Thursday, March 18, 2010

FlashForward: How long is too long?

One of the weird developments of this TV season is the number of shows, usually very young shows, that came on in the fall, then went on an extended hiatus and are only returning now that spring's approaching.

"FlashForward" is back tonight after being away for three and a half months, and both "V" and "Glee" will have been gone for similar or longer gaps by the time they return in upcoming weeks ("V" on March 30, "Glee" on April 13). And that's not even counting other shows like "Fringe" that have taken shorter but still noticeable mid-season breaks.

Now, the reasons behind these gaps - and what's happened during them - aren't all the same. "Glee" went away in part because Ryan Murphy had a prior commitment to direct a movie. Both "FlashForward" and "V" have been retooled and had new showrunners installed since we last saw them. "Fringe" went away because Fox needed, for some reason, to find a timeslot for "Past Life."

But whatever the reason, all these scenarios also seem to be the broadcast networks responding to the problem that few people watch reruns anymore, and even fewer watch them for serialized dramas. In the good ol' days when the networks had to stretch 22 episodes of a show over the 39 weeks of the official TV season, they could feel confident that the reruns would perform adequately enough to live with, and that's just not the case anymore. Ideally, every show would work the way "Lost" and "24" have for years, and just air all their episodes straight through. The problem is that the way the business is set up (and, like Titanic approaching an iceberg, it's too big and unwieldy to easily maneuver around this problem), most shows are incapable of starting production on a season before late summer, and therefore the only shows that can run straight through for 22 weeks are the ones that start in mid-season.

But given how high-profile (if not always highly-rated) these shows are, and how long most of the gaps have been, I'm going to be really curious to see how many viewers remember or care to come back now. "Glee" shouldn't have a problem, as its fans are rabid and loved what the show was doing when it left, and as it'll be airing after "American Idol." But "FlashForward" and "V" were both bleeding viewers when they went away, in part because those viewers liked the ideas behind the shows better than what the shows were doing with those ideas. I'll probably give "V" another shot, because I've liked new showrunner Scott Rosenbaum's work on "Chuck" and "The Shield," but with "FlashForward," there doesn't seem to be any there there, and the constant showrunner changes suggest that nobody behind-the-scenes knows what to do with it, either.

But out of curiosity, what are those of you who stuck with "FlashForward" through November going to do tonight? Do you still care? Are you viewing the two-hour episode tonight as a welcome event, or the show's last chance to convince you to stay?

72 comments:

Scott said...

Tonight's FlashForward is their last chance to get me to stay...and you nailed the reason, Alan. I really dug the concept when the show started, but I just keep waiting for something to actually, you know..HAPPEN. And it never does. So I'll give the new showrunner a chance, but it will be tough...Thursdays are already a DVR nightmare.

Bobman said...

I bailed on it. I'm not one to ditch something on my DVR lightly, but it had to happen. There's just nothing compelling about the story to me. Probably could have made a good movie, but as a weekly series... meh.

Mo Ryan said...

I feel like I gave the show a lot of chances last fall, and came away disappointed most of the time (if not quite irritated).

I was going to try to watch it on ABC's press site, but I'm getting ready for a vacation and time is just getting away from me. So it's going to be one of those situations where I'll see what others say about tonight's episode. There's a good chance I won't come back to it -- it'd have to be very, very good to make it on to my viewing roster, given how much good TV is on right now. I just don't have time to wait for it to get good -- it has to come back really good or I'm done with it.

jeremyhoover said...

I'll be watching the 2 hour event tonight. I'll be following it as long as it stays on air. I enjoyed the novel and the show's concept, though not necessarily the direction it's gone in. I'll stay loyal.

Jim said...

Given that they have new showrunners, I might give FlashForward and V another chance if reviews are good for the upcoming episodes. No way I'm going to waste more time on them without that reassurance, though -- not with Justified and Breaking Bad joining my schedule.

David said...

I gave up last year when I found myself fast-forwarding through every every single storyline. I won't be watching tonight.

ProgGrrl said...

As one of (the minority?) who enjoyed this show straight through till its mid-season break, I am going to keep watching. The recap show from the other night suitably rekindled my engagement.

I like the ideas behind it, the casting, the acting, some of the writing, the big picture so far. The show is far from perfect and is certainly not as engaging as the other show ABC obviously hoped this could replace in viewer's hearts (LOST)... but I'm still in. As long as they keep using talented actors and directors the way they did in the first half of the series. I'm also cruising along with the assumption that this will be the last set of eps we see (ie, no season 2).

The One True b!X said...

