Friday, September 25, 2009

Flashforward: Where Kangaroos Might Be Important

The first time I saw the preview for the new ABC series Flashforward, I tried to draw parallels with one of my favorite TV shows, Lost.  Unfortunately, I was also obligated to draw parallels with one of the most intriguing shows to come out in the last couple of years which would only suffocate by its own weight, The Nine.  Which would it be?  Welcome to the third installment of the JMann Review Television Review.

At first, I was excited to learn that ABC was deploying its Lost corollary - have one of the stars of Lost become one of the leads of a new show.  It started with Michael last year with the Unusuals and continues with Juliet in V (I hope the red dust and fear of water continues with her new show).  I was no longer excited when the Lost character getting her own show was Penny, who in our current show plays Olivia, the do-good judging doctor.  Just as long as she's not hopelessly sailing around the world bungling every chance to meet up with Desmond, I guess it will be okay.

Six months prior to April 29, 2010.  Of course, I forget to watch it when it premieres, but I had a feeling that I was going to have another opportunity to watch, so I wasn't worried.  And of course, it was replayed the following night.  The premiere starts with our heroes waking up to mass destruction and devastation in Los Angeles.  It's interesting to see how blacking out for two minutes caused everyone to run over pedestrians precisely at the right time, accelerate into parked cars at the wrong time, fly helicopters into buildings and so on.  If I blacked out, I would probably just slump over and stab myself with my pen.  Our heroes later find out that the destruction wasn't just relegated to Los Angeles, it happened in San Diego too.  Oh well, if it happens in Los Angeles and San Diego, then it MUST be a global event, they think to themselves (or was it just me sarcastically acknowledging California's importance to the world?).

Improbably, the FBI starts piecing the mosaic of mayhem together; they discover that they all were not sleeping but actually viewing themselves six months into the future and that they all were taken to the same date (April 29, 2010).  The FBI characters include Mark, one of the above named heroes who is clearly a loose cannon and recovering alcoholic.  Mark listens to everyone's irrelevant predictions and then declares that his premonition involved looking at all of the leads while in an alcohol fueled rage (I will no longer wear any friendship bracelets that my daughter gives me) .  One must wonder though, if he is so drunk, how can he have a flashforward of himself being blacked out drunk?  What would he actually remember?  Wouldn't he just remember sleeping in his work clothes with a nasty hangover in the morning, but nothing of the night before?  Well he's doing better than the poor sap who doesn't have any flash forwards, thus leading him to the conclusion that he was dead six months later.  Did he ever stop to realize that maybe he just won't be on the show in six months? The poor sap comes up with a good line though "This is crazy.  So we're running point just because he had a premonition that we were running point?"

The show began very strong in my view.  It did not try to cram the characters down our collective throats.  The special effects and the mystery will keep those interested in that sort of thing (like Losties) hooked for the foreseeable future.  And despite the fact that I find it hard to believe that a key character and possible bad guy would be attending a Detroit Tigers game during the black out, this was a strong effort.  What did you see?  90 out of 100.

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