Review: Flashforward

“LOST” is in the end of its life (last season starts this February), so ABC is hard at work trying to find the show that will replace it. Apparently, while “LOST” doesn’t have as many viewers as some other shows, it is very consistent with the 18-49 demographic, which is what brings money in to TV networks. Plus, its DVDs sell very well, despite being one of the most torrented shows in the world, and all its episodes being available for free HD viewing on abc.com and Hulu.

So the show that is set to supposedly replace LOST in the the hearts of us geeks, is “Flashforward“. The first episode aired tonight, puts forward the story for a strong mythology, mysteries, conspiracy and other theories, and of course, personal drama. The first season storyline is building up on the fact that the whole Earth population blacks out for 2:17 mins, and during that time they have a lucid vision of themselves 6 months in the future. The main hero, an FBI agent, tries to put the pieces together.

At this point though, the similarities to LOST are too great to ignore:
– The show starts with a major catastrophe, with the first scene being the main character waking up in this chaotic situation (just like Lost’s Jack woke up in the jungle and ran towards the fallen plane).
– Just like the polar bear on Lost, Flashforward features a kangaroo! A kangaroo out of nowhere running amok in downtown LA.
– Towards the end of the episode, a guy in black, shown to be unaffected by the universal blackout. This guy is the equivalent of the “smoke monster” on Lost, also shown at the end of the Lost pilot episode.
– Two Lost actors have been recruited on Flashforward (Lost’s Penelope and Charlie).
– The show asks philosophical questions about destiny; Lost has dealt with the concept greatly too.
– Heck, there was even a big sign of the Oceanic Airlines in the beginning of the episode, ABC’s way of paying homage to LOST!

Unfortunately, Flashfoward’s pilot doesn’t come close to Lost’s pilot in terms of sets, directing, intensity. It’s a good pilot, but not a masterpiece. The main problem is that apart the main character, the rest of the characters are not as interesting or strongly defined as Lost’s — they feel flat. There’s no Sawyer, there’s no Hurley, there’s no mysterious Locke sitting at the beach not talking to anyone and only smirking away! There are just a bunch of people acting as they would in any other drama. LOST on the other hand, clearly defines its characters from the get go — they feel unique.

Additionally, the main cast seem to be comprised by 14 people, the same amount of actors as in Lost’s first season, however, Lost has a gazillion of supporting actors via flash-backs/forwards/other, enriching the show greatly. Flashforward instead, seems to rely mostly on these 14 characters and very rarely is going to add any more important characters to it. This can make the show feel “smaller” and its plot less significant than the global ramifications it should actually communicate to the viewer. The story should be more epic.

Another thing that bothered me was that the show was not as smart as Lost. For example, when the main character lied to his wife that “he saw nothing else in his vision”, the director/editor shows (again, for a 3rd time in 30 minutes) the part of his vision where he relapses and becomes an alcoholic again. If that was Lost, the viewer would have to figure out what was what in that scene and what was insinuated, rather than having the editor spelling it out for us like we are 5 year old. There were 2-3 more such scenes that Lost would have dealt differently in terms of writing/directing/editing.

Overall though, the first episode definitely made me want to watch more. It is the best new show I’ve watched this fall season so far, and I expect it to stay that way until LOST starts again in February. However, many viewers already complain about how to sustain this plot and keep it interesting: apparently, its writers have said that they have already plotted away 5 seasons for the show. They know where they are going, and most importantly, they have an end date: which is super-important in serialized shows like this (as Lost proved).

I only pray that the show doesn’t become too much of a drama — as was hinted by one of its actors recently — and retains the mythology, action and mystery.

10 Comments »

Charles-Etienne Pascal wrote on September 25th, 2009 at 11:30 AM PST:

I thought it was a good concept executed very badly.


Raphael wrote on September 26th, 2009 at 1:22 AM PST:

I thought its a bad idea, executed badly. Flashforward is a show about a world-wide problem that has less cast than 30 Rock, which is a show about one crew. I’m amazed you like it.


