New Amsterdam stars Danish actor Nikolaj Coster-Waldau as immortal homicide detective John Amsterdam. I discovered this intriguing series whilst hunting for something new to watch.
With Stargate Atlantis nearing the end of its fourth season, Smallville and Supernatural are on a break I’ve been hunting around for something to fill the time. Battlestar Galactica isn’t set to return for another month, so what’s a girl to do but hunt around for the next new thing.
Peppered with flashbacks at first blush you’d be thinking Highlander rip off, but New Amsterdam is as different as it is similar. John’s immortality is a gift/curse from a Native American woman whose life he saved by stepping in front of a sword. She heals him and curses him with these words: “You will not grow old, you will not die, until you find the one, and your souls are wed.” This means he can’t die until he finds his soul mate. After 400 years he’s still looking.
Like Highlander, he has a friend Omar (Stephen Henderson) who runs a jazz bar and knows his secret. Unlike Highlander John can have children and over the years he’s had a fair few. John has been many things in 400 years and luckily for his friend he was a celebrated furniture maker in a former life. In the first episode, we see John make a desk for his friend who sells it as an antique for $60.000.
If I had to compare it to another TV series, I’d say it is more like the Buffy spin-off Angel in the fact that John has a weekly crime to investigate with his partner Eva Marquez (Zuleikha Robinson) but when he’s not doing that he’s looking for “The One”. He is looking forward to a day when he can grow old and die because then life will have meaning. It’s similar to Angel’s hope that the Shanshu Prophecy that foretells the restoration of a vampire with a soul into a mortal human being, is all about him.
Whether it’s a mashup of Angel and Highlander or not, New Amsterdam is worth a look in if you liked the premise of either of those shows. The first two episodes have enough twists and turns to reel you in. Like, when you find out about his son. I couldn’t help thinking about the implications of growing old, knowing that your father would always look the same. And the fact that if he’s still searching for “The One”, what does that mean for all the women that have gone before?
If like me you’ve been reeled in by shows that subsequently get cancelled then jump on board now because New Amsterdam does have the air of a soon to be cancelled show. Not to jinx it or anything, it’s a gut feeling.