26th Sep2009

dijoo FLASHFORWARD!? (#43)

by jerad.formby

crazy title right hey flash forward

The fall television season is gearing up and your humble Hey Star Trek! has watched some of the new stuff. We watched Eastwick and another ABC show –one that ABC bought from HBO after outbidding FOX. Of course, maybe it’s FOX that’s laughing now.

Before we get to Flash Forward, here’s our thoughts on Eastwick:

number one reason to care about eastwick

Returning to the television frenzy is Star Trek’s own Brannon Braga with a hip-new-sci-fi show called Flash Forward.

We first heard about Flash Forward in a conversation with Chase Masterson on Trekcast. Now that it’s arrived, we’re a little surprised at what a big deal the show is. It seems to have a pitch-perfect level of hype.

Maybe you glimpsed that 20 minute preview that hulu ran for awhile. We did. We hoped there would be more when the show came out.

flash forward is intense

Flash Forward has a phenomenal set up. The premise is based on a novel by Robert J. Sawyer. His novel was published in 1999 and if you look him up on Wikipedia, you’ll find he’s Canadian –you’ll also possibly glimpse a spoiler regarding just what the heck happened in the pilot that was so awesome!

As for what was so awesome, we feel fine letting you know that basically everyone (the whole world) loses consciousness at the same time for the exact same duration. For two minutes and seventeen seconds, everyone just blacks out –no matter where they are and no matter what they are doing.

Think of the carnage.

The pilot episode delivers on the chaos and the horror of just what might happen to this planet if everyone lost it all at once. Pretty sweet. Scary. Good job David S. Goyer (a screenwriter from The Dark Knight) and Brannon Braga (aw heck, you know who he is).

Good job on those first twenty minutes.

This initial thrust –the set up and the pay off is what appeared on hulu. We saw that and thought it looked amazing. Then the thing changed. It became an episode of television. The characters may have blacked out and flashed-forward, but we flashed-forward to what this series will be.

if this is the model for how flash forward action will pay off hooooo boy

It’s not like the first 20 minutes. It’s actually about an alcoholic, an angry wife, a young couple getting married, a doctor who now has a zest for being alive, another alcoholic who lost a daughter, and a baby sitter who doesn’t want to be caught boning her boyfriend.

Not a bad mix of characters, if not just a little tired.

This is the point where we wonder if it’s going to be good TV or truly awful.

Right off the bat, the characters all start to talk about how awesome the first twenty minutes were. They discuss levels of carnage that we didn’t get to see. This discussion did little for us except make us want to rewind to the good parts.

It also felt a little insulting to our imaginations.

once you get over flash forward exposition what is the show about

But Hey Star Trek! This is a pilot episode! They have to explain things to us and get us to like the show! Also, those scenes made allowances for carnage we didn’t get to see!

Believe us! We get it! We got it. But did your creators, Flash Forward?

To make the concept of the mass blackout truly scary it should best take place in a realistic world. This pilot episode sat far from anything realistic. Casualty reports took no time. We were told that emergency response teams were overwhelmed, but we never saw that.

What we did see was very little support for the notion that emergency response teams were overwhelmed.

the ridiculous realism flash forward tries to imply doesn't work

Then, maybe they were overwhelmed cause all the doctors refused to pull a double.

The hours and days that follow such a catastrophe would lend itself to more than a single episode, gentle readers. It could amass half a season of material. With a bit of a better attention to pacing and what-got-leaked-out-when, the pilot still could have felt real and got the message out.

The message? Fate or Free-Will.

flash forward is deep

Turns out the blackouts actually pushed everyone’s consciousness into the future six-months. Some of what people saw was good. Some was bad. Can these paths be avoided? Is it inevitable?

Oh, Internet, we might be yawning. We are more interested in what knocked everyone out. We’re interested to see if the blackout happens again. We do want to see what was up with the video at the end.

But it better grab us while the grabbing is good, cause we sorta don’t care about a lot of the character garbage. Specifically, Joseph Fiennes is a recovering alcoholic. Guess what? In the flash forward he has, he’s drinking again.

And in case you didn’t notice. They remind you twice in a forty-two minute pilot. That would be like Fringe using flashbacks in the pilot episode to remind us that Walter’s from an insane asylum.

We would find that annoying. What is Flash Forward trying to pull? If I see Joseph Fiennes and that flask one more time, I will start posting rules to a Flash Forward drinking game. Take a drink whenever Joseph flashes forward and… well you get the idea.

