Flash Forward Review: Series Premiere
Sixty minutes after Flash Forward premiered on ABC, the jury is still out on what kind of show this is going to be. The premise sounds more clever than compelling: Everyone across the globe blacks out for two minutes and 17 seconds, experiencing a vision of their lives six months in the future. But at times, the pilot teases the kind of brain-straining drama that reaches into Lost territory.
Like Lost, the show begins with a bang, but instead of a plane crash on an island, it's a gigantic car pileup in Los Angeles. The blackouts lead to mass casualties. We see a helicopter crash into a building, surfers drown, planes come down (including the vice-president's), and a kangaroo somehow escapes from a zoo. FBI agent Mark Benford (Joseph Fiennes) is trying to figure out who or what is behind this strange, global penomenon, which caused seven billion people's consciousness jumped forward to April 29, 2010.
And like Lost, the episode asks way more questions than it answers. Benford's vision was of a bulletin board with clues, so he becomes lead investigator on the task force to find out what happened. Seemingly meaningless notecards are all that he has to go on. And the visions of the future bring up new domestic problems—the alcoholic Benford was drinking, and his wife Olivia (Sonya Walger) was with another man. The one person who doesn't black out is captured on a grainy security camera at a Detroit Tigers baseball game, that for some reason one of the main FBI agents happened to be looking at.
And I'm still trying to figure out how the kid in the ER knew Olivia; even though Olivia will be dating the kid's father in the future, Olivia didn't see the kid there. The likelihood that the kid happened to be looking at something that would identify Olivia seems like a stretch.
The previews for the upcoming season revealed one more similarity to Lost—Dominic Monaghan joins the cast as someone who claims to know what caused the flash forwards. The previews also reveal that the world will basically be split into those hoping for the visions to come true and those trying to prevent them.
It seems to be headed in an interesting direction, but whether it's any fun getting there is still uncertain. But in a season packed with new procedural cop/doctor/lawyer shows, I'll certainly give it bonus points for an original premise. Peering into my own future, I think I'll still be watching in six months.
Flash Forward airs Thursdays at 8pm on ABC.
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