September 27, 2009

TV: FlashForward (ABC, Thur 8)

Based very loosely on a novel by Robert J. Sawyer, here's ABC's attempt to create a successor to Lost, which begins its final season in January.

We begin with a dramatic event: Everyone in the world blacks out for two minutes and seventeen seconds, and has a vision of their future. All of the visions, it seems, are of the same time -- 10 pm Pacific, April 29, 2010 (which just happens to be the Thursday night that kicks off the May sweeps period).

Three FBI agents are assigned to the case. Mark (Joseph Fiennes) had a vision that showed him working on it, and apparently close to a breakthrough; his partner Demetri (John Cho) is one of the few who didn't have a vision, which he assumes means that he won't be alive on April 29. Janis (Christine Woods) is the best analyst in the FBI's Los Angeles office.

There is a certain amount of soap opera to some of the visions; Mark sees himself drinking heavily again, and his wife Olivia (Sonya Walger) sees herself romantically involved with another man.

FlashForward is very clearly targeting the Lost audience; there's a billboard for Oceanic Airlines in the background of one scene, and as Mark wanders the chaotic streets of downtown LA immediately after the blackouts, we see a lone kangaroo hopping through the streets, very reminiscent of the polar bear from the Lost premiere.

The premise is a compelling one, and the cast is solid; Brian F. O'Bryne and Courtney B. Vance are also on hand, and Dominic Monaghan joins the show next week. What isn't quite there yet is a group of characters who are as intriguing as the premise; everyone's a bit cookie-cutter after the first episode. But I'm hopeful that they'll be better developed as we go along, and very excited about the possibilities for the show.

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