After the success of Lost, the amount of strange and weird concepts that came out of TV networks and movie studios began to increase…only to eventually die down again when Lost started to burn off a healthy amount of its viewers. But leave it to ABC to throw another crazy-premised show into their lineup (in addition to V, that is) with FlashForward. The series debuted to rave reviews and was soon at the top of sci-fi and mystery lovers lists as a weekly tune-in. At least it was before the show went on four month hiatus, at least. During that hiatus, however, Disney saw fit to release the first half of the first season on DVD, to whet the appetite of current fans and to also bait potential new viewers into coming back around for the shows March 18th mid-season premiere.
Chaos reigns in Los Angeles after a mysterious event causes everyone in the world to lose consciousness at exactly the same moment. Was it an act of nature? Something man-made gone wrong, or something even more sinister? Whatever it was, every person on Earth blacks out for two minutes and seventeen seconds and sees a series of events on April 29, 2010 at 10:00 p.m., Pacific Time – exactly six months in their future. For some the future will be joyous and hopeful; for others, shockingly unexpected; and for a few, it simply doesn’t seem to exist. Knowing their fate will alter each person’s life in one way or another and poses the questions: Can destiny be changed? And by changing just one destiny, what effect would that have on those of others? Viewers will be able to catch up on the heart-pounding first ten episodes of ABC’s thrilling series “FlashForward” before it resumes airing March 18, 2010.
I was quick to jump on the FlashForward bandwagon. While ABC’s shows have been hit-or-miss with me lately, considering how riveting Lost is I figured I’d give the networks new show a chance. And I really was hooked. The whole premise of a worldwide blackout was not only intriguing but the way it was executed ended up with a strange worldwide unification of…well, everyone. It wasn’t just an isolated incident—everyone in the world experienced it and it was because of that phenomenon that it was easy to slide into the premise of the series.
Unfortunately the show breezed right past that element. There was really no gestating period—no real prolonged exposure to the uniqueness of the events. Instead we were thrown right into the FBI’s investigation into the matter, complete with a cast that was largely devoid of either acting ability or they were just given characters that seemed unable to elicit any kind of emotion. I don’t want to wail on the show too hard with it having only aired ten episodes so far, but when you start off with something this ambitious, it’s kind of important to make sure your cast of characters is likeable from the start. For me, that just wasn’t the case.
I enjoyed only a few of the individuals here. Dominic Monaghan and John Cho’s characters were immediately interesting and likeable (or Monaghan’s was once he actually showed up in the series…talk about a badly kept secret), but the rest of the cast was extremely hit and miss. The lead FBI agent is perhaps one of the least interesting men alive and for him to be placed at the center of everything was just a major mistake. He has no charisma and the situation he shares with his wife is all the more bewildering—it’s a very unexciting and boring plot that gets stretched out and if the two would just talk about the visions they had, then it would be all that much better.
So ignoring the character issues (those can always be solved in the future) we can at least shift our focus towards the story element of the series. The catch is everyone sees into their future on a certain day…only by the end of these first ten episodes, it becomes very clear that these futures aren’t really set in stone. People commit suicide, other people who weren’t really supposed to show up until the 2010 date come into the picture early on and…I honestly don’t know what this series real intent is. It’s like a brilliant idea that someone rushed into production and blew right past all of the really interesting stuff. Instead they opted to focus on the mundane and daily life drama that people experience and then toss in some more boring FBI “plot development” and…I don’t know. I really wanted to like this show, but it just hit mediocrity incredibly fast. I’m fine with not liking the characters/actors immediately, but when the shows plot starts to dovetail this fast into what is an original and intriguing concept…I just lose all hope for it.
The show reminds me of Heroes but instead of the show turning to crap in seasonal increments, it did it in episode increments instead. More than anything it’s the wasted potential that bugs me and even though I stuck with it during the ten episodes, I’m not sure how much more of it I can take before I want to just focus on other shows instead (which is the exact same feeling I have about V as well).
Overall the show definitely has potential, but it needs to find some grounding and go for a specific story and plot, rather than deviating and sliding all about the much-too-large cast. I get the need to pad the run times, but some of the stories here are more tedious than anything and even though the show starts out as an easy “Must See,” it just becomes a Rental far too quickly after the first couple episodes.
Disney packs the first volume onto two lonely discs inside of a standard Amaray DVD case housed inside of a reflective foil/embossed slipcover. It might stand out a bit on the shelves due to its shiny nature…but it’s really quite a boring and mundane cover to be honest. I get what they were going for, but it’s just really quite meh. Especially once you slip that cardboard cover off…the blue to white gradient wash is something capable of inducing yawns. Disc art is the same and menus are…well, slightly better, but still not amazing. Video is thankfully nice and clear, although the compression ratio is a bit up there with them having to cram ten episodes across a mere two discs—fine for a twenty-two minute comedy, but not for a forty-some minute show. Audio is a DD5.1 mix and while it is very action driven show for the first couple installments, the farther the series goes on the more typical the mix gets. Don’t get me wrong, there’s some nice directionality and LFE output…but it’s mostly all detective work and question positing so it ends up being a crystal clear front channel delivery, more than anything.
FLASHFORWARD: A LOOK AHEAD – Be the first to get a “FlashForward” with this exclusive look at the returning March 18th episode.
CREATING A CATASTROPHE: THE EFFECTS OF A GLOBAL BLACKOUT – Viewers will go behind-the-scenes of the pilot and discover what went into creating FlashForward’s most iconic scene, the freeway disaster. Viewers will explore through interviews with David S. Goyer and his on-set production team how destruction is developed and explosions are executed.
“COULD” – A look at the second half of FlashForward Season 1, narrated by Dominic Monaghan.
The extras are pretty brief, although the special effects piece is mildly entertaining simply because of Goyer’s input. The dual looks at the upcoming later half of the season is interesting, only because it looks so promising…I sincerely hope it doesn’t disappoint.
Considering there’s really only one extra focusing on this part of the season included here, you’ll be hard-pressed to spend much time with this set once you’re done with the episodes. As is I’d say go ahead and Rent it—only buy it if you plan on banking on the off-chance that ABC actually gives this show a second season.
FlashForward – Part 1 – Season 1 arrives on DVD on February 23rd.