Two Guys, a Girl and a TV Set

Three college friends out in the world, filling the void with television…and loving it.

Posts Tagged ‘The Event’

What Does The Event Mean?

Posted by Mr. Feeny on October 11, 2010

Not what it actually is. That doesn’t really matter to me right now, since the plot is moving along at a brisk pace. The writers have solved one of the biggest complaints in complicated serials. Viewers can’t claim frustration for not getting answers or for plots dragging on. Each episode certainly leaves things hanging, but it’s a reasonable amount of suspense. They’ve struck a very good balance in that aspect of storytelling.

The rest, though, continues to be uncompelling. What else is there besides a little intrigue and a little action? Where is the greater meaning or theme? That’s what The Event is most lacking. There’s no sense that any development happening means something outside of this world the writers have created.

That’s what Lost did so well. Every episode questioned some larger issue. The show had a purpose beyond getting off the island. Look at the finale. Some people (Kate, Sawyer, Richard, etc) actually did escape, but it was an afterthought. The real story was how their characters developed and grew over the course of their adventure. And each individual episode showed those struggles, both in flashbacks and current action.

I don’t see that happening in The Event. That’s the piece that’s missing from so many serials like this. It’s not just about character development. It’s about a driving force, something pushing those characters besides the action. For a while, it seemed like tonight’s episode would start to tap into that. The flashbacks focused mostly on Sean and Leila, when he first met her parents. There was no connection to the conspiracy. It was just an opportunity to get to know these characters and perhaps apply it to what’s happening now. And the writers dropped the ball. There was no parallel between the flashback and the current problem. It just seemed like an awkward way to tell us more about their relationship. And then they mixed it with a random flashback on the president’s dinner with Sophia.

Every character is exactly what you’d expect that character to be. President Martinez is a well-intentioned leader who wants answers, but everyone around him is keeping him in the dark. His advisers are all shady and conspiratory. The FBI agent is by-the-books but still has a good feeling about Sean being right. The bad guys are one step ahead all the time. If this show were really executing well, I’d be delving into the individuals right now, not the standard character descriptions. But what do we know about any of their motivations, dilemmas, concerns, feelings? They’re simply all pieces on a chess board.

So right now, it’s basically just FlashForward. And I actually found the characters there to be much more interesting. And, there was a greater theme, albeit one they hammered us over the head with. Can we change the future? Do we have the power to make our own decisions or is everything predetermined? Are we destined to repeat mistakes? Every week I watch The Event, I start to like FlashForward more (though there are just as many gaps in logic and plot holes…but I’ll save that usual rant for another day).

The drama isn’t even that exciting to me, but that might be because I’ve seen it all so many times. After 8 seasons of 24, I’d be shocked if there was any twist that would really surprise me. The ending this week was a bit unforeseen, but again, not completely unoriginal. That’s why an original storyline behind the action is so important. Without it, I just can’t see myself sticking with this show much longer.

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“The Event” Premiere┬áReview

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-

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