On March 4th, 2023 “New Amsterdam” turns 15 years….no, not the one from the hospital, but the one with the immortal! 😊Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, who has become a big star nowadays, is the lead actor of the show, his character's name is John Amsterdam (real name Johann van der Zee). He is an immortal Dutch man who was born in 1607. So, at the time of the show, he was 401 years old! He lived almost his entire life in New York City, since he was 14 years old. In the present day he is a homicide detective. He already had a few partners before his current partner Eva Marquez, played by Zuleikha Robinson whom we know of shows like “The Lone Gunmen”, “Lost” & “Intelligence”.
John Amsterdam’s true love is the heart of the show, if he finds his true love, it is foretold that he will become mortal and can grow old with his true love. While trying to find his true love, as a detective, he has crimes to solve and he does this with his personal knowledge of history, we see these as flashbacks like we are used to in the TV show “The Highlander”. He has many descendants, but he only has intimate contact with his 68-year-old son Omar (Stephen Henderson). Very early, in fact in the pilot episode, John Amsterdam thinks he has found his true love, or at least, she was nearby and on the operation table she was the doctor who tried to save him after he was shot, but he dies! So, he doesn’t actually know who she is, but he knows she was there at the train station. When he finds her, finds Dr. Sara Dillane, he is convinced she is the one.
New Amsterdam was created by Allan Loeb and Christian Taylor, they also served as executive producers alongside David Manson, Leslie Holleran, Steven Pearl and Lasse Hallström. Hallström also directed the pilot. The series was greenlit and given a thirteen-episode order on May 11, 2007. The series was scheduled to premiere in the fall of 2007, consequently airing on Tuesday nights at 8:00/7:00c on Fox, but it was held as a mid-season replacement and began airing in March 2008. Of course the show was just beginning, it had to build up the mythology but it obviously did not get the chance to do so, so in fact it is mainly a procedural show, which you cannot blame the creators of because they need to have time, need to have enough episodes to build a new world, create mythology, flesh out the characters but did not happen of course. I also ask myself if the writers’ strike of fall 2007 has something to do with its early cancellation, I mean, the show was greenlit in May 2007, 6 months later there is this strike, the Writers Guild of America latterly laid down their pencils…or whatever.
It is not an original show, I mean, in 2007 there was a movie called “The Man From Earth”, written in 1998. In 1986 Highlander movie francize started, in 1992 this evolved into Highlander, the Series, which also has some similarities. In 2000 Lorenzo Lamas also had a TV show where he was an immortal in the present day. The show was called “The Immortal”. It ran only one season of 22 episodes. In 2014, 6 years after New Amsterdam, we got another immortal in present day in the TV show called “Forever”. I have to say, this last show, for me, has the most similarities with New Amsterdam, it copied several things from New Amsterdam. It is just a shame New Amsterdam wasn’t given a fair chance. Okay, FOX is a network who is famous for cancelling SCI-FI/Fantasy TV shows too prematurely, so many examples: “Firefly”, “John Doe”, “Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles”, “Alcatraz”, “Almost Human”, “Dollhouse”, “Tru Calling”, “Terra Nova” and the list goes on and on.
In the flashbacks we, as an audience, do not get to see John Amsterdam always being the good guy like we saw on The Highlander. Amsterdam was a cheater, he was into conn jobs for a while but nothing really serious. Funny thing about John Amsterdam is that he always told the truth, how many days he was sober, 15.000+ days, that he was at a certain baseball game long ago. He always told the truth, of course people didn’t believe him and laughed it away. Reminds me of Jarod of the TV show “The Pretender” who also told the truth but people couldn’t imagine it to be the truth, so they simply laughed.
I don’t have very much to tell about the episodes, except that they are all solid episodes, a cop show with some hints here and there, some flashbacks to earlier times, every episode gives a hint about John Amsterdam, what he is, what he was. Funny thing was, around the 1900’s he was a famous cabinet maker, which he still does in the present day to earn some extra money and experts knew it was authentic which it was only it wasn’t old, it was refurbished. It ends on a sad note, he believes he has found his true love, but when he survives a bullet, he figures, she isn’t the one for him and he breaks up with Sara. On a positive note, New Amsterdam doesn’t really end on a cliff-hanger. Of course, it ends open but it’s not that a real cliff-hanger.
As I said, because it was only a short run, New Amsterdam is more a procedural with some fantasy/SCI-FI elements. The episodes are solid, there is not one episode that is boring, all entertaining but it was still as if you were waiting inline to go to a theme park or the carnival. You were excited, almost your turn to walk in, getting jitters but you were still waiting in the line. That is what the first season of New Amsterdam was, it was about to start but then it was over. Still, if you get the chance to rewatch it, do it, and think of the possibilities, think of a TV show like Highlander, where the creators got to build their own universe, I wished John Amsterdam had gotten that chance too!
With the help of wikipedia