Monday, March 24, 2008

New Amsterdam 5: Meets Mad Men

Interesting, mixed-bag fifth episode of New Amsterdam tonight...

On the one hand ... It was good to see John telling Omar, a young jazzman in the 1960s, John's whole story of immortality. It's not completely clear why Omar would have believed such a fantastic tale, though he is aware that his father doesn't seem to be aging, but that's ok ... we can find out later, in a subsequent episode, how Omar comes to fully accept his father's true nature. In the meantime, the 1960s ambience was fine ... making tonight a sort of New Amsterdam takes a page from Mad Men, black bow-ties, white shirts, and all.

Meanwhile, in 2008, John's new relationship with Sara is already in danger - she, understandably, doesn't believe much of what John tells her of his past. At the end of the episode, John starts telling her the truth, and she walks away. Unlike Omar, she's not John's flesh and blood, has no memory of John never aging.... And a Google search she performs (it's amazing how quickly Google searches have become part of television drama) tells her there's no record of John more than five years ago.

This is a welcome development of John's story. He lives in one identity until his eternal youth makes him stand out, then suddenly moves on and adopts another. People like Omar are the only ones John takes with him. (It will be fun to learn more about John's many other children in future episodes.)

Now, if that's all there had been to tonight's show, I'd say I was thoroughly happy with it. But the other part of the show - John's police work - is beginning to drag. Although his cases connect in some way to his immortality, the actual crimes he and his partner investigate have all been done before, on Law and Order and its myriad versions.

This season of course has already been produced. If the show's renewed - I hope it is - I'd urge an overhaul of the police part to get more riveting, original stories.

In the meantime, more of John's fascinating back story, and its complex, incredible facets, would be welcome.

See also New Amsterdam, 1,2,3 ... 4. Poetry and Parenthesis ... 6. The DNA of Art ... 7. What Kept John from Dying? ... 8. New Amsterdam Bows: Lessons in Cons and Backsides

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