Wednesday, March 5, 2008

New Amstedam: Pilot

John Amsterdam saved the life of some native Americans, who then blessed/cursed him with eternal life, until he finds his true love and their "souls are wed." He has a dog named "36," has had 609 girlfriends, and has taken pictures of Times Square every year for decades. When he is not solving crimes, he builds desks, which, because he did so decades ago as a furniture artists, are worth tens of thousands of dollars. He has gone through so many partners, he doesn't even accept them anymore, because he knows they will either transfer out, or will be killed in the line of duty. He thinks indoor plumbing is the best invention, the alarm clock the worst. And to relax, he likes to swim naked. Got all that?

The recap: John meets all the shows characters. THE END!

The (actual) recap: John meets all the shows characters. Including a bartend named Omar, his new smart detective partner Eva Marquez, and he gets a glimpse at a woman who may be "the one" who will make him mortal again. A young actress, Chloe, is murdered and her boyfriend, Eddie, is blamed. John believes that it wasn't Eddie, and proves that is was the (old) head of a chain of hotels. That's not before they out the hotel's owner son - who dated Chloe - as a gay.

John temporarily dies. He leaves the hospital, without a name on the record and with a very worried staff. Especially since his blood type tested as RZRZ, which became extinct a long time ago. (Good to know!) One of the said hospital workers happens to be John's potential soul mate, so I think he'll be finding her soon enough.

What worked: The show was very restrained. It would have been very easy to make John as the "I'm old, I'm cranky" type, but they didn't go down that route. (Being able to see sunlight probably helps, Angel.) And Eva was smart and witty, but she wasn't a laugh a minute. And her performance was really restrained, and felt... real. The detective stuff and John's personal life balanced really well, I felt.

What didn't work: There were just one too many "I'm old" references. There weren't as many as some writers would have been tempted to throw in, but, it felt like it was beating me over the head with it.

Lasting power: Three seasons, based on the pilot alone. The show's mythology, about having 400 years of experience, surprisingly doesn't seem to have much to draw out over the course of the show. But the chemistry between John and his new partner, Eva, is electrifying and compelling, almost in a Law & Order: SVU kind of a way. And for that reason alone, the show will last a while. It's not a terribly smart show. It's definitely no The Closer as far as procedurals go. But it's entertaining, and there's still a hint of mystery that makes me think that the show has some good things to show us in the future.

I'm not terribly energized about the show at this point, but, I'm going to keep watching. It has promise, and the show feels smart enough where I will probably trust whatever direction the show goes in.

Next episode: Tonight, Thursday at 9. According to the previews, John has another son, who is dead? Alive? I'm so confused, FOX promotions department.

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