Jenn Reese Writer, Artist, Geek

New Amsterdam


I have a thing for long-lived characters.  Oh yes, I  do. So it was pretty much a no-brainer that I would check out Fox’s  New Amsterdam. Some mild spoilers below.

What I liked:

Unlike similar shows with lots of flashbacks, New Amsterdam is US-centered. The main character was a conquistador and we are led to believe that he’s spent the entirety of his very long life in what has become New York City. The city itself felt like a character, even as early as the pilot episode. They used lots of old sepia-tone photos, and the effect worked. I got a nice sense of history that didn’t require funny accents and medieval garb. Very well done.

I liked the music. The Decemberists were playing before the opening credits finished, and I knew I’d have to watch the whole episode based on that good choice alone.

The main actor seems fine so far. He’s pretty, but with a slight Malcolm-Reynolds-edge that makes the pretty more interesting. He did a good job of seeming older than his years. His Brazilian accent was sexy and believable in the brief tango scene.

I liked the tone, pace, and style of the show.  I didn’t hate the voice overs, though I was sure I would.

What I didn’t like:

John Amsterdam can’t die until he finds “the one” and their souls join. UGH!!! I hate that concept so very much. I understand it from a storytelling perspective, but I still hate it. The message borders on irresponsible as far as I’m concerned. Blech, yuck, phooey.

John is a homicide detective. Snore. Why are most long-lived characters in law enforcement? (See Forever Knight  and Angel.)

John’s partner, Eva Marquez, was mostly forgettable. The pilot is more to set up John than the side characters, so I’ll wait and see on this. Still, her chemistry with John was abysmal and their “banter” was the worst dialogue in the show.

I did not fully buy into the reason why John is gifted with long life. Unlike other shows, he seems to be the only long-lived person around. I’m really not sure why the Native American woman he saved would gift/curse him thusly.


Overall, I liked it and I’ll watch it again. It’s been so long since I’ve been able to sink my teeth into a long-lived character who wasn’t a vampire. (Oh, how I miss Highlander and Methos!) It’s a shame that he’s a cop, but they sort of  sold me on the reason (his obsession with death). It’s not a brilliant show, but it might turn out to be a decent one. Long live the long-lived!

(As a side note, I never see any female long-lived heroes. Most long-lived characters fall under the Wounded Hero archetype, and as I posited in a different entry a while back, there are almost no female Wounded Heroes.)

So, I’ve got a thing for the long-lived. Do you have any particular archetype obsessions?

About the author

Jenn Reese


  • Archtetype obsessions! Now you're talking …

    I've always had a thing for Sacred Clowns. Tom Robbins played with a lot of this stuff in his earlier fiction (particularly STILL LIFE WITH WOODPECKER and JITTERBUG PERFUME).

    In spiritual terms, the Sacred Clown corresponds to the crow/raven/coyote trickster figure – the gonzo troublemaker who overturns the sacred order by questioning everything. (I'm told that many other cultures, including the Tibetans, have similar archetypes.)

    In Lakota Sioux life and ceremonies, this was personified in the 'heyoka' – the sacred clown. Far from being considered an annoyance, the heyoka was seen as a sacred calling. The heyoka would shiver when he was hot and act like he was broiling in a snowstorm, take a bath in dirt, ride his horse backwards and cut-up during religious ceremonies. Ironically, this role worked to reinforce the sacred by proving that it could stand a little ribbing.

    Some of our better comedians fill these shoes for us now. I would nominate George Carlin and Sarah Silverman (whom I have lately decided is a genius). Neil Gaiman goes there sometimes with his fiction, as do others.

    • Sacred Clowns! That's an unusual one, and fascinating! For some reason, I almost never go for that archetype. That fascinates me even more…

  • It's kind of tired now, but I was really into the Butt-Kicking Female Action Hero(ine) for a long time. At least half of all my scripts revolve around that archetype in some form, esp. the ones I wrote in my early 20's.

  • This show is def, a keeper……..reminds me of Highlander, the 1st movie, and the series as well.

    I am trying to find out the name of track playing in the brief tango scene…..anyone??anyone??

By Jenn Reese
Jenn Reese Writer, Artist, Geek

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