Thursday, October 01, 2009

FlashForward, "White to Play": Apocalypse wacky

Trying to get through as much Thursday night TV as I can, on Thursday night, so really quick thoughts on the second episode of "FlashForward" coming up just as soon as I order a happy meal...

It's early yet, but so far it feels like "FlashForward" has bitten off much more than it can chew. They need to depict the physical and emotional chaos that would be caused by the blackout itself, as well as the psychological trauma of the world getting a look at its future (or lack thereof), and it needs to move the plot forward, and it needs to make us interested in the characters and why they're so excited or upset by what they saw...

...and two episodes in, it doesn't feel like it's doing any of those things particularly well. The characters are ciphers, there are occasional allusions at best to just how dysfunctional society would be after a mass blackout, too much of the dialogue still feels like bald exposition, Joseph Fiennes still seems like a lightweight leading man (and has a distracting bow-legged walk), etc.

This episode is where Marc Guggenheim took over Brannon Braga's writing and producing responsibilities, and I had hoped that he would start giving the show and its characters a humanity that's usually lacking in Braga-written shows like "Threshold" and the "Star Trek" spin-offs. Instead, the major difference was that we occasionally got injections of pretty broad comic relief (an expansion of the boss's toilet incident, the racially-insensitive cupcake lady), complete with the nails-on-a-chalkboard Please Laugh Now music ABC loves to insert into the lighter moments of its dramas (including the Guggenheim co-created "Eli Stone"). I'm not saying comedy is a bad idea - "Lost" gets away with light moments all the time, and there were times when even Ron Moore admitted "Battlestar Galactica" was too grim - but the tonal shifts were jarring, and it felt like (lame) comic relief for comic relief's sake.

I'm in for a bit, in the hope that they can figure this out and make all the pieces fit together, but the show is not off to a promising start so far.

What did everybody else think?

60 comments:

Alan Sepinwall said...

And I didn't even get into what a weird paradoxical loop this all is. Everything Shakespeare does, he does because he saw himself doing it in the future, which then helps create the images he saw in the future. If they're going to have John Cho be the skeptical one, he needs to point this out in virtually every scene.

The TV-wok said...

I, for one, thoroughly enjoyed it. Didn't notice any bowleggedness and I love the lighter tone.

About the paradox thing... IS it a paradox if the visions cause the future that the visions depict? I figured that it'd only be a paradox if the visions cause a Different future.

Lester Freamon said...

I hope we don't have to have the same "whatever happened, happened" debate from last season on Lost again. That would be tiresome.

P.S. Beware the Ides of March, Agent Noh.

Anonymous said...

Well John Cho did point out that by wearing the bracelet it was like Benford wanted to make his vision come true. And I think they've already touched on the idea that even things that people do to try to prevent the future they saw will only help it to come true.

Anyway, I agree that so far the characters are slightly ciperhish and that Joseph Fiennes is a bit underwhelming (I think I'd have rather seen Jack Davenport in his role) but I find the story intriguing and even if I'm not totally invested in the characters yet I find most of them likeable enough that I think I'll be tuning in for the forseeable future (no pun intended.)

Dan said...

Alan - how is it a paradox when the future hasn't happened yet? Just because he's doing things to create the vision of the FlashBoard doesn't make it a paradox.

The grand idea of the show (free will vs. predestination) is so far more interesting than the execution. Right now it feels like there are too many characters and it's not clear how they fit together. And the main characters aren't very compelling.

So far it's been an OK show with two really good moments (the video of the guy in the stadium and the scene in the warehouse in Utah). They better be going somewhere quickly if they want to keep people interested.

Brigid said...

I don't understand why they felt the need to show us flashbacks of things that happened last week. That they showed in the preview, multiple times. It took away any sense of forward momentum the show had and like the show was talking down to me. Show me things I didn't already see.

Shari said...

I agree with Brigid. How many times are we going to see Mark & Olivia's flashbacks? Also their repetitive conversations about the "other man". I'm not connecting to them as the main characters which is never a good sign for me. But then, like last week, there's something compelling at the very end of the episode which makes me want to see what's going to happen. Not sold on this one yet.

domino87 said...

