Friday, September 25, 2009

FlashForward No More Good Days, review and first thoughts

I'll start with a spoiler free review, so if you haven't seen it yet you can get a sense of what I think of it, then I'll move into a LOST-style analysis of the first episode if you have seen it.


Wow.  A brilliant pilot that perfectly sets up what is to come and at the same time provides an hour of tense and suspenseful drama.  The actors are all phenomenal (even the surprise cameo performance of Family Guy creator, Seth MacFarlane, when I saw him I tweeted, "Wait, was that Seth MacFarlane? #FlashForward", and it turns out that yes, yes it was) and the cinematography, editing, and music were all top notch.  There was no aspect of the pilot that wasn't incredibly phenomenal.  Like LOST it opens with the after effects of a traumatic experience, and like LOST quickly introduces a mind boggling mystery.  For 2 minutes and 17 seconds, the entire world blacks out and sees themselves 6 months into the future.  What a fantastic concept, and the pilot plays it out brilliantly setting the stage for all the mystery inherent in such a premise.  Clearly it is a show that will demand a loyal and consistent commitment to the show, because it seems like there will be a lot each week that will play into the overall mystery.  If you feel like giving that much commitment to a television show, it seems like FlashForward will more then make it worthwhile.  I said on Facebook last night that I thought the pilot was at least the best network pilot since the one for LOST, and even though this is only one episode, I definitely think that FlashForward will be a more than suitable replacement.  If for any reason you missed it last night, check it out online at or tonight at 7 central when ABC replays it.  It is also available on Hulu.  Watch it.  You won't regret it.


There were a few things that struck me as I watched the show last night, and rewatched it today in preparation for this post.

I love the theological implications that are already making their way into the show.  We have two characters that verbally put this event at God's doorstep.  There is Nicole, the babysitter, and Bryce, the doctor.  Nicole tells Mark (the main character, played by Joseph Fiennes) that she thinks the flash forward was a punishment from God, Bryce tells Olivia (Mark's wife, played by Sonya Walger, better known as Penny on LOST) that he thinks this was a gift from God.  Interestingly enough, the first time that we see Nicole, Mark calls her a saint, whereas the first time we see Bryce, Olivia is calling him to complain about the fact that he didn't show up to work the day before, which is not Saint-like behavior.  I don't really know how much stock to put into this, however, because the next time we see Nicole she is half naked with her boyfriend while the girl she is supposed to be babysitting is upstairs asleep.  That isn't exactly Saint-like behavior either.  Anyway, the two characters and their opposing view points on the event are tied together as the two characters are always shown one after the other, and both are tied to the Benford family

Then there is the question of whether or not the visions are changeable.  It seems like knowing your future six months in advance can allow you to change it, at least somewhat.  I am interested to see how this plays out as I'm sure that some people (and indeed some in the show are among this group) would adamantly want the future that they saw to not come true.  And if you do want the future to come true, can knowing that future somehow jeopardize it from coming true?  The mere fact that you have seen your future will cause you to do things differently than you otherwise would have.  Mark, for instance, sets up his Mosaic board based on the board that he saw in his vision.  The cards for D. Gibbons, Friendship Bracelet, Doll's Head, Blue Hands, and the tattoo are all there only because he saw those cards there in his vision.  It is possible that he would have come to discover some of those clues without the help of the vision, but the fact that those cards are up there and where they are on the board are solely because he saw them there in the vision.  Clearly the things that people saw are going to affect the decisions that they make, so the question is, does the mere having of the vision lead to the visions coming true?  Definitely an interesting idea to keep an eye on as the show progresses.

I found the mention and use of the song, Islands in the Stream interesting.  The song says, "Islands in the stream/that is what we are", but it seems to me that we are more accurately riding along on the stream, and the Islands, which would be stationary points in the stream, are stationary points in time, such as moments, such as April 29, 2010 at 10pm PST, with the stream being time, flowing ever onward.

A few of the interesting things that I noticed...

There was an Oceanic Airlines billboard, nice LOST shout-out.

Speaking of billboards, on the side of the bus as Benford and Demetri Noh (played by Harold/Sulu aka John Cho) dealt with "the unknown female" was an advertisement for something called Red Panda.  It said, "A Better Tomorrow".  In Mark Benford's flash forward, on his board were written the words Red Panda.  Clearly this company plays some sort of role in what happened.