"Viewers liked the ideas behind the shows better than what the shows were doing with those ideas."

Just so. That said, as a consistent Dollhouse fan in a sea of people who weren't, I've learned to practice what I preach and will continue to give both V and FlashForward a bit of time to convince me there's a reason to watch. (I'm having similar issues with Caprica, although last week's felt like maybe the chess pieces were finally moving into interesting positions.)

But not much more. Especially since it's clear other TV people are finding ways to capture me almost immediately (like Spartacus, which I stalled on watching for weeks and then when I started i couldn't stop).

I'll give people room to try to find the show they should be making. But I won't watch forever jus tout of obligation to the idea, or to the people involved.

Deanna said...

You are right on, Alan, with your assessment of FlashForward. I like the idea of it so much that it took me awhile to come to terms with how little was happening and how little made sense. I'll be watching tonight and sincerely hoping that the break did the show some good. I'm hoping to finish out the season, as I'd like to see if they are able to do the idea justice. We'll see how good it is.

Deanna said...

You are right on, Alan, with your assessment of FlashForward. I like the idea of it so much that it took me awhile to come to terms with how little was happening and how little made sense. I'll be watching tonight and sincerely hoping that the break did the show some good. I'm hoping to finish out the season, as I'd like to see if they are able to do the idea justice. We'll see how good it is.

Mo Ryan said...

I used the word "good" way too many times in my comment. That's not good!

In any case, I really *want* this show to be worth my time, but so many episodes last fall made me wonder if *anyone* could make an interesting show out of that premise and those ideas. It's a very complicated idea and when even the very appealing Sonya Walger and John Cho were playing characters that bored me, I was just like, "Why am I watching this again?"

I'm agreed with The One True Bix, sometimes it's really worth being patient with shows (agreed that both Caprica and Sparty Down needed time to gel but from what I've seen and heard re upcoming eps, they both do so). But for me, the problem of FF wasn't one of it not quite gelling or reaching its potential, but having a central concept that nobody could find a consistent way of capitalizing on.

Word verification: hadrat

hadrat, rather havemouse

KriZia said...

I actually love the show and I plan on sticking with it. I agree that the concept of the show has surpassed the actual turnout, but I personally feel I've connected with the characters enough to make me interested in what will happen to them.

In a way, I think ABC made the mistake of labeling it as the "show you watch once Lost ends." Not only are both Lost and FlashForward going on at the same time (for a couple of months, at least) but I consider them to be vastly different shows. I've found that if you watched Lost before you started watching FlashForward, you're more inclined to enjoy the former and dislike the latter. Maybe I'm such a huge fan of the show because I never watched an episode of Lost until after I had been immersed in FlashFoward. Who knows.

Either way, to me the pace of the show has never been an issue. Sure, they could have gotten to things quicker, but I'm enjoying the side-stories and miniature character developments that producers have thrown my way in the initial episodes.

I think if people had even an ounce of interest in this show, they should give tonight's two-hour return a shot. Based on what I've heard so far from people that have seen it in advance, they might be in for a good surprise.

Jared said...

I'll give it another chance with the new showrunner as long as Joseph Fiennes changes his performance as the lead, Mark Benford. He's been pretty terrible. I didn't watch V the first half of the season, but the trailer for the second half looks awesome, so I might go back and catch up. Is it worth it?

Becky said...

I was very excited for Flashforward when it premiered in the fall. However, a giant flashing neon sign that the show wasn't working for me was when I first couldn't find the space on my TiVo, and second when the show couldn't keep me interested enough to even watch the last four episodes on Hulu.

That being said...I had some time this week with nothing else to watch, so I made myself watch the episodes I had missed over the fall, and I found myself fairly entertained. Not enough to watch the 2-hour (!!) show as it airs tonight, but I'll probably catch it on Hulu this weekend. After that, we'll see. As a regular viewer of no less than a dozen shows every week, it's going to take something really good to get me to stick around.

Anonymous said...

Although I've seen every episode, I dumped it from the DVR because, while watching the last episode, I found myself fast forwarding past the scenes with Joseph Fiennes's character.

When you don't care about the main character, what's the point?

Horatio said...

Is V still going to be a parable about the dangers of the Obama administration, or is that one of the things the new showrunner was brought in to fix?

Mike said...

I was a bit skeptical but after watching the 2 eps on ABC's media site, I have to say the episodes are better, particularly the second hour which is basically a showcase for Dominic Monahagn and the only other regular in it, is my fave, Chrstine Woods. Is it perfect, no, but it's pretty good and a step up from the Fall. They answer stuff, including a big one from the pilot, and the series seems to be going forward momentum wise. There's action, existential ideas pondered and some good acting.
If you're a Ricky Jay fan, he has a pretty big prescence tonight.

