Yet Another TV Review Podcast

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New Amsterdam episode reviews

Pilot. It's got elements of Highlander (one of my all-time favourite shows) mixed in with two of this seasons new offerings. You've got a quirky cop paired with a new female partner (which is what you get in Life) and this also has a very romantic storyline wherein the immortal hero faces the prospect of death now that he's met his One True Love (which shares similar themes, if not exact details, with Pushing Daisies). I enjoyed the cop procedural aspect, and I absolutely loved the Love Story. Alexie Gilmore is truly beautiful. When she walked into shot, in the midst of a large crowd, I noticed her straight away. And when her presence causes our hero's heart to stop. I got it. I totally got it.

Episode 1. The aired version has a lot of scenes that weren't in the original pilot. And some are missing (including two I really liked). And they have changed the order of things, too. Hmm. It's still a good pilot. Very epic and romantic. And, if you can get past the idea that a cop can drop dead without being identified (and later leave a hospital completely un-noticed!!) then it's a ride worth taking.

Episode 2. "Golden Boy" takes the show in unexected directions. Namely, back to story of John's previous lover rather than onward towards the story of his next lover. However, it's a good story. The show captures lonliness very well. And the case-of-the-week is good, too. No complaints from me.

Episode 3. "Soldier's Heart" The case-of-the-week plays like a story from Law And Order and the chemistry between Alexie Gilmore and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau is fantastic. I was so overjoyed that the show had finally brought them together that I was completely floored by the surprise twist at the end. Nice.

Episode 4 and the show hits one out of the ball park with "Honor". All aspects of the story are truly excellent this week. The romance storyline is full of twists and very romantic and cool to watch. The case-of-the-week is thoughtful and interesting and full of twists. The flashback storyline is fascinating and very suspenseful (at the very end). The show is finding it's beat very quickly, and establishing itself as an very intelligent fantasy show (that looks a lot like a Law And Order show!).

Episode 5. "Keep The Change" Oh dear. The case of the week is rubbish. Obvious clichéd rubbish, which is predictable from start to finish. Meanwhile, the lead actor and lead character are fantastic, and the backstory/flashback is very good. While the romance is totally sidelined this week, when it does appear it is extremely well written and played. So, what to make of it all?

One of my podcast co-hosts feels that they should drop the cop angle altogether and let the main character explore some of his many and varied careers. And this could certainly work. The main guy in Highlander wasn't a cop and that show had no end of superb moral dilemma stories (God, but I miss Highlander).

I, on the other hand, love a good cop show. And New Amsterdam could become a decent cop show, if they steal some of the Law And Order writers!

Anyway, apart from the rubbish cop story, this episode excelled. It told a story of alcholism, a story of what it's like for an alcoholic to start to go straight. And it found a new way to tell this story and make it fit into the universe of New Amsterdam. And it was great stuff. I would have watched a full hour of that. No problem.

Meanwhile, back at the romance... Sara isn't happy. She knows that John is keeping secrets from her. And she wants to know who he is, and what his past is. And since the writers successfully write this part of things like an adult drama series, she is not fixated on his abnormal blood results. No. She just wants to know stuff about his father and his life before her and all that. And it strikes a cord. Because we've all had those conversations. And it's great to see characters we like a lot do this on TV. And, when, in the closing seconds, he tells her who he is (only to have run off in disappointment) it's makes for a great moment of TV. Now, if the cop story aspect of it had been any good....

Episode 6. "Legacy" Now this is more like it. Instead of an irrelevant case-of-the-week, we get a fascinating story linked to the background of the main character. The flashbacks take us back a hundred years and highlight a fascinating period in John's life, the transition from one family to another. His wife has grown too old for him, and he is drawn to a younger woman. His family breaks apart. In the present day, we see what became of that family's descendants (John's descendants). One of them lies dead and the whole family seems to have been drawn into a life of crime. John takes this to heart, and tries to find out how it happend and what happened to the son who left all those years ago.

It's a great story. Totally fresh and very enjoyable. This show is built on the shoulders of a flawed, but fascinating, central character. The romance gets very little airtime this week and the problems from last week are resolved a little to easily for my liking. No matter. The episode, as a whole, was superb.

Episode 7. "Reclassified" is adequate. Which isn't good enough, I suppose. The cop story isn't actually bad, but it is painfully predictable. John is asked by his dying partner to find out who shot him many years ago. The identity of the killer is obvious from early on, so there's nothing left to watch far except a few flashbacks showing us John's early days on the police force. The flashbacks are pretty good (he was quite an angry guy back then) but there are very few of them this week. It's a passable enough episode, I suppose, but sadly nothing to get excited about.

Episode 8. "Love Hurts" For once, the case-of-the-week wasn't bad and (except for a really stupid idea at the end when John pretends to leave the force to con a suspect) it was an above average episode of New Amsterdam. Also unusual for this show, the flashback wasn't all that interesting. What I really liked, however, was all the relationship stuff. Now that he's been shot and come back from the dead again John has started to lose interest in his romance with Sara. Of course, in keeping with his character, he doesn't say anything about it but we can see it happening in countless, wonderful scenes. Wonderful in the sense that they are well observed, well played and very honest. Even though we have only known these characters a short while, it was a sad to see them come to an ending like this. Yes, the show had flaws but if FOX had stayed with it, I would have stayed with it.

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