Posted by Mr. Feeny on September 24, 2009
“Just because we saw these things doesn’t mean they’re going to happen” – Mark
Flash forward to April of 2010. LOST is winding down, finishing its successful and historic run. But LOST fans aren’t completely depressed. They’re ready to keep obsessing a new show. And like FlashForward, they got a sneak peek of life without LOST tonight.
Like the running theme of this show (can destiny be changed?), there’s no way to guarantee FlashForward will be as good or as addictive as its natural ABC counterpart. A lot could happen in the next six months. Characters might not develop interesting backstories. Clues to the meaning of the show may not be steadily revealed. It might just become boring. But as of today, I’m excited.
So excited, that I was drifting off to sleep at 7. Couldn’t keep my eyes open. Ten minutes into FlashForward, all that drowsiness was gone. This show is captivating.
The basic plot, if somehow you haven’t heard: everyone in the world blacks out at exactly the same time, and sees visions of their future at the exact same time six months from now. Or so they think. Now everyone’s trying to make sense of what happened and whether their visions are unavoidable.
Now, despite all the inevitable comparisons to LOST, it’s not a carbon copy. But, let’s list the similarities anyway. How about the first scene, which features complete mayhem, explosions, screaming, the main character saving people. Perhaps that was supposed to give us a feeling of deju vu, because we have seen it before. On a remote island. We’ve also seen the main actress before: Sonya Walger as Olivia (Penny on LOST). Also, in two weeks, Dominic Monaghan (Charlie on LOST) will be joining the cast. There’s a feeling of being lost, as none of the characters no where to start. Instead of flashbacks, we get flashforwards…but they still reveal aspects of the characters. And then there’s just the completely inexplicable oddball moments. Substitute polar bear for kangaroo. There’s even a shout out to LOST fans with a billboard in one scene for Oceanic Airlines (see photo). Not so subtle.
For FlashForward to hold my interest, there needs to be surprising connections between characters and events. The mythology, as it’s often called in LOST. By giving us little clues throughout the flash forwards (and the massive bulletin board of images and words and string), I’m fairly confident will get those reveals. Just in this first half of the pilot, we saw how Mark (Olivia’s husband and main character) got his friendship bracelet and how Olivia meets the man she apparently is going to have an affair with…who she had never seen before. It’s a natural mystery with enough intrigue to keep viewers glued to the TV every week. Will everything really happen? Is anything unavoidable? Who is the person who didn’t blackout in Detroit? Who’s behind this? I WANT TO KNOW!
That’s why crime procedurals are so successful. Viewers love to solve mysteries. As long as FlashForward gives answers each episode, leading to the bigger one, I can’t see a way this show won’t stay popular. It’s not a guaranteed hit, though, unless the characters develop as well as we’d hope. Intrigue is only half of what people tune in for. They want action (since half the characters are FBI agents, that shouldn’t be a problem), romance (plenty of flash forwards involving love and lust), and interesting characters. Writing can sometimes take a back seat (like when Mark’s daughter says she “saw no more good days.” Yeah, that sounds natural) as can acting if the plot is compelling enough. Consider that this type of idea has been tried at least twice in the past few years. Both those shows failed quickly. We shall see if the writers have provided enough miscellania to captivate.
I can’t wait for tomorrow’s water cooler debates to begin. “I don’t think they can change it. That’s their future.” “Are you crazy? There’s no such thing as a sure thing. It’s all up to them.” Let the games begin.