KriZia said...

Mike --

Would you say that Christine Woods has a larger presence in the new episodes? She's my favorite character as well and I look forward to seeing more of her.

(To copy Mo Ryan)
Word Verification: obubado

Makes me think of Erica Badu...

Jonah said...

I will give the show a chance as long as I believe the writers are intentionally making Mark Shakespeare a terrible FBI agent, and it's not just bad writing.

Otherwise, I'm still into the show, but his nutso behavior in the fall finale was so insane, idiotic, and rage-inducing that it strained TV credibility. I'm hoping he's like Jack on Lost; I started liking him once I realized that he was supposed to make some poor decisions. But if I'm wrong and the FF writers continue to treat him like a perfect hero, then it bodes poorly for their ability to tell the story.

Pamela Jaye said...

I was curious in the fall. Unfortunately, and I'm still harping on this one, I was screwed by Reunion. Since then, almost any of this type on show (serialized and often sci-fi-ish- including Daybreak, The Nine and another I can't even remember the name or concept of) I just DVR and wait for the network to cancel.

Unfortunately, last fall, they all got picked up. Then I was stuck 10 eps behind with no one to discuss the show with. and that's no fun (unless it's Gilmore Girls). And then I really needed space on the DVR, which would be less of a problem if I could offload Less Than Perfect, WKRP, the rest of Medium and all those eps of Joan of Arcadia, the titles of which are on my other laptop (the listings were hosed that day and I had to record a Syfy marathon in a big 8 hour lump)

So now I have a catchup ep (which is probably a better idea if there was no there there - as with soap opera where things move glacially (I got into reruns of Passions one summer - it was so bad it was funny). Right now I'm watching paint dry... er.. a hummingbird sit on a nest (on ustream), but I think it's not live so I'm off to check whether my duck has laid that egg she seems to want to lay.

Final answer - wait for ABC to make a decision, though, this year I've been on Facebook more than I've watched most of my shows, which are also clogging the DVR, though with less hope of removal after watching. Maybe I could get thru those last 6 eps on Boston Legal.... (I swear, lasy night I watched half an ep of Emergency on a digital channel my DVR won't get)

mizenkay said...

I've got the DVR set for Flash Forward. Still haven't watched the catch-up show. May get to them this weekend. (Hey, it's my birthday today- so I am going out to dinner!). I will give FF a few episodes before I decide to recommit. I watched it on DVR before, never live.

But I did watch V live - and like you Alan, am more intrigued by this show returning, mostly due to Scott R. taking over.

Bottom line for me: I guess I dig lizard aliens disguised as humans who want to eat us more than some mass conspiracy to have everyone become narcoleptic at the same time. Honestly, what is the point in that?!

Anonymous said...

I watched last fall, but I cared so little that I never even bothered to learn everyone's name. I deleted it from the To-Do list last night. And V will lose out to other things on at the same time (2 recordings at once is as much as my TiVo can manage.)

Rinaldo said...

Since then, almost any of this type on show (serialized and often sci-fi-ish- including Daybreak, The Nine and another I can't even remember the name or concept of) ...

Possibly Six Degrees (not SF-ish, but serialized, and same season as The Nine)?

I'm one of those who probably won't be coming back, unless I hear it's now spellbinding and can catch up online. I liked the idea and some of the cast (the latter sometimes better in theory than action), but nothing was happening. And I have better things to watch on Thursday.

Mike said...

to KriZia,

Christine Woods didnt have as much presence as I would like, but shes in both hours and like I said she is the only regular besides Dom in the second hour (or if there are other regulars, cant remember its in the beginning and not much of them). but the second hour is like a Dom ep. So im with you would love to see a full Janis ep

Fiennes and his charcter are less annoying and seems to make more sense tonight

Nat said...

As a Brit, the idea of having two uninterrupted runs of episodes with a long break in between just makes more sense and is way less frustrating when trying to watch a show.
Its annoyed me quite frankly when people have complained at how long they have to wait for Glee when really 4 months is not that long a break.

Anyway re Flashforward, I gave up midway through the last set of episodes, just wasn't compelling enough to carry on

Billiam said...

I'm going to check out the two-hour return of Flash Forward. Admittedly, part of the reason I've stuck around is that it's a season-long story with a promised ending this spring (although probably followed with something to set up for next year) and I'm interested in what the ultimate plan is here.

And I have high hopes for a retooled V.

Budo said...

