting chance to develop and evolve into something that will last more than a season.

  33. Michelle says:

    I think Alana De La Garza is a crazy good actress. I’m hoping they develop that character because it plays a little stock for my tastes but I could watch her in anything. Plus, she seems lovely on Twitter.

  34. pinksavvy says:

    The premier had more of a laid back vibe than most premiers. Many debut with a bang, then taper off. Forever came in with a good story and an easy style … which rather confused me, I have to admit! I was expecting flash! But I’ll tune in to future episodes because I really like the characters and the actors who portray them. We’ll see how it goes!

  35. herman1959 says:

    I just watched the pilot and liked it, although one thing bothered me throughout. The basis of the storyline is the question of whether the conductor drove the train while drunk which would mean the resulting deaths were homicides. But on the NYC Subway the conductor does not drive the train, there is a separate driver. Normally I might not be so bothered about something like this but since the protagonist is a Sherlock/Doctor Who type I’d expect all of the details to be correct. That said, I’ll give the show another chance tonight because I really like the cast.

  36. StrawberriesandCream says:

    Actually the part with Abe being a WW2 survivor who stays loyal to his savior reminded me a lot of the movie “Higlander” where the hero, who is immortal, saves a girl and then she stays with him

  37. MelindaB says:

    I really liked it, which is usually the kiss of death for a show. Sorry, everybody.

  38. John Moshier says:

    I agree elementary and the mentalist but I have one question what happens to his body when he dies they don’t show it

  39. Stacy says:

    The pilot was a bit of a mess but I’m interested enough to try another episode.

  40. mememememe says:

    I really liked it until they showed the tattoo, it is so unrealistic for a new born baby to have a number on the arm. the minute a baby was born in the concentration camps, ether the Natzies would have killed it, of the prisoners would hide it, neither would put a tattoo on it!!! it was like the writers looked for a way to show us that the baby was Abe, and did not want to work hard at finding a cause and I think it is kind of ridiculous and insults the intelligence of the viewer a little

  41. jody says:

    My 11 yr old son and I love the show! It was awesome! We will be watching tonight. We can’t wait!

  42. Sara says:

    Not a fan.

  43. Leo drake says:

    Interesting and cool

  44. codepink1908 says:

    While I can appreciate the premise of Henry having some sort of a nine lives curse to the umpteenth power, it’s way too similiar to “Castle.”

  45. pinkor says:

    I thought this show was done in the 90s?

  46. Bette says:

    I love it, but it was a series like that a while back, but yes I like the plot.

  47. TVfanatic says:

    Enjoyed the show and I think it has potential. One problem though, if the bad guy who went off the roof with Henry is also immortal, there would have been no dead body on the ground, right? Henry’s body always disappears from the death scene when he comes back to life so wouldn’t the same he true for the other immortal guy. So the story he told the female FBI agent (can’t remember her name) in the hospital that the guy jumped would not hold water because she would find out if the cops never recovered the body of the guy who shot her.

  48. Kevan says:

    So…the only person to know his secret is a refugee he rescued during WW2? Someone watched the original Highlander movie’s director’s cut.

  49. dina says:

    These writers watched a little too much Dexter

  50. B. Gerald says:

    Very cool show, this is one of the few shows my Wife and I both agree on.
    We hope to see it stay, very different, very awesome.