The kangaroo probably will play some importance as the show goes on, I don't think that it was just a nod to the polar bear in the early going of LOST, although it probably was a little bit of that as well.

On LOST, numerology plays a big role, and we got a lot of numbers in this as well.  Not sure what any of them mean yet or if they are even that important, but I noted them nonetheless.

2 min 17 sec or 137 seconds. (how long the black out lasted)

6 months (how far into the future the visions are)

4-29-2010 10:00pm (when they take place)

4-30-2010 6:00am (when it takes place in London, also explicitly mentioned in the episode)

17 weeks (how far along one of the characters is in her pregnancy in her vision, this also means that she will be getting pregnant in just less then 2 months)

877 planes (the amount of planes that crashed, presumably in America)

Nothing really jumps out at me yet looking at those numbers, but then I am certainly not a numerology expert.

Finally, Suspect Zero is very interesting.  Is he D. Gibbons?  Is he human?  Is he the cause of the blackout/flash forward or is he just somehow immune to it?  And is it just me or did he look a lot like the father of the little boy, who is also the mystery man in Olivia's flash forward?  That would certainly be interesting, but why would he have been in Detroit when he works at Stanford, and how did he get back to LA that night when all the flights are grounded and presumably the streets are pretty congested because of all the wrecks that would have occured during the event?

Not sure, but I can't wait to find out.  I hope that you're as excited about this show as I am!  I'm thinking that it will be extremely hard to beat for Josh's Choice For Best New Show of the Year, of course it is still early.

Until Next Time, speaking of Josh's Choice For Best New Show of the Year, last year's winner Dollhouse returns for its second season tonight on FOX!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Thoughts on Some of the New Fall Shows Part 2

Thanks to having the flu and the inability to get out of the house since everyone is afraid that I'm going to infect them, I have gotten to watch some television in the last couple of days.  That means there is a new post on some of the new shows this season.  Today I'll be giving you my thoughts on Vampire Diaries, Modern Family, Cougar Town, The Forgotten, The Good Wife, Eastwick, and Mercy.  You can check my previous post for my thoughts on Glee and Community.

Everyone is going to talk about this as a Twilight knockoff, and while there is little doubt that this show exists only because of the popularity of the teen Vampire series, the books that this show is based on actually predates Twilight by more then 10 years.  So any similarities aren't really ripping off Twilight, just taking advantage of that series's popularity.  The show is developed by Kevin Williamson, who is famous of course for Dawson's Creek.  I'm not sure that this show has the potential of that one, and it doesn't seem to have the mythology of Buffy or Angel to sustain it for long either.  As much as I love vampires and like Kevin Williamson, the show will have to lay off of the cliche pretty quickly for me to stay on board.  I do have to admit that it is great to see Boone on the television again, however.  Ian Somerholder (Boone on LOST) is outstanding in the first couple of episodes as the evil vampire.


This comedy actually made me feel even less excited about Community.  While I was willing to give Community some room to find its way, Modern Family showed that it isn't necessary for every show.  It hits the ground running.  It is hilarious and despite all of the characters it manages to have a perfect pacing and no one gets a short shift.  The episode both made me laugh and engaged my emotions.  It is a comedy, but even though there has only been one episode, I already care about the characters.  I did not expect a show that I hadn't heard that much about to win  me over so completely, and yet it did.  I highly recommend catching the replay of the pilot on Friday at 8 Central on ABC (assuming, of course, that you have some way to also watch the season premiere of Dollhouse airing at the same time) or on  From not even being on my radar, this show is now in the running for the coveted Josh's Choice For the Best New Show of the Year Award (won last season by Dollhouse!)


While I am a fan of much of the cast, the show was overly cliched and not really that funny.  I doubt that I'll watch it again.  Courtney Cox deserves better, as does Busy Philips (from Freaks and Geeks and the land lady last season on Terminator), Christa Miller (from Scrubs), Dan Byrd (from the under appreciated show Aliens in America), and Ian Gomez (who was so great in Felicity that it is hard for me to buy him as a straight guy in this show).  I wish I liked it, because I am a fan of all of those actors, but I'm just not.  I don't recommend it at all.