Came here to say the exact same thing as Brigid and Shari. Would be nice if they expected the audience to be smart and remember details so they wouldn't have to hit us on the head over and over with things we've already seen. After this episode I think it's fairly safe to say this is NOT the "new Lost", but it's still intriguing enough for me to stick around hope for the best.

Craig Ranapia said...

there were times when even Ron Moore admitted "Battlestar Galactica" was too grim

Sure, but as Ron also said it's pretty hard to extract belly-laughs from a show that is about a handful of survivors of the near-total genocide of the human race running for their lives. I think there was humour in BSG, but it tended to be in dialogue that was character-driven and pitch black, so you didn't have the grinding tonal shift of a bad potty-gag. (Keep Seth McFarlane away from the writers' room, people. Please.)

Sean W said...

Simmons

Eldritch said...

"The TV-wok said.....
About the paradox thing... IS it a paradox if the visions cause the future that the visions depict? I figured that it'd only be a paradox if the visions cause a Different future.
"

It's the same thing as this kind of craziness:

A scientist invents a time machine. He travels to the future and finds himself in a museum. He spies a strange object he can't fathom.

Just before his automatic retrieval system snatches him back to his present, he takes the strange object.

Back in his present, scientists study the object for years and no one can decipher what it is or does.

Stymied, they put it in a museum where it stays until years later when a time traveling scientist from the past appears and steals it.

Okay. So where did the object come from?

That's the paradox. It's in a time loop in which it was never created.

That's the problem with the visions. If you have a vision of the future (the actual, real future), then it must exist is some way. Then if you make your vision come to be, it's like stealing a strange object from a museum.

Tom said...

Is anyone else wondering why there are basically only three FBI agents investigating a global catastrophe?

ryan said...

I think this show set the record for most on-the-nose lines of dialogue in Lost ripoff history. That's quite an accomplishment.

One more week and I'm out.

Earache said...

I thought a major giveaway in the plot was that Olivia's future mate (the injured boy's dad) wasn't shocked to see her when they first met. I thought that the black FBI agent and his counterpart in London (?) confirmed that people saw the same vision in their flashforwards. If so, then shouldn't the injured boy's dad have been equally shocked to meet Olivia in real life?? The fact that he wasn't shocked suggests that he's involved with the planning and execution of the blackout...

...or maybe that was intentional and we're supposed to have caught on to that.

KatieMB said...

I enjoyed the epi for the most part - definitely want to keep watching. I agree with some of the comments above regarding the flash forwards - repeating Mark's flash forwards have some value because they assure the audience that the investigation is moving in the right direction. (Or is it?)

Earache (wondering if you're a Sox fan?) - the lack of recognition the other man had for Olivia was "explained" (perhaps not well or believably): she said he didn't look at her in the flash forward, so he didn't recognize her when they met in person.

Alot of character development needs to happen, but it *has* been only two episodes and this is ABC TV we're discussing. ;)

Teev said...

I'll stick with it for a bit longer but I'm not feeling super excited about it. It's kind of boring really with all the talking and the repeating of scenes from last week.

Lizbeth said...

So can the future be changed or not? Didn't they in fact already change the future by helping the cupcake lady with the future credit card problem?? If that problem was resolved then she would not be having an argument in the future with her credit card company...so her vision is no longer true.

I'm assuming the plot with Cho now learning when he's going to die will be all about him trying to change his future.

If so, this show is beginning to remind me of Heroes (which I no longer watch). I got so tired to them showing us a catastrophic future that NEVER came true. It was always a big lame fakeout.

I'm still mad at Heroes for killing off Daphne after showing us a future where she was married to Matt Parkman and pregnant with his child.

At least on Lost, when Desmond saw visions of Charlie's death they actually came true!

KeepingAwake said...

I'm hoping that the repetition of the FF's is simply to allow folks who missed the first episode to catch up. (Fringe, notably, did this so much that I gave up on the show before it became really good.) SO maybe by the third episode FF will just work with the audience they have and stop trying to get new viewers up to speed.

My guess regarding Mark's need to keep basing his investigation on everything in his vision, trying to make it come true: The more successful he is in doing this, the more he will feel that his marriage is fatally doomed and that he will fall off the wagon. If the vision is true, then all of it is true. Yes, he wants to solve the mystery of the FF, but he doesn't want his marriage and life to collapse into a mess of drinking and cheating. So in a way he's driving toward testing the marriage and his sobriety by working so hard to ensure that his visions surrounding the investigation are true.