There is no respect for intelligence in flash forward

I really wanted to like this show. The lack of realism and the clichéd, over-handed character drama just made me feel sad. I didn’t want them to get to the bottom of the case.

I flash forwarded to the end of the series myself. Some “group” is behind this blackout. They “stole something.” They will “do it again” unless Joseph Fiennes can “stop them.” And “yawn.”

I related most to the little girl in the show.

so it does not look good for the flash forward team

was this bio especially mean

the new end credits twitter button

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Ugly Romulans and Vulcans

chase her through the wilds of the internet

  • Steve

    Yeah, I kinda wondered about all that stuff, too. Wouldn’t it have been better to leak all that stuff out a little bit at a time. The contrast between futures that people want v. the ones that people don’t could have been made with John Cho and AA sponsors stories alone. Let the tension between Joseph Fiennes character and his wife build as she CAN’T get back to have a face-to-face because of all the destruction and mayhem. Have the early episodes set against a nation (world) trying to rebuild. I’m in for the duration I think but, yeah, this had better start to get less soapy and more “what-if”y.

  • Quarksbartender

    I actually thought it was pretty good it left me wanting more, and instead of delivering a movie experience like Roland Emerich’s films it kept it local which is what would happen in reality if you were the protagonist. Would I like to see more from other aspects around the world yes, but I think that will happen if the show succeeds.
    I also appreciate this approach to TV where the producers have a begining and an ending as well already built in.
    So I think we should be a bit more open and not judge a series by its pilot but by the whole series or at least the first season.
    The only thing I actually groaned over was the fact that Branon Braga got his signature line from ST Voyager “Some kind of” in the episode

  • jerad.formby

    This marks Quarksbartender’s first ever comment on a blog post at Hey Star Trek!

    I appreciate where you’er coming from, really I do. I’m just more than a little freaked that it’s looking like we’re following an alcoholic to his eventual failed marriage. This approach screams stereotype and ease to us here at the blog post.

    Would prefer the struggles to not be as direct and in your face. Play the drinking game –everytime you’re reminded he’s an alcoholic (in flash “back” “forward?” or dialog). You’ll realize much more time was spent on that character point than the rest of this high (and I admitted) AWESOME concept.

    I’m just afraid of where it’s going. Still don’t know where Lost is going, but I’m in love hook line and sinker.

    Will give it a few more weeks, we’ll see . . . I still stand by my proposed “menace.” It’s humans doing something to get something.

    If it were Aliens –that would blow my mind! 🙂

  • http://apizzagirl.blogspot.com PizzaGirl

    Damn! now I’m going to have to read the book! This sounds like something that could be beautifully executed in print. Actually, I just read the Amazon.com description of the book and apparently in the book they glimpse over 20 years in the future. My brain is buzzing with the implications of seeing 20 years into the future. I can see why they would have to change that for television, but a movie would be able to handle the long time-span. It wouldn’t even have to. There could be no answer proposed to the free-will vs predestination question. I hope the show never answers it (though I have a feeling without even having seen the pilot that it’s going to come down to a scene where Recovering-Alcoholic-Dude is sitting there with a bottle, things have gotten worse than he ever thought possible, when he glimpsed his future he felt helpless, then he felt determined, and now he’s giving in because he has the excuse of having no choice in the matter because it’s predestined, and the gets the glass to his lips, pauses, throws the full glass at the wall where it shatters dramatically, and goes out and gets his wife back).

  • http://dkleparek.blogspot.com David Kleparek

    Hey, I read the book Flashforward just a few months ago. I also saw the pilot episode of this show. There are a lot of similtarities, but there are problems as well. I think the book would make a pretty decent 2-hour movie, but an aweful TV series.

    First off. At the end of the first season, we will most likely find out if thier visions of the future come true or not. If they do, then there’s no point in continuing the series. If not, then the visions don’t matter at all anyway and there’s no point in continuing the series. I just don’t see where this show can go.

    I also don’t have the time or energy to give to another neverending TV show. I gave up on Lost and Heroes pretty quickly. I just can’t stand another one of those type of shows.

    I also don’t care about any of these characters… except maybe John Cho’s character. I don’t know anything about him and his still more interesting than the rest of the cast.

  • Jim Nave

    I dont mean to be a hater, but this just confirms what i already believe: that Bragga has the touch of death. The only decent thing ive seen him do since Season 4 of Enterprise is the latest 24… But even that got a bit crappy and Bragga’esque in the last few hours. He really seems to have the ability to put out high budget glossy material which looks great. but ultimately draws on overdone themes, some poor writing and is not that good. *shrug*

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