I'm impressed with what "V" has brought to the table and all signs point to an enjoyable show - IF it lives on. FlashForward, though... I will be watching to see it through but I won't be sorry if it doesn't make it.

Hannah Lee said...

I feel like I gave the show a lot of chances last fall, and came away disappointed most of the time (if not quite irritated).

This is spot on for me, too. FF has a great premise, some actors I like, and had a great pre-launch marketing campaign. The actual show was dull: dull characters, dull plotlines, main actor giving a deadeningly dull performance. Plus, as the show went on, nothing made sense. And not in an intriguing Lost way. So, I disengaged.

Usually with ABC, a hiatus and change of showrunner means no one can decide on what they want, and that rarely results in an improved show. The fact that the new ads are focused on the threat of another FF sealed the deal for me. That smacked of typical ABC overkill, dumping new drama after new drama onto a series, dropping potentially interesting storylines without working to make them compelling, hoping people turn in because of the hype of THIS WEEK! SOMETHING BIG AND NEW HAPPENS!

So, no, I won’t be going back.

Matt W said...

I watched the show up until it's hiatus, but will not watch it now.

As Scott (the first poster) said, I keep waiting for something to happen. They just keep delaying a "solution" to the blackouts.

But, more importantly, I believe there are WAY too many characters in this show. When I read a description of the episode and see "Dana reunites with Mark," it takes me 30 seconds for me to figure out who Dana and Mark are on the show (those are fake names, but you get the point).

Also, I do believe it's been way too long since the last episode, and I will not try to get back into a show I completely forgot about.

Chris said...

I'll watch tonight's episode, but that'll probably be it. Its a bad sign when I don't recall one character's name or one plot point that made me go "Wow! Neat!"

I would have finished the season if it ran straight through, no matter how bad it is. The layoff just gave me time to realize how bad it is.

Plus I'm irritated that my DVR recorded Tuesday's recap episode rather than the Justified premiere on Tuesday. Granted, it picked up a later showing...I've just secretly been looking for any excuse to hold a grudge against FF.

Allison said...

I'll try to give it a chance via my Tivo because I liked it at first. Then I blame the meandering story line and Joseph Fiennes in an constant state of morose angst for putting me off.

It didn't bore me nearly as much as "V", so that's something. Barely.

Eric Johnson said...

I'd promised myself that I was going to watch the whole season of Flash Forward to see what they were working toward, but getting through the 2-hour mid-season premiere feels like a bit of a chore now. Still up in the air.

meopta said...

I was really looking forward to it until the recap episode. That was truly awful, sort of a Desperate Housewives vibe to it. Very off putting. So now instead of wildly excited, I'm moderately interested. We'll see, I will probably complete the season since I found the show rewarding before. If tonight is anything like recap night tho - I'm out.

- meopta, enjoying yet more open id errore

The CineManiac said...

I'll check it out again tonight (and by tonight I mean whenever I get around to watching it on the DVR over the next 4 or 5 days), but if things don't start happening soon, I'm out.
I have heard that the new runners are trying to move things forward, so maybe tonight will be better than last years episodes were.
All in all I'm not that excited about it.

J said...

Sometimes I feel like all the promos that ABC runs during Lost for other shows are really just peeks into a second parallel universe. In Lost-Y, Charlie is holding some clown mask and Penny has lost her accent; Juliet is fighting lizard aliens; and Alex appears briefly next to Christian Slater, who has had enough chances to fail already.

Anonymous said...

Replying to a Twitter here since I don't have one:

Easy to do w/13 eps; harder w/22. RT @peruvianidol: Why don't more networks do the FX model of rotating their shows?

The followup question is why don't more networks do the 13-episode season model? From a storytelling perspective it seems far superior to a 22-episode season with pacing problems and "filler" episodes. From the writer/producer perspective it seems far superior (everything I've read suggests they start to get extremely worn out around episode 16 or so). Seems like it would be better from a scheduling perspective. So what's the deal? The advertisers want as many episodes they can get of popular shows?

Alan Sepinwall said...

So what's the deal? The advertisers want as many episodes they can get of popular shows?

Ding ding ding ding! Would you rather have 13 eps of Grey's Anatomy, 22?

Alan Sepinwall said...

And by "you," I mean "ABC."

Anonymous said...

