The Event: Pilot

"They saved us."
"Who? Who saved us?"

Last year's unfortunate experience with FlashForward has made me leery of any new high concept show with a convoluted plot that bills itself as "the new Lost." I like the old Lost, thank you very much.

So you can say I went into this with more than a modicum of doubt. I wasn't all that interested in Sean Walker, our lead average guy schmuck. I was definitely not amused by all of the jumping around, either; I groaned out loud when we got the fifth or sixth "eight days earlier" or whatever. Would it have hurt them to put the flashbacks in chronological order, at least within one episode? Do they really, truly want to confuse their audience? It made me feel like taking notes, although I resisted the impulse.

But then we got to the last five minutes, and something intriguing finally happened. Who saved the President and/or Laura Innes? Was it aliens? a wormhole? a time blip? beings from an alternate reality? mutated X-Men incarcerated in Alaska? It was also an interesting surprise that Sean's prospective future father-in-law was flying the plane, clearly sacrificing himself for his daughter and/or granddaughter. Although if so, I wonder why Sean was trying to stop him.

None of the actors stood out for me yet, although I'm encouraged by the presence of Laura Innes, Tony Todd and the always fabulous Blair Underwood. I noticed many homages to Lost, Heroes, 24, even North by Northwest. Mount Inostranka in Alaska felt very X-Files. Greg and Vicky, the obvious plants who were after Sean and Layla, reminded me of a Timothy Olyphant movie that Dan forced me to watch (A Perfect Getaway).

Some of the imagery was interesting, too. Lots of images of water, rain, and snow. A blood stain in the shape of a teddy bear. AviasAir flight 514, huh? Why not go all the way and make it Oceanic?

So. Could be cool. Could be FlashForward. Right now, I'm just planning to review the premiere; I refuse to watch this episode a second time and do any deeper analysis. And I won't commit to reviewing every episode until and unless I fall in love with it.

But I'm definitely intrigued enough to tune in next week.

Two out of four secret facilities in Alaska,

Billie
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Billie Doux loves good television, especially science fiction, and spends way too much time writing about it.

6 comments:

Josie Kafka said...

You liked this more than me, Billie. But I'm still in shock from Persons Unknown. Even the NBC announcer's voice makes me shudder.

The last few minutes were definitely tense and fast-paced, but I didn't feel like there was much there there, to paraphrase Gertrude Stein (which we should do more often). Also, the global conspiracy only seems to involve 4 major players. That makes me nervous.

I don't think I'm going to watch it again, at least not right away. I am going to record it and stockpile the episodes on my DVR in case it does turn out to be good. But I'm not hopeful.

(By the way, I love that we have a new scale. Instead of one to ten, it's FlashForward to cool. With PU, if we need to bump it up to eleven.)

Billie Doux said...

Bookwritinmama just forwarded this link to me. Many good points.

If Lost Ultimately Didn't Work, How can the Event?

Cheza said...

loved the review and i felt the same... did not take me long to stop watching FlashForward and never watched Lost...

because they can amount a lot of tension but i don't see in the future a good end to it or something that will blow my mind away...

i just felt pessimist about this series that promises a lot but in the end it might not deliver it

Josie Kafka said...

It's an interesting theory in that article, B.

I'm still a wide-eyed idealist, though. (Well, only about TV. For everything else I'm a misanthropic curmudgeon.) There are some shows that ended well: The Shield comes to mind. While I didn't like how BSG ended, it did definitely end on its own terms.

Sure, as they say, BSG wasn't a puzzle, but the problem isn't with shows that have puzzles. The problem is with shows that substitute puzzles for plots. (Plots can be developed, puzzles can only be solved.)

I know that 99% of the world hated the Twin Peaks finale, but I thought it was satisfying. It solved the puzzle in a way that developed the plot dramatically, especially as far as some of the characters were concerned.

Note to all the screenwriters reading this comment: plot first, puzzle next. The plot is your blueprint. The puzzles are decorative water features. (I've been watching too much HGTV.)

Billie Doux said...

Since we're not planning to review further episodes unless and until we fall in love with the show, I was thinking --

SPOILER SPACE FOR COMMENTS ON THE SECOND EPISODE, "To Keep Us Safe"!

1
2
3
4
5

I liked this episode much better than the pilot. The jumping around in time plot device is still bugging the hell out of me, but immortal aliens teleporting airplanes two thousand miles away? Pretty cool. Although not so much if they were responsible for what happened to the passengers. Were they?

Feel free to post comments on episode two!

Vanessa said...

I agree, Billy! The jumping around is almost comical (for my hubby and me anyway!) and it detracts from the drama. Don't know why it bugs me so much. Didn't bug me in Damages... The acting and the screenwriting also aren't top notch. I expected more.