I’M frightened … I was watching television and then I blacked out for an hour ….. when I came to, I had visions of the creator of Family Guy making a cameo in the new, massively hyped science fiction show.
It doesn’t say much for Flash Forward that the highlight of the first episode for me was recognising Seth Macfarlane as ‘FBI Agent’, and then wondering why he was doing it? Is he going into acting, or helping out a friend? And what does that mean for Family Guy?
Before I realised it, the rest of the show had passed me by.
That’s not to say it was bad. It was just meh, which is probably worse.
Once again with an American show, the central characters look like actors playing roles. No-one is normal – they’re all too … perfect.
Joseph Fiennes in particular is meant to be battling a drink problem and his wife is on the verge of leaving him because of it, but it was painted in such broad strokes as to be only paper thin characterisation.
And how does an FBI agent in a branch office with a drink problem get put in charge of an investigation into an event which affected everyone on the planet? Apparently because he saw himself investigating it, but for major worldwide blackouts, I’d like to think you need more qualifications than that.
What if he saw himself investigating it really badly? Wouldn’t it be a much more massive investigation, reporting to the president or the UN or something? Apparently not.
On top of that, what should have been the most dramatic moment in the first episode – the moment when everyone blacks out – cars smashing into each other, helicopters crashing into buildings, planes falling from the sky – was only hinted at (Too expensive?).
We just got the, admittedly well realised, aftermath, but I wanted to see the carnage – not some cars mashed up and a kangeroo (which I hope is not some deep rooted, cryptic clue to what is going on – I had enough of those before I gave up on Lost and Heroes).
Finally, pulling together shared visions on a global scale would I imagine require unheard of levels of manpower and admin, but their solution? Set up a website.
Yep, one website, to cater for the Flash Forward visions of the entire world.
I mean, the Twitter fail whale pops up on a regular basis because there are too many people on the system, so good luck with that.
Maybe I’m being too harsh. It was only the first episode and with such a large cast and story, it was always going to be tricky to pack everything in.
When they were interviewed in SFX, the people behind the show said they have planned out a three-series arc, so it sounds like they have set out what could be an involved and intricate tale.
But we are living in a world after The Wire, which raised the bar for involving and absorbing television shows to unheard of levels.
Science fiction television is also being given remarkable access to the mainstream, more so than ever before.
But because of that it has to deliver and Flash Forward – like Dollhouse and (it seems) new V – doesn’t look like it will, on first viewing. That was the most frustrating thing of all, because I wanted it to be better.
Given how forgettably it has started and how fickle the American networks and viewers are, three years is an awfully long way away.
It may not only be John Cho’s character who can’t see anything in six months’ time.
Unless it ups its game, Flash Forward may be blacking out for good.
I hope not and I will be sticking with it, starting with episode two tomorrow.