Thursday, October 22, 2009

FlashForward

Some spoilers for LOST season 5.

I got into a conversation today with Brad who I had not talked to in a while and we discussed Flashforward: we discovered that we had the exact same reaction. We liked the first episode, but immediately put it on the burn pile because of the second one. Flashforward is a great premise: everyone on earth gets a glimpse of 6 months in the future, and then has to grapple with what it means, and how it happened. Just the neatness with which you can describe the thing shows that people are working hard to make this thing work. It makes a calculated full frontal assault on the throne of LOST at ABC, which goes off the air in May. Not just with the casting of Lost's Penny and eventually Charlie, but with that opening sequence which introduces our main man just as Lost did.






And just like LOST it will "flash" between two time periods, focusing on individual characters while investigating a larger mystery. And it also takes us back to the early days of Lost where the sci-fi stuff was on the back-burner, much more balanced with straight drama elements. (A sister of a friend of mine who watched the first season or two of Lost and then gave up on it was very taken aback when she heard recently that characters were time traveling, and while I did get sucked into the silliness of donkey wheels and whatnot I can also sympathize).

The first episode of FlashForward was pretty good, with nice character moments.



(notice in the background, behind the car, a billboard for LOST's Oceanic Airlines and their perfect safety record, a hint about season 6: this show could not want to replace LOST more).

And in this clip you can see a call back to that nice character moment as well as a that last minute reveal that sets up the larger mystery, just like the monster did on LOST.





I was not super clear why Seth McFarlane was in the show:


But it was pretty good so I watched the second ep. And I got hit first with this, a "comedy" moment. I mean a lot of these serial dramas do quickly forget their sense of humor, or never had one (I am looking at you BSG), so in theory I like the idea of putting something light in the show. I even in theory like the careen from the high concept of the flashforward to the reality that maybe a powerful man was on the toilet at the moment he was jumped forward to, and thus lacks the important life changing vision that others got. But this is a disaster:



This is a scene more appropriate to Dumb and Dummer, as it takes the usual "I, a DUDE, have to put my mouth on the lips of this DUDE" and doubles up for potty humor as well. (There is also a strange echo of Sports Night of all things, where Issac, also the boss, also black, missed the world changing "GIANTS WIN THE PENNANT" moment because he was in the bathroom).

Doubling up gay panic with potty humor is already too much, but then THIS. The cliche is unbelievable.



Oh, how creepy all those doll limbs are! Notice the IRONY of how they should be happy toys for little girls but just make everything seem even more creepy here by suggesting dismemberment and horrors in the context of children. Wonder how long it must have taken our evil mastermind to MAKE AN ALARM SYSTEM OUT OF THEIR DOLL LAUGH BOXES FOR MAXIMUM CREEPY EFFECT. (When I was a kid I was always amazed that guys with mohawks were supposed to be considered tough: the image of them at the mirror every morning fixing their hair kind of wrecks the effect they are going for; I have a hard time taking seriously a bad guy who goes in for this kind of foolishness).

As Brad pointed out -- Flashforward is like LOST by way of CSI. No good.

4 comments:

Marc Caputo said...

There's a novelette by Michael Bishop called "The Quickening" that I've read two or three times a year since discovering it in 1982. In it, everyone in the world wakes up one morning in a different place in the world. That's the premise, but there's never an explanation as to why it happened, which is part of the story's power - it simply doesn't matter. As the premiere of the show approached, I wished that after all the mythology shows (and I'm proudly a fan of MANY of them), I remarked, "Now, THIS is a show that never has to reveal itself. You have the cataclysmic event and then simply move on." Because no explanation is needed here.

Oh, well. Missed opportunity...although tonight's episode was the best so far...

Marc Caputo said...

And the opening of the third ep - set to Bjork's "It's Oh So Quiet" was darkly funny like I've seen so rarely on a TV drama..

plok said...

Too much Hulu! I'm outside the U.S.

Christian said...

I'm with plok. I'm sure this would have been a very nice article, if I could see the videos tho. ;)

I wonder if Hulu still will be region-locked, when they start charging users...