The show's been a bit disappointing so far, but not so disappointing that I'm giving up on it yet.

belinda said...

It is still annoying to hear the word 'flashback' in the show. We get it, move on. The dialogue is still clunky, and many times I'd think, why aren't they showing us instead of telling us? I'd stick with the show because I like the supporting cast, but for now, it's just an all right show (But, I keep thinking back to The Nine and I think I have similar feelings for this show for now - interesting premise, bogged down by dullness - I hope that doesn't happen!)

If I were Cho, who now knows he'd be dead, I would start by changing up that mystery board of evidence just by a little (say, write the names in a different ink or use different color paper than the future). It won't affect their case, but it would make it different.

Alan Sepinwall said...

So can the future be changed or not? Didn't they in fact already change the future by helping the cupcake lady with the future credit card problem?? If that problem was resolved then she would not be having an argument in the future with her credit card company...so her vision is no longer true.

No, because her attempts to get the credit card company to call Shakespeare and Sulu suggests that, even though she thought the FBI had resolved the issue, she was going to still be dealing with it six months later. That's just how bill collectors work a lot of the time, unfortunately.

Greg said...

Anybody know any good cupcake shops open at 10 o'clock at night?

Beth M. said...

This show's taking on the idea of must a future that's been seen come to pass that way reminds me a lot of A Prayer For Owen Meany by John Irving. You all seem like the type of audience who would enjoy it if you haven't read it.

stacy said...

I’m starting to get a bit annoyed by how unrealistically they are dealing with a world wide event. Not only is only one FBI agency in charge of it, but only like 4 or 5 agents are? And the main FBI agent, get to take calls from his family in the middle of a meeting, wow, I would like to work in a company that slack.
I know the want to keep this a character driven drama, but personally I’m much more interested in how different states and different counties would deal with the event.

And, really are we suppose to think it’s funny that a FBI agent doesn’t like to give mouth to mouth, seriously what are they 14 year old boys?

KeepingAwake said...

@Stacy-He was reluctant to give mouth to mouth not so much because the colleague was male as because he just had his head in a urinal.

GOP Gal said...

Wow, can we please give the show a chance? I think its very good so far. I think the problem most people are having is that they are relating it or comparing it too much to Lost. Lost is great show, my favorite by far, but no one will ever replicate it! We can't have such high expectations.

After reading the many reviews of FF (a lot negative surprisngly), I was nervous that it was going to be terrible, but I think people are just being overly critical to be honest. That being said, I thought it was very good, E1 & E2.

I really want to know what Charlie's vision was. We also know that the little boy's dad didn't know Olivia because he techinically didn't see her in his FF. I say put all preconceived notions and thoughts about the show and just sit an enjoy it!

Jen said...

The "humor" in this episode likewise had me cringing. I don't know if it was partly to blame on the delivery of lines like "I've called my divorce lawyer" but on what planet is that kind of back and forth supposed to be cute/humorous? It is rapidly making me despise the lead couple which cannot be a good thing. Even their daughter is annoying me at this point. But overall, everything about the jokes just felt so off.

In terms of people talking about the FBI having only the three folks in the LA office working on the case, I think the arrival of the homeland security lady was meant to thumb its nose at this. Doesn't mean it's any more realistic, but at least it's some sort of acknowledgment by the show that this is ridiculous.

I want to like this show. I really do, but I don't know how much longer I can hold out.

Robin said...

I was much more excited at the end of last week's episode than I was last night. I agree, it was slow moving, and I'm already tired of seeing Olivia's flash forward. At least Shakespeare's (hee) vision has lots of stuff we can try to decipher. John Cho remains the highlight of the whole show for me.

But the warehouse scene was interesting, despite my boyfriend saying "she's going to die" IMMEDIATELY after the sheriff said she didn't have a vision. I'm definitely still in, at least until after certain things shown in the previews happen (trying not to break Alan's spoiler rules).

Robin said...

Also, I'm curious to see where they go with the two kids. I strongly suspect that kids, at least these two and probably others, had very different experiences during the flash forward than adults. That's why Charlie said there are no more good days. I'm wondering if, rather than seeing a personal, micro view of the future, they saw the future on a more global scale. After all, at 10 pm, Charlie (and the little boy in the hospital) should have been asleep. But I don't think their visions involved dreams.

