In interviews, Maya Rudolph and Fred Armisen have said that what attracted them to the project that became Forever, a slyly surreal 8-episode series on Amazon Prime, was the prospect of telling a complete story about the same characters over an extended period of time — and then dropping them.
It's a chance for them to shake off their SNL sketch-comedy training, which exploited their talents for quick changes and big takes; Forever's limited lifespan (there will be no subsequent seasons) presents them with an opportunity to thumb their noses at their television alma mater's penchant for driving recurring, catchphrase-based hit characters into the ground. (Armisen's work since, on both Portlandia and Documentary Now!, has been just as chameleon-like as ever, but both of those shows supply him a bit more room to settle into his characters. Rudolph, meanwhile, has spent her years since leaving SNL dependably killing it in sketch (albeit in the wince-inducing Maya & Marty) and in smaller comedic roles (Up All Night, Life of the Party, Big Mouth and a too-brief, flatly astonishing Dionne Warwick turn on The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt).
Neither performer has previously assayed roles that require them to dig as deep as they do in Forever. (Rudolph, it must be said, digs deeper and finds more dramatic gold — Armisen, as an actor, retains a blankness that's played for laughs, but keeps us at a distance.) The story of the series, which to avoid spoilers I'll discuss here with great delicacy and not inconsiderable difficulty, is set up neatly in the first episode's quietly virtuosic opening five minutes: The camera pans left to right, across a series of scenes featuring Rudolph's June and Armisen's Oscar as they meet, date, marry and settle into a life together.
Can a couple who seems happy enough be... happy, enough? That's what Forever grapples with, though "grapples" implies effortful struggle, and the series is far too chill to let you see it sweat. One reason for that: Part of the show's subject is passivity — in relationships, in life — and roads not taken. As that passivity slowly but steadily leaches into the series itself, you may find your mind wandering, noting, for example how its ability to [redacted! spoilers!] compares to another television series like [redacted! spoilers!], which is currently playing in a very similar conceptual sandbox.