By T. Mack
I have a soft spot for television shows with immortal, male protagonists. I really enjoy the characters who are old-fashioned romantics of an impossible age. They are dark, brooding, solitary and cautious. They either avoid romantic entanglements or are forced to leave out a lot of personal information due to the complicated nature of their lives. They always have a single confidante who knows all their secrets and regrets. As a day job, they tend to fight crime. I hold in my heart a special affection for three particular shows featuring such characters. Each one managed to live only a single season on television. Their cancellations broke my heart. However, they live on, immortal in my memory.
Alex O’Loughlin played Mick St. John, the youngest of the immortals featured here. Mick was a vampire, turned by his new bride some 55 years before the events of the show took place. In the current day, Mick was a private investigator attempting to use his condition to help people. Set in Los Angeles, the episodes followed Mick as he worked with–and subsequently fell for–the mortal Beth Turner (Sophia Myles). His best friend and confidante was fellow vampire, Josef Kostan (Jason Dohring). Mick spent his time going up against lowlifes, both human and vampire.The show could best be described as a paranormal romantic drama, which may have something to do with why it only lasted a single season. While all the elements were in place for those who are drawn to that genre, it is a bit of a niche. The show offered little to lure someone who isn’t already a fan of this type of story.
The series aired during the 2007-08 season on CBS. Critical reviews were poor and the show suffered, like many others, from the writer’s strike of that year. With low ratings, the show was cancelled after that single season. While Moonlight isn’t currently available to stream from Netflix, Amazon Instant Video or Hulu, it was released on DVD. For anyone who cares enough to check it out, it can be obtained. Netflix offers it through their DVD rental or interested parties could try local second-hand book stores, like Half Price Books or 2nd & Charles.
NEW AMSTERDAM (2008)
This show starred Nikolaj Coster-Waldau as John Amsterdam. At least, that was his current name on the show. John was a Dutch-born soldier in the 1600’s who saved a young, Native American woman during the massacre of her tribe. In return, the woman granted John immortality and the inability to age until he had found his one true love. The show is set nearly 400 years later in the present day. John had not managed to find his true love but had tried numerous times over the years. On the show, John’s current job was as a New York City homicide detective, where he often used his personal knowledge of the city’s history to help him solve cases. John’s confidante was his 65-year-old son, Omar, who happened to be the youngest of John’s 63 children.
New Amsterdam is barely a blip in television history. The show only lasted 8 episodes on–you guessed it–FOX, from March to April of 2008. As far as I know, it isn’t available to stream or purchase. Trust me, I’ve looked. The episodes are around the net, however, and can be downloaded from particular sites that specialize in that sort of thing. 😉
This most recent attempt to keep the story of an immortal alive starred Ioan Gruffudd as 200-year-old Dr. Henry Morgan. This time, the hero was unaware of why or how he came to be immortal and much of his time and energy was spent trying to figure it out. Every time Henry was killed, he would die and wake back up naked in the nearest body of large water. It was an interesting twist on the formula, as it did add an air of mystery to the protagonist’s life that the other series didn’t have. Even with that unique twist, though, Forever couldn’t seem to help but be closely compared to New Amsterdam. Like that predecessor, the show was set in New York City. The main character, while not a detective, worked alongside one as the city’s top medical examiner. Henry’s confidante and best friend was also his elderly son, Abraham. However, Henry didn’t have a plethora of children. Abraham was his only child, who he adopted as an orphaned infant during WWII.
Forever was cancelled at the end of its first season. Though the ratings weren’t spectacular, the show received good reviews. The fans as well as the actors pretty much expected the network to grant a second season. Alas, it was not meant to be. The full series of Forever can still be viewed on Hulu with a Plus subscription or on Amazon Instant Video.
Did you watch any of these shows during their short life span or after their quick demise? Do you think they deserved more time to mature or did the studios do the right thing by pulling the plugs? What immortal TV characters are your favorites and which shows did you love and lose? Tell me your thoughts in the comments below.