Anonymous said...

The show isn't perfect, but I think it has an interesting story to tell, just from a mystery standpoint.

Feels a bit like all the cool kids are ganging up on it because it isn't as good as Lost and you want to maintain your cool kid cred. How about giving it five to ten episodes and see how it gets its legs under it?

PS - Alan - PODCAST PLEASE.

Archie said...

I'm surprised no one else has noticed this - since most of the commentors are quite quick .... I usually find myself agreeing to their points.

One:
Olivia clearly says that the vision ended before Dylan's dad turned and saw her - so while she knows him, he may not know her. She and Mark discuss this. This would explain why Llyod (Jack Davenport) doesn't recognize Olivia. Each time we see her vision, we see Lloyd's back turned to her somehow so while she's clearly seeing his face, he isn't seeing hers.

Two:
Mark's boss, the director, says they were having a SECOND blackout??? That's why the dude was drowning and he had to do the whole "humorous" mouth-to-mouth??? I guess that main point got lost in the "humor" of the whole situation???

So on the day everyone saw in their visions, everyone is going to have another blackout?????

So what?? Each season is basically going to move us from one set of visions (flash-forwards??) to the next until we figure out why they happen?? I know someone else mentioned in the comments on the Pilot that the supposed date in the blackout is a Thursday, when the season finale could possibly air. So that's it????

Anonymous said...

the miscasting of the lead will doom this show. there are 40 british actors they could have chosen who would have been better.

the Stanfield Org. said...

Agree completely w/ Belinda- my feelings so far for this show seem about identical to how I felt a few years ago about 'The Nine'. There's an interesting premise w/ a lot of potential that the show doesn't seem capable of living up to, bland, kind of likable characters that you don't particularly care about, overly expository dialogue, etc. I'm not overly optimistic that these problems can be fixed, primarily the overall blandness of the characters.

Robin said...

Archie,

I don't think the FBI boss said they were having a second blackout.

He was in the bathroom stall when he had the blackout. His vision was of himself in a bathroom stall (reading a newspaper if I remember correctly). When he woke up from the blackout, he was in the bathroom stall and when he left the stall, he found the other guy at the urinal. The urinal guy was not in his flashforward, he was in the present day.

And as I type this, I really have to wonder how the writer managed to type this out in a script without being chased out of the writer's room.

tracheal infarction said...

@Greg - along those lines...who gets an ultrasound at 10pm?

John J. said...

The show might be irreparably weak. A real event of this scale would cause so much more disruption and insanity than we see here. The producers seem to want to treat it like a slightly larger 9/11, but it's much more than slightly larger. There would be vastly more physical destruction than we're seeing, and the world would be consumed by violent unrest in less developed countries (and probably in developed countries as well).

The psychological damage, too, would be considerably more extensive. The night of 9/11--after I'd checked into a motel in the town where my newspaper had been forced to relocate, miles away from my pregnant wife back in Brooklyn--I looked at myself in the mirror and broke down. I didn't understand what the world had become and felt like I was going mad. That intense feeling faded in short order, but a scenario like the one in "FlashForward" would be much, much harder to get over.

Looking forward to Charlie giving Dad a new friendship bracelet, which is obviously going to happen. (Looking forward assuming I'm still watching when they get around to that, that is.)

Anonymous said...

John Cho should keep his fingers crossed that he really does get killed and off this silly, silly show by April. This isn't Lost, it's the anit-Lost. To do a point-by-point dissection of how this show is annoyingly and boringly the complete opposite of Lost would take an hour an a half.

Fiennes is boring as an actor in this (so drudgingly earnest and disconnected), but he doesn't get much help from a character written to be naive, stupid, AND obtuse, as well as a total jerk. Having Sonya Walger in this thing only points up just how not-Lost this show is. At this point, my thinking is, "Dump the loser, Penny, and go shag Lord Norrington."

When I say not-Lost, I don't mean anything about not being a good supernatural drama, but rather not being coherent storytelling with with developed (or developing) characters. There is nothing compelling here, which is really hard to do when your main plot point is such an unusual and interesting and devastating event.