I don't know about Glee, but I think all the sci fi shows made huge mistakes taking these long breaks. I watched V and Fringe in the Fall, but there are so many other good shows airing now that its going to be hard to fit them back into my rotation. I suppose I'll give V another shot because I like Elizabeth Mitchell, but if not for her they would have lost me after the long break. I think V would make more sense as a summer show when there are very few action or sci fi shows airing. I know ABC wants to try to Lost lead-in thing but thats never worked before and they might have better luck as a replacement for Lost after its gone. I could see it coming back the week after the Lost finale in the same time slot and I'd be more excited to see it return than I am now with my overly crowded viewing schedule.

Tyroc said...

I'm giving V one more episode, out of 80s nostalgia. But this one I gave too many hours of my life to already. If I hear it suddenly got awesome I'll certainly go back and catch up, but for now I'm done. (Still love the premise, so will one day go to Wikipedia and see what they came up with as the cause of the Flash.)

Chip said...

Flashforward interests me the most because even while I agree that there's "no there there" I was always hooked in by the plot and committed to at least s1. I'll probably skip V because those first four were just plain bad but I too fuck with Scott Rosenbaum so hopefully some articles here and there will convince me to check out the rest of the season.

Also gotta admit, plenty of stuff has had good trailers and resulted in crap but those FF commercials airing through like every commercial break of Lost are pretty damn good

Pamela Jaye said...

Rinaldo - thanks! but that wasn't it. I actually watched 6 degrees, though I don't know why. Perhaps ABC hyping it to the skies (with music!) or the concept interested me... somehowwhen it came back I missed an ep and then it wasn't wort it.

So it wasn't that one.. there's still one out there that I did record and then didn't watch.

I did watch Journeyman and I liked it a lot and was happy they got a wrap at the end of the 13 eps, so I didn't feel hanging.
I felt better at the end of that than Quantum Leap and I liked the marriage aspect. I'll always come home...

Craig Ranapia said...

In any case, I really *want* this show to be worth my time, but so many episodes last fall made me wonder if *anyone* could make an interesting show out of that premise and those ideas.

Mo: I've said more than once that FlashForward would have been kick-ass if they'd 1) stayed close to the source material, and 2) gone down the same route as Torchwood: Children of Earth. Five episodes -_ certainly no more than 8 or 10 - and out.

Agree, disagree, won't talk to me until the drug test comes back? :)

Mary said...

I grew up on bad sci-fi, so a lot of the sillier aspects of FF's plot don't bother me at all. That said, there are some VERY draggy storylines in this show (Mark's jackass behavior to his wife and the story about his AA sponsor's daughter are the worst offenders), and I thought the Bryce-goes-to-Japan episode was terrible. It invoked every "white guy in Asia" cliche in the book. (Although I really liked the actress who played Keiko.)

I still like John Cho, Courtney B. Vance, Jack Davenport and Christine Woods enough to keep watching. In fact, if that were the core cast I would probably LOVE this show.

Anonymous said...

I gave up after about the 58th time they flashed to the wife looking down the stairs to the boy's dad staring blankly on the couch. That was about 4 episodes. I also couldn't just buy into how one small unit in LA was working on this global catastrophe in a silo, and how the rest of the world just went on in their lives without much care.

Anonymous said...

Here are the commentary tracks featured on the Mad Men season 3 DVD. It's great to see that Weiner comments on every episode as, for obvious reasons, he always provides the most insight into what went into the filming. Most surprising is the complete absence of January Jones; even though her past commentaries haven't been too insightful, she nonetheless is a lead on the show. And I can't wait the hear the episode 13 track that features Hamm, Slattery and Morse.

Episode 1: Out of Town
1. Commentary With Vincent Kartheiser, Aaron Staton, Bryan Batt and Rich Sommer
2. Commentary With Matthew Weiner, Phil Abraham and David Carbonara

Episode 2: Love Among the Ruins
1. Commentary With Matthew Weiner, Elisabeth Moss, Jared Harris and Michael Gladis

Episode 3: My Old Kentucky Home
1. Commentary With Elisabeth Moss and Janie Bryant
2. Commentary With Matthew Weiner and Dahvi Waller

Episode 4: The Arrangements
1. Commentary With Matthew Weiner, Kiernan Shipka and Ryan Cutrona

Episode 5: The Fog
1. Commentary With Matthew Weiner, Dan Bishop and Phil Abraham

Episode 6: Guy Walks Into an Advertising Agency
1. Commentary With Christina Hendricks and Jared Harris
2. Commentary With Matthew Weiner and Lesli Linka Glatter

Episode 7: Seven Twenty Three
1. Commentary With Andre and Maria Jacquemetton
2. Commentary With Matthew Weiner, Robert Morse, Josh Weltman and Bob Levinson

Episode 8: Souvenir
1. Commentary With Matthew Weiner, Vincent Kartheiser and Lisa Albert

