08 March 2008

New Amsterdam

There's a new paranormal show on TV this week - New Amsterdam, on Fox. I settled in to watch the pilot with a mix of eager anticipation and unsure expectations.

It took a pretty long time for this series to make it to screen, even for notoriously slow production schedules. First ordered back in late 2006, it's been 15 months before it made it to air. Hence my uncertainty. Was this something they had in the can, and only pulled out when the writer's strike forced a shut down of new productions?

I was happy to find that New Amsterdam is a solid show. A mix of para and regular detective work, it blends the two and while bringing some nice charaters to life. The rookie partner could use some freshness, and there's more than a bit of cliche in the cop side of the scripts.

John Amsterdam, played with an unexpectedly boyish charm by Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, is immortal. Rewarded (or is it punished?) for saving a young Native American woman from death in the early 1600's, he now walks the streets of New York - formerly New Amsterdam - while he waits for The One.

The One, of course is his one true love. For John, time has ceased to take a mortal toll on him. Only after meeting his One will John again become mortal.

There are some neat moments in the first two episodes where John interacts with his descendants. And over the course of four hundred years, he's picked up a skill or two that help with his everyday life.

The plot arcs of the first two episodes were a nice blend of cop procedural, and John's suddenly inspired search for The One. If the show can keep the nice balance they hit so far, they could have a new hit on their hands.

Some of the best "wow" moments are in the credits, as time stop photography effects show as a plot of wilderness on an island grows into New Amsterdam, and evetually New York as it is today. I had fun rewinding that part on my DVR, and watching it again at slow speed.

Overall, I'm giving New Amsterdam a grade of B. If the writers can tighten up the cop side of the show, I'll be eagerly looking for this show on the TV schedule for the rest of the season.
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