Yeah, I should have just turned the thing off, but the show last night was so jaw dropingly awful that I could not look away. It was a horrific car wreck, I was a rubbernecker. No way we find out how this ends, because no way enough people stick with something this silly long enough for them to make it to another season.

Too bad, too, because I was dying to like this show.

By the way, the head of the FBI's field office won't share his vision because he was pooping and then saved a man's life? Are you $)#@&^$-in kidding me? Beavis is charge of the FBI field office?

Heh-heh, pooping. Heh-heh, urinal mouth. Heh-heh.

Someone please kill me before I watch this show again next week.

Maura said...

Tom said: Is anyone else wondering why there are basically only three FBI agents investigating a global catastrophe?

I am. I'm also wondering why Lynn Whitfield's character wasn't able to tell them that Homeland Security had already begun an investigation. Because they would have, wouldn't they? And maybe...Oh, I don't know... they would be coordinating with the FBI? I thought that these guys were investigating under orders from their superiors.

Despite that less-than-minor hole in the story, I like this show. Seeing a building go up in flames helped a lot.

My biggest complaint is that Olivia's and Mark's visions have created so much family angst. The family angst in Jericho's first season bugged me,and it's bugging me with this show. And, yeah, it's way too talky. Focus on Charlie's vision, and I don't mean how it affects them as a family. It's already obvious she knows more than anyone else. I'm OK with "a child shall lead the way" if it makes the show better. Amp up the tension. And blow up more buildings.

Archie said...

@Robin -

Hmm ... I'm not sure that's true. One more person seems to have seen/heard the same thing. I also remember Mark asking his boss (who'd earier said he was having a meeting) and therefore in the same general vicinity as Mark's vision of being hunted - if his boss could maybe remember seeing something.

That's when his boss actually amended his earlier story of being in a meeting and told him he was in the crapper.

Hmm .... maybe I need to watch again tonight at 8 ....

Farragut Jones said...

I'll give it another week, but I agree with others that there has been too much repetition and recap, especially with Mark & Olivia's flash-forward.

Also -- and this is just a personal, nitpicky thing -- but as someone who used to work at DOJ (of which the FBI is a part), it really grates to see the investigation handled so unrealistically. FBI HQ and Main Justice would be intimately supervising the Mosaic Unit's operations, no field office would be running its own show, no one would have had any downtime for weeks, and you sure as hell wouldn't have some Deputy Secretary from Homeland Security -- a completely separate agency, for goodness' sake -- in our heroes' chain of command.

Yeah, I know it's a TV show about a completely fanciful event. Still. . . .

Anonymous said...

The big, huge, logic hole is that the visions are of a future subsequent to the blackouts, since Benford is investigating it. So everyone in the world at 10pm April 29th should know that the Flashforward is about to happen. So why doesn't anyone try to send messages back to himself, why are they seemingly oblivious to being observed by their earlier selves, when they should remember doing so?

Why don't I hold up a paper with tomorrow's lottery numbers, share prices; and so on. And then everyone trying to change the future would really scramble things -- these kind of feedback time loops were hinted at by the Terminator series, people coming back from different futures because actions had changed history. Sending information back into the past creates the same kind of paradoxes.

-- Alan (another Alan)

Anonymous said...

Guggenheim is a hack. Goyer could have picked a ton of great showrunners to work with -- and instead he went with a comic book guy who had gotten where he was by kissing upwards to Greg Berlanti. If Goyer and ABC are smart -- they'll bring someone new in there pronto, or just promote Pretzwich and Yorkin (who did the Riches for FX, a sensibility which could be useful here) to the top spot.

Terri said...

I'll give it one more episode and then I think I'm out. Like others here, I hate the unrealistic portrait of what life would be like after an event of this magnitude. Where's the civil unrest?

The scene at the hospital was really annoying. The hospital is insanely busy and yet Olivia never dons her hospital garb and starts working. It was like she was visiting on a day off.

CJ said...

So did the blackout happen at 10 o'clock at night, as Shakespeare reminds us when his kid should have been at home with mom, or was it "11 a.m. Pacific Daylight time" as discussed in the office briefing?

Richard said...

Reading Robert Sawyer's novel (that this series is based on) would iron out some issues for many of the contributors above. For instance,
this future need not come to pass for us. We live in the quantum many worlds multiverse. I don't really think there are logical problems yet,
just that the show is not very good or stimulating.

ryan_the_temp said...