This is the admin speaking...
Eugenia wrote on September 26th, 2009 at 1:28 AM PST:

14 actors is already a lot of casting for a TV show. It’s just not as many as Lost’s. Think that shows like The Mentalist, which has millions of viewers more than any of these shows, only has 5-6 recurring characters. House MD has 7-9. Fringe has 7-8. Vampire Diaries has 10. Dollhouse has 10.


Andreas wrote on September 26th, 2009 at 5:48 AM PST:

I found it interesting. It is a little bit early for me to judge it. It will take a few more episodes to conclude if I really like it.

When I saw the Lost pilot I was puzzled from the weirdness of the events and characters. It took some time to love the show. It is not exactly the same feeling with FlashForward. The only major mystery in FlashForward is what caused the blackout. In Lost’s pilot, the writers didn’t give us clue of *anything*. It took *seasons* to figure out what is all about.

Therefore, I agree with the similarities/dissimilarities you mention but I believe also that in FlashForward we have to do with a more classical way of story telling. Non the unconventional, non-linear story telling of Lost.


William Eggington wrote on September 26th, 2009 at 9:10 PM PST:

I agree with you on the hand holding part. At one point just before it switched to commercial a guy’s came on and said “Did you see the kangaroo!?!”.

Umm. . . yes. What am I? 3?

Waaaaaaaay to many cuts back to what is being referenced as they are talking about it. Like our memories are that crap that they have to pound each and every point into us over and over and over. Thats going to get real old real fast.

Other than that I enjoyed it. 🙂


This is the admin speaking...
Eugenia wrote on September 26th, 2009 at 9:35 PM PST:

Yup. And the scene at the hospital at the end, with the kid’s father. They again flashed-back to the flashfoward scene where he’s sitting in the living room. It’s like, they think we are retarded. Flashforward is good, but they need an editor with a vision.


Matze wrote on September 28th, 2009 at 7:45 AM PST:

For me the facepalmiest moment was when people gathered on the street to watch the news through a shop’s window. The TVs showed how the blackout thing happened all around the world and then some guy says “it happens all around the world!1111”. After that I couldn’t take it seriously anymore. I wish this show had a squintface count. I cringed every time Fiennes was on screen. What a truly terrible and completely unbelievable performance. Sorry, I’m being way too angry about this… “I dreamt there were no more good days” who writes this campy stuff??!!


This is the admin speaking...
Eugenia wrote on September 28th, 2009 at 3:48 PM PST:

>After that I couldn’t take it seriously anymore.

Why not? There’s a reason why the whole population fell under. Don’t forget that this show is based on a scifi book.

>who writes this campy stuff?

That was a bad line indeed.


Matze wrote on September 28th, 2009 at 4:44 PM PST:

I didn’t mean the content that the scene provided. Just the cut. If I had directed that scene I would have extended the news shots, crescendo and then cut right there. The guy explaining what I just saw feels like a slap in the face. “Thank you, captain obvioso!!” Scifi book or not, I can’t be immersed into something that treats me like a moron. That’s not the only scene. The one where Fiennes and Cho have the walk and talk with their boss comes to mind.

I feel bad because I really want to like FlashForward but even if they sort everything out I don’t know if I can endure Fiennes as a lead if he continues with the squinting.


Brian Boulnois wrote on September 28th, 2009 at 4:45 PM PST:

Its just aired here in the UK on channel 5 so not had long to wait, my fear was it going to be over hyped by the TV channel they been banging on for weeks about this show and of course using the lost connection “from the network that brought you lost”. To be honest i think they did over play a bit in all honestly i thought we was going to more of the big blackout and the after effects of that before we got down to the story and as pointed out what on earth was that kangaroo doing in LA?
I didnt really care about the storys that have been set up for the coming weeks, like how does she get pregent? How does he handly possble dieing in six months? Why does he return to drink etc etc? The only thing got my interest is that guy walking about who is he and why wasnt he out like the rest of them.
The sneak peek i got to see really didnt get me excited either, its not got a patch on lost thats for sure for shocks


Comments are closed as this blog post is now archived.

Lines, paragraphs break automatically. HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

The URI to TrackBack this blog entry is this. And here is the RSS 2.0 for comments on this post.