Monday night saw the start of new American show Flashforward in the UK. With comparison’s to Lost (and you should know how I feel about that show) this was always going to be big… but did it live up to the hype.
It only took a few moments to see why ABC think of this show as it’s new Lost. The opening scene sees the main protagonist, FBI agent Mark Benford walking through the wreckage of a massive car crash in a very similar style to Jack walking though the Oceanic crash scene in Lost. It was an immediately gripping opening, which I appreciated and told the story slightly backwards as we then flashed 4 hours earlier.
The main crux of what happened is that everyone in the world ‘stopped’ for 2 minutes and 17 seconds. But they didn’t just blackout, they saw a vision of the future, 6 months to be exact, to the 29th April 2010. The fact that people ‘stopped’ obviously causes mass chaos leaving us with the New York ‘wastleland’ we see at the start of the show.
The programme is going to focus on just a few of these characters who’ve had specific flashes. Some of them are heartwarming, such as the doctor, ready to commit suicide, who has a vision that in 6 months his life is turned around and he is still alive. Some are funny such as the FBI chief who saw himself on the toilet. Some will clearly be integral to the overall story such as Mark’s where he sees himself in a room with snipers after him. And some are upsetting or devastating… Sonya Walger’s character is cheating and FBI agent Demetri Noh sees nothing, suggesting he isn’t here.
The presentation of the show is both interesting yet cryptic. We’ve only properly seen one flash so far, yet heard details from others. It helps keep a blanket over the story’s larger plot. It also suggests that many of these flashes will be connected. The introduction of characters was also very good, with only a small, but satisfying amount of backgrounding for the main cast.
The production of the show did hit a few issues. Firstly in a car chase, the SUV hitting the traffic at high speed didn’t seem to be damaged in any way by this. This was… at best, very unrealistic! Also there were many shots at the beginning with many people around one moment, the next cut they had all vanished. Yes they’re small details, but for such a large production, I expected a little more attention to these details.
So should you continue watching? It seems like an OK concept, but what’s the hook. That came in the last minute of the show. Deep inside the FBI, an agent discovers an interesting CCTV clip. At a football stadium, when everyone goes into the ‘trance’, one man doesn’t and simply walks away. Someone was awake! But, who? why? This is what’s going to make this series and it’s happened far earlier than Lost’s first great hook.
Flashforward looks to be a very interesting concept and is certainly the most exciting new show of 2009. I’ll be sticking with it and hope it proves a worthy replacement to the awesome Lost.
To finish, I’ll just note a couple more easter eggs for Lost fans. Firstly, I hope you all noticed the Oceanic Airline’s logo in the background in the opening scenes. Also, April 29th, the day of the flash, is the same day Lost is scheduled to end in the US… coincidence? I think not!