Christian Slater's new show, and the new show from Jerry Bruckheimer (CSI et al, and Cold Case), it is as formula as any of those.  Not terrible, but not great either.  It was odd to me, because I had seen the video from the upfronts, and the pilot was exactly the same as that showed, except the lead actor was different.  Apparently when ABC decided to go with it for the season, they replaced the main actor with Christian Slater.  Even with the former movie star in the main role, there were no characters that really grab you in this show, and the formula aspect really turns me off.  While there were little hints about each of the characters that I guess will be played out over the season, I can't help but feel that this show will be one that it won't really hurt you if you miss any.  So, I'll probably be missing quite a few.


Another show in the running now for Josh's Choice for the Best New Show of the Year.  Sure, in a way, it is just another Lawyer Show, but there is enough extra going on that really gathered my interest, and then there is the fact that it was a great episode of a Lawyer Show.  The cast is terrific, Julianna Margulies (Nurse Hathaway on ER), Josh Charles (Dan on the great, great show Sports Night), and Chris Noth (probably best known as Mr. Big).  The premise is ripe for a lot of interesting stories, Julianna Margulies plays "the good wife" standing by her politician husband (Chris Noth) after he is brought down in a prostitution scandal.  In order to provide for the family, she goes to work for a law firm run in part by an old friend from when she was in law school (Josh Charles).  Intertwining the stories of the cases she is working on and the continuing legal troubles of her husband as well as her own personal problems with the situation should make the show interesting for some time to come.  I really enjoyed the pilot.


Yeah, I honestly don't even know what was going on in this pilot.  It really didn't strike me as believable, and I recognize that a show about three witches in a New England town probably shouldn't seem believable, but I mean that it was impossible for me to suspend my disbelief at all.  I didn't really buy any of the characters at all with the possible exception of the maybe evil mysterious dude, played by Paul Gross from Due South (if you remember that show), but since they didn't really build his character enough (I guess because they wanted to keep him mysterious) I didn't really care that much.  As much as I love fantasy type shows, I feel like this show is not one that will really work for me.  Neither did Charmed, so maybe if you liked it, you'll like this one as well.


Another Hospital Show is probably needed as much as another Lawyer Show, but I like that the main character is a nurse as opposed to a doctor, in fact most of the main characters are nurses, and that in itself is enough to differentiate it from most other Hospital Shows.  I'm worried that it might become a little too soapy (like ER fell into after its first few amazing seasons, and what Gray's Anatomy has never tried to avoid), but the characters seem strong and interesting enough to keep me interested.  Plus, I love Michelle Trachtenberg, and she is awesome as a brand new nurse who is slightly out of her element.  I think that the show has good potential, and after seeing it I admit to being a little surprised at how many negative reviews it has gotten.  I enjoyed it.

Until Next Time, I will be reviewing FlashForward in a post of its own tomorrow!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Thoughts on Some of the New Fall Shows Part 1

Well, I'd love to do in depth reviews of each of the new television shows on the networks like I've done in the past, but the truth is, I'm too dang busy to even attempt such a thing this year.

I'm back in school working towards my Masters degree, as well as working, so I probably won't be as caught up on television shows.

However, as I catch some of the new shows, I'll blog a few thoughts I have about them, you know, for old time's sake.


Now, there have been two more episodes since the premiere that I haven't yet seen, so you probably already know whether or not this is a show that you are going to schedule time for.  Personally, I'm probably going to try and watch it, but I'm not as excited as a lot of people seem to be.  I like the comedy of the show, and I like a lot of the people in the show (especially the greatness that is Jane Lynch), but the super over produced musical numbers completely take me out of the show.  It becomes a glitzy musical, when that isn't really what the theme of the show is, these are kids that are supposed to love music because of the way it makes them feel and the fun they have doing what they love, and the over production makes it seem to glitzy and studio-ized (if such a word exists) making a mockery of the theme of the show.  Still, the music is good, the show is funny, and the acting is stellar, so I can probably over look that.


This show has huge potential, and despite the very formulaic premiere, I plan on sticking with it.  Sometimes pilots are tough to do because you have to set up the premise of the show, introduce the characters, and tell a good story.  The premise was set up and the characters are introduced, but I wasn't blown away by the pilot's story.  Due to the funny premise and characters and the talent involved in the show, I have high hopes where this show is headed even if I was a little underwhelmed by the pilot.

Until Next Time, I will periodically check in on my thoughts on these shows as they progress and some other new shows as well.  How I Met Your Mother and Big Bang Theory return on Monday!