Episode 9: Wee Small Hours
1. Commentary With Jon Hamm, Bryan Batt and Chelcie Ross
2. Commentary With Matthew Weiner and Scott Hornbacher

Episode 10: The Color Blue
1. Commentary With Elisabeth Moss, Michael Gladis and Jared Harris
2. Commentary With Matthew Weiner and Mike Uppendahl

Episode 11: The Gypsy and the Hobo
1. Commentary With Christina Hendricks, John Slattery and Jennifer Getzinger
2. Commentary With Jon Hamm and Matthew Weiner

Episode 12: The Grown-Ups
1. Commentary With Vincent Kartheiser, Alison Brie and John Slattery
2. Commentary With Matthew Weiner, Black McCormick and Brett Johnson

Episode 13: Shut the Door, Have a Seat
1. Commentary With Jon Hamm, Robert Morse and John Slattery
2. Commentary With Matthew Weiner and Erin Levy

Craig said...

If I pick up on buzz that FF is doing really cool things over the next few weeks I may pick it back up, but as of right now I'm definitely dropping it, not going to bother with tonight's episode. Breaking Bad is coming back in a few days and FF is really easy for me to cull.

Henry said...

I'm undecided about giving FlashForward a second chance. I gave up on the show a couple of episodes before it went on hiatus because I felt it just wasn't going anywhere. A friend of mine filmed an episode where she'll be a guest star (the episode is to air next week) and I'll watch that, but whether or not I'll watch beyond that? Not likely. There's already too much on my plate (I gave up on White Collar for much the same reason) and with Justified now added to the crowded rotation (I have 14 series on my DVR manager), FlashForward can't do much for me.

V is one show I'm willing to come back to because they aired just four episodes before shutting down, but like FlashForward, things MUST get going or I'll likely drop it.

I'm already awaiting the return of both Fringe and Glee. Those are two shows I won't give up on for now.

jenmoon said...

Eh...I'll watch it on Hulu over the weekend. I am sticking with shows until I completely zone out halfway through or they royally piss me off, and while I'm not massively interested in FF or V yet, they haven't done either to me so far. So what the hell.

I'm not terribly impressed by either, but I do like a few actors on each, so...

DJ Doena said...

I just noticed that with "Gossip Girl". Today I watched last and this week's episode and I had a hard time getting into the story again after this four month break.

And this was a show I actually wanted to see again.

With "FlashForward" or "Stargate Universe" I am even less inclined to be too patient.

DJ Doena said...

I just noticed that with "Gossip Girl". Today I watched last and this week's episode and I had a hard time getting into the story again after this four month break.

And this was a show I actually wanted to see again.

With "FlashForward" or "Stargate Universe" I am even less inclined to be too patient.

Charlotte K said...

Not sure yet. DVRing it and I will watch it when I get a chance. I liked the premise a lot, very creepy but intriguing. But the cast is 9ver the top and how the premise is playing out is not living up to the original ideas for me.

I'd like this better if they had an end date, I think ;-))

Sareeta said...

I really wanted to like FF --I even read the book prior to watching the series. The book was excellent, but the series is completely different story-wise. I think the series might have worked better if it had followed the characters from the book more closely. My biggest problem is I don't feel connected to any of the characters, and I actually dislike the main characters which makes it hard to connect to this kind of show. I'll probably keep an eye on the reviews, but won't watch more episodes until the acting/direction improves.
I will keep watching V, SGU, and Caprica, because while all 3 have their faults, they have their strengths as well. V airing 4 very good episodes and then deciding to go on hiatus was a very stupid idea. However, the story has potential and I really like the characters so far. SGU has very good actors and an interesting story, however there are definitely some issues with the flow of the story that I can see irritating some people. Caprica has an incredible story, but the acting has been a little iffy. I do like the characters and storyline enough to keep watching, because the more episodes I watch, the more it grows on me.

Number Five said...

Personally, I don't have any problems with long in-season breaks - in of themselves they are never the reason I'd drop a show (ok maybe an underwhelming show with a Battlestar Galactica-style year long break). I would think most people would be the same. Then again, the entire idea of lead-ins and retention doesn't make sense to me...but clearly both phenomena are real, so there you go.

As Alan has noted, given the economics of the production and scheduling sides of the TV business, the set-up of 22 episodes airing September to May in two or three bunches is a pretty good compromise.

Ideal for viewers would probably be a set of shows airing 13 episodes straight in the fall, then a different set of shows airing 13 episodes straight in the spring. Interestingly, more reality shows are airing this way. Comedies seem to be hurt least by the traditional non-bunched schedule.

