Friday, March 7, 2008

'New Amsterdam' on Fox

I remember seeing commercials for this new show on Fox last Spring and being really interested in watching. I had just finished reading Forever by Pete Hamill and it was impossible not to miss the correlation. A man is given immortality and lives for 400 years in New York until he can find his soul mate. I heard that although it is obviously inspired by the book, Pete Hamill was not involved in the script and he has decided not to press charges. I find that rather admirable in today's litigious society, but I wish that he could get some credit. But that's not really what this post is about.

I watched the series premier on Fox the other night and I was sadly disappointed. I really liked the book and I think it was smart to make it into a TV show, but they did a horrible job. They made the mistake of trying to infuse the show with the same sense of majesty and magic that the book holds but instead it turned out kind of cheesy. Hamill's character has this wonderful deep melancholy that comes from all his years of witnessing people come and go in his town. New Amsterdam tried to convey the same thing in the main character John Amsterdam but it falls painfully short. I think it might be because they tried to make the show adventurous by making Amsterdam a detective, but it was too hard to do both the action and the brooding so it fell short on all counts.

I may continue to watch it in the future just because there's nothing else on, but one would be better served by just reading the book in this case.

3 comments:

Scott said...

I didn't have the benefit (or misfortune depending on your point of view) of reading the book first, but I really enjoyed the first two episodes of this show. I have read books that TV and movies have been based on and have almost always been disappointed with the adaptation.

twayne a.k.a. The Bald Monkey said...

I didn't manage to catch this one, but my dad did and he thought it was ok. I figured it might be interesting but, your review tells me its probably not something worth spending time on.

I am curious to see how the show they are making out of George R.R. Martin's Song of Ice and Fire series turns out.

Raspberry said...

OK, I watched the second episode on Fox.com today and I liked it better. They made some changes to the story and characters that I like. And they didn't try so hard for the 'magic' in this episode. So I'll probably keep watching it.