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 ABC.com or tonight at 7 central when ABC replays it. It is also available on Hulu. Watch it. You won't regret it.
SPOILERS START HERE>>>
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!