As for this year's specific shows, I'll keep watching until the end of the season, but Flash Forward has been bad and will be easiest to let go if it doesn't improve. I agree that V has a better shot - fewer episodes in, promising showrunner, on balance a better cast.

HMM2 said...

I'm recording, and will probably check it out. Seeing more Ricky Jay is enough of a reason to try it again

Jape77 said...

viewers liked the ideas behind the shows better than what the shows were doing with those ideas

made me wonder if *anyone* could make an interesting show out of that premise and those ideas. It's a very complicated idea


Those two comments pretty much summed up my frustrations with FF.

If anything, Caprica proves you can do a very complicated show well (seriously, try the old hollywood maxim of writing that idea on the back of a business card and see how far you get), and neither confuse or bore your viewers.

While I thought tonight's first hour was a wreck, with all the problems that made so many of the early episodes lame, the second hour really came thru -- mostly because it showed smart characters actually BEING SMART (it also focused on Christine Woods' Janice, the only character I find remotely interesting.)

So now I guess I have to see the show through to the end. If that sounds bitter or resigned, I will say this show is STILL miles better than the novel, which utterly squandered its premise.

Jape77 said...

viewers liked the ideas behind the shows better than what the shows were doing with those ideas

made me wonder if *anyone* could make an interesting show out of that premise and those ideas. It's a very complicated idea


Those two comments pretty much summed up my frustrations with FF.

If anything, Caprica proves you can do a very complicated show well (seriously, try the old hollywood maxim of writing that idea on the back of a business card and see how far you get), and neither confuse nor bore your viewers.

While I thought tonight's first hour was a wreck, with all the problems that made so many of the early episodes lame, the second hour really came thru -- mostly because it showed smart characters actually BEING SMART (it also focused on Christine Woods' Janice, the only character I find remotely interesting.)

So now I guess I have to see the show through to the end. If that sounds bitter or resigned, I will say this show is STILL miles better than the novel, which utterly squandered its premise.

cadfile said...

I still remember the opening line:

"She's dead. Wrapped in plastic..."

Twin Peaks was probably the best serialized drama I've seen and one reason is the story hooked me right away. Just like for film you have to hook people as soon as possible with a great story. Then comes the acting and that is more of a crap shoot. I remember the stiff acting on the first episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation and was worried it wouldn't make it until the acting started to gel.

The problem with high concept serialized dramas is they can't last long or you either bore the audience or mess up the story telling.

The 2nd season of Twin Peaks petered out and it seems all the other serialized dramas lose out after 1 or 2 seasons.

They should start using the USA Network model and do a 13 episode fall and 13 episode spring and rotate it with another drama that will give the writers time to write great scripts.

Alison D said...

I don'think FF is great television - and Fiennes is terrible, but I'm quite enjoying it, and I've been looking forward to it coming back. Certainly more than V. But I find the idea of how people would react to possible predestined future fascinating, and I've liked some (not all) of the exploration of that. When that is resolved, I might not want to stick with it. And I find V predictable and the characters pure cliches. except Morena Baccarin's character - she lights the screen.

belinda said...

I am opposite of Allison, because I am looking forward to seeing V again - well, at least more than I did FF. I think the problems in V are perhaps something that could be fixed in the hiatus (here's hoping!) whereas there are so many different problems on FF that need fixing. And no, I don't think last night's episode (which I condensed to about an hour with "fastforward"ing) did anything too much to help. I suppose it's improved on itself, but at best it's all right.

But having watched it, I'm now convinced I've thoroughly lost my interest in the show and what the ff mystery is anymore - and I care even less about the characters (though DM was pretty interesting in the episode - but too little, too late), which is a shame because other than JF (granted he has to work with a character that's not written well, I could imagine other actors who might've made this character work. JF simply sucks all joy out of a scene for me), I like a lot of the actors in the show.

WendyWatson said...

I completely agree with your suggestion - I like the idea behind Flash Forward, and I think you could do something interesting with it, either by purely playing it as a conspiracy thriller, or as a drama about people trying to find their feet after a global catastrophe.

Unfortunately, this show tries to be both and ends up being neither: they play like a mix between a lame 24 clone and a really phoney melodrama about allegedly "normal" people who are so artificial you'd expect the stuffing to come out at any moment.

TMoss said...

CBS is proof positive that viewers will watch reruns. Many of their comedies and crime procedurals often perform better than original runs of most series on other networks.

ABC and NBC have this unfortunate tendency to go for the high concept, serialized comedy and drama that does not repeat well AT ALL.

