New Amsterdam

March 5th, 2008

So I caught the pilot episode of Fox’s New Amsterdam last night. Obviously a show about an immortal living secretly amongst the general population would pique my curiosity. In particular I was interested to see what similarities might exist between Amsterdam and Zsallia, but I was also keen to spot the differences between them. All in all I liked the show. For a first episode it was actually very well-produced and the actors seemed pretty comfortable in their characters. The story line was engaging enough, but since I have my own ideas regarding immortal characters I tried exert an extra effort at suspending criticism.

Still, there were some gaping plot holes that were hard to ignore, such as when Amsterdam collapses and ‘dies’ on the subway platform. He’s taken to the hospital as a John Doe, yet he was carrying his gun and a badge and was in an armed stand-off with another man. Think the police might have gotten involved and recognized him? They did it to create a sub-plot, but it could have been done more intelligently. Or in the opening of the show where the indian shaman makes him immortal- boy, those look a lot like plains Indians to me rather than Mohawks, Iroquois or Algonquins. Minor things like that annoy me since I don’t count myself as being smarter than your average bear- I figure if I noticed, they should have.

Despite these issues I really enjoyed the show- next episode airs on Thursday and I’ll be watching.

Amsterdam as a character is a bit of an enigma, as he should be. He chooses to live semi-openly, having at least one and perhaps more than one person he has let in on his secret. Contrast that with Zsallia who until recently had allowed no more than half a dozen people into her secret world over a span of 35 centuries (Amsterdam is only 400-odd years old), and tends to keep from drawing attention to herself. Amsterdam knows how he became immortal, and he knows there can be an end to it. Zsallia has no clue why she is the way she is, and that’s an enormous handicap to her- she’s not even sure she’s human and has gone through periods where she truly did believe she was a goddess.

The search for Amsterdam’s true love appears to be a centerpiece of the show- he finds his true love and he can become mortal again and live out the remainder of his years with her. I find that a little trite, but for a TV series I suppose that’s to be expected. It’s still too early in the series- I’ll give them some time to flesh things out a bit.

Still, they should have consulted me;).