||[Sep. 26th, 2009|03:49 pm]
International Bon Vivant and Raconteur
As with any concept-heavy TV series, Thursday night's premiere of FlashForward on ABC left me wondering just how they're going to manage to fill up an entire season, let alone a continuing series, with the ramifications of a single, mysterious event. On the other hand, I found the writing pretty good--at least when it wasn't in heavy expository dialogue mode: "It was like a memory of something that hasn't happened yet. What if it wasn't a flashback, but a flashforward?" Yeah, that's how people talk -- and the acting was pretty good too. The cast seems well developed. It's always a pleasure to watch John Cho in action, and Joseph Fiennes, while not entirely settled into the leading role yet, seems only moments away from becoming so. Our old friend Jack Davenport shows up to say, "Look, everyone, I'm more than Steve from Coupling or Norrington from those dreadful pirate movies!" Furthermore, I was surprised to see Family Guy's Seth MacFarlane show up as an FBI agent, looking somewhat uncomfortable with not being allowed to just start doing Stewie or Brian's voice, but I was not at all surprised to see Sonya Walger. I swear to God she must be the hardest working woman in show business right now.
Anyway, the single, mysterious event in question is that everyone all over the world suddenly falls asleep at exactly the same moment, for two minutes and seventeen seconds, and has a brief glimpse into their shared future. This might seem like hippy flowerchild nirvana--sleep! dreams! the world coming together as one!--until you realize our happy dreamers might actually be flying planes and driving cars and performing surgeries when sleepytime hits. So a lot of people die in the first episode, and in a narratively convincing manner too.
So how can the series keep up the tension if this blackout event was just a one-time thing (which, admittedly, I don't know it is)? I wonder that myself, though the last few seconds of the premiere offered an interesting clue in the form of some footage a surveillance camera. No spoilers here--it's actually a great moment of suspense--but it opens the door for some neat ideas and directions for the series to go in. And of course there's the promise of watching these characters get to the point in their lives that they witnessed in their flashforwards, that date of which conveniently also happens to be the scheduled date of the first season's finale.
Despite some moments of heavy-handedness, the TV Nerd is intrigued.