They could very well stretch a 22-episode season order to 39 weeks of a TV season by balancing their mix of programming between traditional self-contained comedies and dramas as well as the more high-concept, more serialized programs.

Perhaps "Modern Family" and "The Middle" are the beginnings of such a shift.

NBC is just a mess.

FOX has their formula all but figured out.

Col Bat Guano said...

I'm giving FlashForward a few more chances, but it is on very thin ice with me. None of the characters really stand out and the nature of the conspiracy just a little too vague to hold my attention. It's no Lost for sure.

schmoker said...

So, I watched it tonight, despite the fact that I thought FF was horrible in the fall. It wasn't as horrible last night, but it was still really bad. Bits and pieces were better, especially the decision to focus on and more clearly define the Dominic Monaghan character, but it was still pretty bad. I won't be back next week.

The problem with FF, and with all these Next Lost shows, is that they are trying to start of by doing Lost, Season Three, Four, or Five. None of them are laying any of the ground work Lost did.

Actually, that's not the only thing. They are also just plain old stupid. Last night on FF, the FBI let the guy who potentially caused the blackout, and who is the only person in the world who can help them figure it all out, run around with one FBI handler. He ditched that handler three times. She always caught up with him, although once it was only after he had already left the country, but it was still beyond stupid.

That guy would be locked in a bunker with an entire marine unit guarding it. Obviously you can't do that in a television show, but you can't just let the guy run around the world all by his lonesome either, especially because his face has been all over the tube, and he'd likely be mobbed and torn to pieces as soon the public spotted him.

Ok, that's just one thing. Take that one ridiculous thing and multiply it by twenty, and you get FF. They are not even trying. They are just saying, "Hey, shiny-shiny-SF-mythology over here. Come, drones, and worship."

I gave it one more chance to see what change the new guys would make (and because I had nothing better to do last night), and they did make it better, but they only ended up raising it from a zero to a 2 on a 1-10 scale. Probably nothing more they could do with what they inherited, but I'm out now.

Pamela Jaye said...

>I just noticed that with "Gossip Girl". Today I watched last and this week's episode and I had a hard time getting into the story again after this four month break.

The show with which I had a really hard time doing htis was Veronica Mars. The "Previously On" confused me so much, I went to look for ep guides and found that even those were not good enough. I really needed marsinvestigations.net - thankfully someone had created it. great site.
Watched some season 1 Gilmore Girls from ABC Family last night. So dark and not shiny after the DVDs.

Red said...

I watched FlashForward tonight, the whole 2 hours, and thought it came back strong.

More twists and turns, they went deeper into the what the flashforwards can mean, and best of all, some of the characters seriously became more badass.

I watched it before the hiatus and plan to watch it the rest of the season.

Eriol said...

I thought the reason for Fringe's little vacation was having to do with the Olympics, and them shooting in Vancouver.

I hope V finds it footing, but I've given up on FlashForward. The pilot was very good, but they didn't know what to do with the premise. I got sick of the characters viewing the possibilities very rigidly and without imagination.

I like Caprica. If it would help, could Syfy maybe move it to Sunday night?

Damien said...

I hadn't given up on FF, but after watching the new eps, that's it for me. It's really stupid, based on embarrassing pulp-science that should have remained buried in old Trek series. What's on the checklist?

CERN particle experiment causing a cataclysm - check. Tachyonic Dark Matter (coz normal dark matter isn't exotic enough) technobabble - check. Immunity from effects of said technobabble - magic ring, check again. Religious nut-job spruiking salvation because he's seen the light- check. Seriously? Thanks, but no thanks!

abie normal said...

I gave FF another try last night at hulu as I had read it had been retooled. It has definitely been written stronger but making it the Dominic Monaghan show is not my idea of entertainment. I'm not sure if I'll watch any new episodes unless someone can promise Dominic's character is going bye-bye real soon.

Anonymous said...

He's not, clearly. As the "morally grey and mysterious" he's the only real tension the show has. He will be the almost-villain of the show for its entire existence.

Jared said...

I was prepared to give up on flashforward because of the gap and I thought it was losing steam before the hiatus anyway, but my wife wanted to keep watching. The first episode back the best episode imo. I remember being bored and wanting the show to be over in the hour long episodes before the break. But after two hours, for the first time, I was actually looking forward to the next episode.

Anonymous said...

Ok, after watching the 3rd ep back? Bored now. And can they telegraph things any worse? I mean, who wants to take bets that Sulu will be the father of what'shername's baby (see, I've forgotten the names of the characters just from the time I started writing this post)