I truly have no idea if New Amsterdam, which premieres tonight on Fox after American Idol, is going to be a huge hit or a huge flop. It has quite a few things working in its favor: an attractive star (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau), an intriguing premise (detective will remain immortal until he finds true love), and a plum time slot for its premiere.
On the other hand, I found the first episode of the show to be utterly ridiculous. Again, that's not necessarily a bad thing; as I noted in my Pilot Watch last Summer, the show didn't work for me as a drama, but I thought it was an outstanding comedy. Or, upon further reflection, maybe I should have called it an outstanding soap opera. Every plot twist was so telegraphed, and every development so utterly unrealistic, that I couldn't help but be sucked in. Really, the guy's been living in New York for 400 years and nobody's realized that he still appears to be a strapping 40-something for all eternity?
The show has been compared to Pete Hamill's novel Forever, and while I haven't read the book, I can see some similarities between the two — most notably the degree to which you must suspend disbelief to make the story work. As a visual work, New Amsterdam is fairly impressive (noted film director Lasse Hallstrom, who directed the pilot and is one of the show's executive producers, probably has something to do with that). As a drama, it probably depends on how much you can take. Can you laugh out loud at the ridiculousness of a plot twist or premise and still enjoy a show? If so, New Amsterdam might be one for you; I admit I'll be watching for a while.
To watch a couple of clips from tonight's premiere — including one where Amsterdam nearly dies, but doesn't, because he's still yet to find love — just read more.
Photo courtesy of Fox