Is New Amsterdam a rip off?
New Amsterdam, FOX's upcoming midseason drama about an immortal man living in modern day New York City, has some fans of a certain 2002 novel wondering if the plot is as distinct as the show's creators say it is.
Pete Hamill's novel, Forever, centers on a man named Cormac O'Connor who is granted eternal life and dwells in Manhattan. New Amsterdam also centers on an immortal man living in Manhattan.
Hamill does not intend to sue over the similarities, claiming the legal fees wouldn't be worth it. Still, he points out similarities between the two characters: O'Connor still bears the scar that "killed" him, and Amsterdam's body is similarly ravaged with scars; O'Connor uses his infinite time on earth to teach himself piano, and Amsterdam does the same; O'Connor must find his true love in order to find peace, and Amsterdam must also find his soul mate in order to grow old again.
New Amsterdam producer David Manson points out -- correctly, I think -- that immortality isn't exactly a new concept. If anything, the only crime committed here by both Hamill and the creators of New Amsterdam is that they both came up with the same unoriginal idea. For those who say the "scars" and "piano playing" similarities are too striking, I would argue that having an immortal man riddled with innocuous scars, or using a scar as a metaphor doesn't require too much of a leap in the creator's imagination.
And my reply to the "piano" thing? Rent Groundhog Day, which came out long before either this book or television show. Bill Murray's character also teaches himself piano when he becomes trapped in time. Again, it's not exactly a new concept, or a very imaginative one.