The idea of an immortal detective or even police detective is not exactly a new idea by now. Every show from Highlander to Forever Knight to Angel to Moonlight has supped at that table. But New Amsterdam manages to be one of the worst entries in the genre yet, blending generic TV detective plots with an obnoxious main character with the entire thing overlaid with an unbearably phony pathos.
The fundamental difference between New Amsterdam and Forever Knight or Angel is the complete lack of anything edgy, aside from the Bones style closeups of corpses that seem to have become di rigeur on Fox now. Nikolaj Coster Waldau’s John Amsterdam manages to be boring and annoying. Not only does he not hide his immortality, he repeatedly thrusts in the face of everyone he meets.
Where other immortals hide from the rest of the world, John Amsterdam can’t shut up about being immortal, instead he goes around boring everyone with anecdotes from past centuries, from his new sassy female partner to a suspect on the subway to just about anyone who wanders into his life. You can’t wait for someone to reply, “Yes you’re immortal, we get it. Now just shut up about it already.”
In line with Forever Knight or Highlander, New Amsterdam is geared around flashbacks from the past, itself an annoying storytelling device that Lost has pretty much beaten into the ground, but on New Amsterdam the flashbacks themselves don’t really matter. They’re just another way for the series to kill 5 minutes in between showing the main character working on a table or taking photos of Times Square with an antique camera or doing some completely implausible police work.