james debate
james debate

Thursday, 24 September 2009

Written by Brannon Braga, David Goyer, Robert Sawyer (Novel)
Starring Joseph Fiennes, John Cho
Broadcast date 24th September 2009
Running time 44 minutes

flash forward pilot review

For anyone even vaguely tuned in to the latest happenings in entertainment, there's been one new television show above all others that people are talking about. FlashForward is that show. Brought to you by David Goyer, the guy who co-wrote the Nolan Batman films and Brannon Braga, who gave us Star Trek Voyager (and some of the Next Generation), this new show adapts Robert Sawyer's novel of the same name.

The plot follows a group of seemingly unconnected individuals as they attempt to unravel the mystery behind a cataclysmic event that sees everyone around the entire world suddenly fall unconscious and experience visions of 6 months in the future for 2 minutes and 17 seconds. It's a fairly awesome premise, but arguably one that will be a little bit difficult to keep going past one season.

As I mentioned, there is a HUGE buzz about this show. With Lost entering it's final season this year, ABC, and indeed the WORLD, needs a successor worthy of stepping into its footsteps, and many are now hoping that FlashForward will be the answer. If only this blatant "piggy backing on Lost's success" wasn't so obvious.

In the years since Lost began, we have seen numerous copycats, most of which have failed miserably after one season or so. Making a show like Lost, clearly, is not as easy as it seems. Most writers seem to make the mistake that the compelling part of Lost is the endless stream of mystery and intrigue, cue a string of similar shows that just present seemingly incomprehensible mysteries without really telling you very much. But this is why most of these shows fail, the real meat and potatoes of Lost is the character, the wonderful, nuanced, deep characters, and most shows miss that.

FlashForward, clearly, doesn't reach that level just yet, but being that it's only one episode in I think we can give it time to expand. Remember that Fringe took a while to really get into the swing of things as well.

But the problem with this pilot is not simply that the characters have no depth, I'm sure they do, it's just that the writers have tried to cram far too much plot into one episode. Think back to season 1 of Lost and how slowly the show eased itself into our lives, working on the characters above the actual mythology of the show. This pilot episode is so worried about being able to fit all the important exposition into the first two hours that it largely sidesteps the characters. By the end of the first two hours, all the characters essentially know what happened, and yet we know only superficial details about the characters. It's all a bit of a clumsy jumble, which is a shame because the content is so good.

But despite this, this was still an excellent 2 hours of television. The plot shows serious promise and the characters are all well thought out and well acted. It is good to see Joseph Fiennes back, and kicking ass, and I'm looking forward to seeing Dominic Monaghan (Charlie on Lost) make his appearance in the coming episodes.

This one has earned a place in my regular television rotation, and i'm excited to see where it heads.

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