A couple things;

The show has been far too slowly paced this far, in that I don't really care what happens to the family. We already know what happens anyway so why focus a half hour on that? I want to know more about what is going on with the f'n blackout.

There hasn't been enough drama for any comic relief.

The did go from 0-60 in like 2 seconds when they moved into that warehouse. Then went from 60-0 when they went back to Penny and that other guy. Move the story forward.

David Z said...

CJ-

The blackout happened at 11:00am Pacific, Charlie was in her room while the sitter was getting it on down stairs. Everyone's flash takes place at 10:00pm.

I'm surprised there isn't some discussion of "Ring Around the Rosie" seeing as the nursery rhyme was featured twice in the episode and has it's origins in the Bubonic Plague.

amyp3 said...

It’s not that I wanted the TV show to follow Sawyer’s book exactly, but the changes aren’t completely effective. You’ve hit a lot of the nail-heads as to why. (And truthfully I've forgotten the details of the book because I too can't recall why, in the flashforward, none of the people are aware it is That Moment.)

But the Awake Guy video was chilling (perhaps more so because I live in Detroit, where the scene was set). I hope it doesn’t turn into another anticlimactic letdown - what I’m going to call the Polar Bears in Paradise effect.

Also a bit creepy - the little girl’s “D. Gibbons is a bad man.” But then, that’s a Lostian trait too - a bang ending that makes you want to come back, even if you’re frustrated or bored. (Although I finally gave up on Lost.)

I think I know what both the girl and the boy saw during their blackout. (btw Her other FF reference, “I dreamed there were no more good days,” had originally made me think she was seriously ill. But evidently that‘s not the case.)

Holly Martins said...

While I agree that ideally this show should be given some time to find its feet, there are a bunch of signals in this episode that don't give me much faith that it will get better:

-The use of both "Ring around the Rosie" as a creepy children's chant, and a burned/broken doll as a disturbing image, are just really lazy, obvious choices.

-I already care so little about the lead couple's marital problems. The world is (ostensibly) in chaos and we just met these people - who cares if they separate or not? Bigger fish!

-I don't even have words for how unimpressed I was by the mouth-to-mouth with urinal water.

I might give it another few eps but, I dunno, life is short.

Great line from the Anonymous commenter above:
"Dump the loser, Penny, and go shag Lord Norrington." Ha!

Anonymous said...

I hope somebody stop saying "this is the new Lost", when is more the new "Jericho".

Lame.

Shane said...

So no-one else noticed the first appearance of Dominic Monaghan?

Gail Roarke said...

YES! I couldn't believe the Homeland Security woman didn't swoop in and take over the investigation. Every government on the planet would be turning over every rock in creation trying to find the answer to what happened--and how.

More practically, my spouse and I are finding Shakespeare distinctly unlikeable. He's surly and paranoid despite his wife being open about what she saw and what's happeneding That Guy at every step. His behavior couldn't be better aimed at DRIVING her to another man if he tried.

Anonymous said...

@tracheal infarction and Alex

I'll give it a few more episodes to explain it, but for me these are the kind of details that will tell me whether this is a show with a complex mythology that is worth exploring, or if just wants me to think it is.

At least the timing of the ultrasound could be explained by timezones, and I don't recall if they explicitly said the cupcake shop was open (though why would she be behind the counter if it wasn't?- D. Gibbons' flashforward seemed more comical and dreamlike than most of the others we've seen)at the time of the flashforward.

I'm still waiting for an explanation as to why there was a baseball game going on in Detroit at (I believe) 10am on a Thursday in September? A crowded baseball game at that.

Not to jump on the Lost comparison bandwagon (because it is too early) but these are the kind of details that would be explained on a tightly-detailed show like Lost, but not on a broadly plotted Lost clone.

That said, I guess I'm into it enough that I will probably give it a lot of leeway, as long as it continues to be entertaining on some level.

Paul Outlaw said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Paul Outlaw said...

I'm still waiting for an explanation as to why there was a baseball game going on in Detroit at (I believe) 10am on a Thursday in September? A crowded baseball game at that.

