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“The Event” Premiere Review

Posted by Mr. Feeny on September 20, 2010

Did you miss The Event Monday night? Perhaps you watched Lone Star or Monday Night Football instead. Well, if you saw the preview trailer for the show, then you already know what happens in the first 40 minutes of the pilot. Not much new, except for a few details.

But then, the next 20 minutes…holy cow. That’s what I loved about 24 and Lost (the shows that this is inevitably compared to). Twists. I kind of saw this one coming, but not to the full extent (I won’t spoil it here). I like that the twists don’t seem as blatant as in FlashForward (another wannabe serial hit). Here, they are a bit subtler and still shrouded in mystery. They use flashbacks, but in a more limited scope. Relating it directly to events that led to that moment. And plenty of gaps still left to fill in (although I do feel like I understand the main plot from this episode…or I did, until the end…again, won’t give it away).

As a brief synopsis, though, in case you haven’t seen the preview trailer, several events are converging in one location. The president (Blair Underwood) is at that location. He just found out about a secret detention facility (the Gitmo allusions could not be more blatant if they used the name). The leader of the detainees (Laura Innes) is with him, as a plane looks like it’s going to crash right into them. On the plane is a guy (Jason Ritter) whose girlfriend (Sarah Roemer) suddenly disappeared without a trace. And there’s someone else (Ian Anthony Dale) trying to stop the plane from crashing. Sadly, I can’t be any more descriptive without ruining things. I can tell you my favorite guest actor, Zjelko Ivanek, is one of the president’s suspicious advisers, though.

Yes, there’s a lot of mystery. This isn’t a show for the casual viewer. But for the guy who’s stuck in the den while his wife is watching Dancing with the Stars? I can see that working. Lots of action, lots of details to watch, tons of suspense. And science fiction.

What? Yes, this is a sci-fi show. It wasn’t for 58 minutes. But definitely is one. So don’t be one of those Lost fans, complaining about the science fiction down the road. This is your warning. There are unreal things here.

But for me, as a science fiction kinda guy, that just makes me more interested in watching next week. Sure, I like political intrigue. Yes, who doesn’t like a nice kidnapping caper? But throw in an inexplicable event, I’m sold. And I’m pretty sure that thing at the end is “the event.” Probably. Maybe.

Where this is all going, I’m not sure. It’s a bit like Independence Day, with advisers keeping secrets from the president, several plot lines intersecting, aliens hovering over major cities. But I did enjoy that movie a lot. And yes, I was kidding about the aliens.

There is one thing missing from The Event. The element that so many serials have tried and failed to capture. A devotion to characters. Maybe that’s not possible in a pilot. How much did we know about the Lost castaways in the first episode? Actually, quite a bit more. And the difference is that in Lost, those character moments helped to build a picture of those people. The Event‘s character moments simply explain the plot. But I’m hoping that develops more in the future. Even 24 had some great moments for characters. If the characters don’t develop, though, this show won’t come close to Lost. But, it could be enjoyable on its own. In a lighter way.

In short, this is more compelling to me than FlashForward. But I watched every episode of that. So take my grade with a grain of salt.

Grade: B-


2 Responses to ““The Event” Premiere Review”

  1. BS said

    “There is one thing missing from The Event. The element that so many serials have tried and failed to capture. A devotion to characters.”

    DING! You are correct, sir!

  2. CJ Cregg said

    I just got around to watching this. And was totally into it until the last 3 minutes. As predicted, it’s more compelling to me as a thriller than as a sci fi show. I agree with you that the characters are underdeveloped.

    But it was exciting. No two ways around that. I was eating lunch while watching, and I forgot to eat half of the time.

    Very exciting, but the premise isn’t really what I’m looking for in a show, and I didn’t like the sci fi twist.

    Grade: B-

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