TV Picks: ‘Forever,’ ‘The Affair,’ ‘Rudolph’
“Forever” — I was initially unconvinced by this police procedural featuring New York Medical Examiner Dr. Henry Morgan (Ioan Gruffudd), 200-year-old Brit who, for mysterious reasons, can neither die nor age.
But the appealing presences of Gruffudd and the always wonderful Judd Hirsch as Abe, Henry’s adopted (and mortal) son, kept me coming back, and now I’m legitimately hooked. Especially since the addition of “Torchwood’s” Burn Gorman, here playing Lewis Farber, a Bellvue psychiatrist who was just last week revealed to be Henry’s fellow, but very evil, immortal.
Their adversarial relationship will no doubt help shape future episodes though one hopes not in a strictly cat-and-mouse kind of way. Instead, in a manner that mirrors the relationship between the Doctor and the Master in “Dr. Who,” Lewis appears to be forcing Henry to address both the tragedy and the darker possibilities of immortality, just when Henry once again finds himself connecting with his fellow humans.
Meanwhile Abe, who has long been Henry’s lone confidant and bridge to reality, has moved from son to father role, preparing Henry for a time when he, Abe, is not there.
All of this is lightly sprinkled over all manner of interesting crimes and clever detective work that allows the plot to meander all through New York history. Smart and fun and gaining traction with each episode; if you’re in the market for a new detective show with a twist, this could be it. ABC, Tuesdays, 10 p.m.
“The Affair” — People have all manner of reactions to Showtime’s he said/she said tale of adultery that somehow led to a possible murder. Love it, hate it; find Noah (Dominic West) a jerk and Allison (Ruth Wilson) sympathetic or vice versa. Whatever the reaction, though, it’s strongly felt, and that’s saying something.
Narratively, it opened strong then bogged down for several episodes, often in its choice of artsy exposition over plot or character development, but as the focus moved away from Noah’s and Alison’s versions of how they fell for each other and more on the other issues in their lives and families, things picked up.
Now heading into the final two episodes, the question becomes: How will it end? Presumably not definitively, as a second season has been ordered. But if the crime that has caused the story to be told, in flashback to a detective, isn’t solved, we hope we find out what happened to Noah and Dominic as a couple.
Clearly they’re both doing better than they were — he’s now a big shot novelist; she’s got a cut haircut and is living in the city — but were the changes precipitated by surrender to the affair or its disavowal? Showtime, Sunday, 10 p.m.
“Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” — Before their was “Glee” there was “Rudolph,” with its doe-eyed but different hero, its elfin dentist and it island of misfit toys. Now made available, by nostalgic baby boomers, in all manner of collectible reproductions, but still.
You will laugh, you will cry and it isn’t Christmas until you’ve watched it, and who knows, maybe your kid will want to become a dentist. Which is a very good job, even at the North Pole.
And while you’re at it, stick around for “Frosty the Snowman,” with its equally odd but endearing supporting cast and mind-numbing but still fabulous song. CBS, Saturday, 8 p.m.
An earlier version of this post said “Forever” airs at 9. It airs at 10.
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