As stated in the comments for the pilot (and elsewhere), it was about 1 pm local time in Detroit at the time of the blackout. And most baseball seasons go to the end of September; if the Tigers made it to the post-season, they'd be playing in October. In fact, the Tigers have a home game tomorrow. It starts at 1:05 pm.
(And on Thursday, Sept. 17, the Tigers lost to the Royals in Detroit, 9-2. It was a day game.)

BF said...

Man, I hope they're right about Kobe's knee.

BF said...

Oh and one more nitpicky note: that isn't Comerica Park in Detroit.

Jape77 said...

Before I go on any plot/hole rant, I just want to say I'll be keeping the show on my tivo. (Being a huge time-travel buff, I'm at least curious as to see what solution the writers come up with.) My wife too said she wants to stick with it, and hopes they solve the mystery before the show gets cannned. That said ...


A real event of this scale would cause so much more disruption and insanity than we see here.

Absolutely -- and that was one of the biggest failings of the book as well. Forget the vision of the future: the fact that no one knows what caused the blackout, and if and when it would happen again, would probably cause a complete global economic breakdown. (Would YOU rush off to work, or anywhere, if you thought it would happen again? COULD you get to anywhere with the highways clogged with wrecks?)

It's a nice touch you still see buildings burning in the long shots, and soldiers on the street corners, hinting that some sort of martial law has been established, but neither the book's author or the show's writers seem able to convey the depth of disaster this event would cause.

While allusions to 9/11 are obvious, something like this would be more in line with an earthquake or tsunami, where everyone in a region is affected, and scarred, for months. In this case though, the region is the whole planet. (Sure, the property damage might not be as bad, but there's no doubt the insurance industry would implode in the weeks to follow).

Ok, ok, I know its a TV show and the blackout is simply the muguffin to get the big existential mystery rolling ... so I'll let all the chaos slide as "this event was so weird that people are in denial." I still can't believe that every agency on the planet wasn't at defcon 1 after this.

Beyond which, while the idea of setting up a web site IS a good idea -- and made perfect sense as an effective plot tool when the novel came out in the 1990s -- this is 2009: by the time our FBI characters would have gotten their own site up and running, Twitter, Facebook and 100,000 blogs would already be groaning under everyone's visions. Instead of aggregating a "mosaic" of 2010, the FBI's site would probably be buried under snarky "FBI FAIL!" postings.

Whoops, sorry -- you're right. I'm expecting too much. This is a TV show. On ABC. Never mind.

Richard said...

I have to say that a realistic treatment of the flashforward event
would be even more boring than what the show has shared with us! There would be no story --- only endless pain and death. These kind of objections would kill almost any science fiction film. They move the central problem from the mystery of the flashforward to coping with the disaster (see E.R.). The time paradox mentioned by some
is not a paradox like killing your grandfather. Time loops can exist even in general relativity (Godel showed this.). We don't need to account for the strange object in the museum of the future, unless we don't believe in space time at all!

meopta said...

Lost never interested me, so the main complaint with Flash Forward, I appear to have dodged. I watched the first two tonight and enjoyed them enough to dvr the season.

I agree with those up-thread that wonder at the low fallout. A few thousand people died on 9/11 and almost everyone I knew was impacted in some way - we knew someone, or we knew someone that knew someone - and we're in Florida. My husband's co-worker was on the phone with someone in the towers. There's no way the massive death scale they laid out in the opener wouldn't have immediate consequences for anyone on the planet. We're all too connected. Only one death consequence has been shown. I also get that it wouldn't advance the plot much and they are apparently scared of turning viewers away (hence the 'humor' which would certainly run me off if it continues)

Fiennes brought me in, I know several other people that tuned in to see him and decided to stay for the show. I don't think he's too light for the role, it's a different style of acting. I'm ok with the pace, but I hope they'd up the chaos a bit.

Jape77 said...

Richard, you're right -- for anything like this to move forward there has to be that willing suspension of disbelief. However, except for that epic opening, it looks like the show runners stumbled over their set-up -- perhaps if they had shown even a little more chaos at the hospital, or more of a reaction from the Gov't, or things not getting back to normal so quickly ... a few extras here, another couple of lines there ... and I would have bought it all from the start.

Jericho stumbled a bit as well in the "yeah, right" department early on, but quickly learned how to keep things moving along so you didn't have time to question the plot holes. Hopefully Flashforward will as well