Author: Danielle Christopher
What would happen if everyone knew the future before it happened? In ABC’s new show “FlashForward,” everyone on the planet sees the future – a “flashforward” to six months in the future. Loosely based on the science-fiction novel of the same name by Robert J. Sawyer, “FlashForward” has been heralded the new “Lost” by eager fans. However, although the season opened with better ratings than the latest season of “Lost,” it could potentially lose popularity if producers fail to refocus the plot.
In the first episode of “FlashForward,” everyone on the planet blacks out for two minutes and seventeen seconds and sees a glimpse of how their lives will be on April 29, 2010. A team of FBI agents in Los Angeles begins investigating what happened, who caused it and why. However, their investigation is not based on concrete fact. Instead they rely on clues from agent Mark Benford (Joseph Fiennes), who saw himself investigating the cause of the blackouts in his flashforward.
Once the agency realizes the global nature of the phenomenon, they create a Web site in an attempt to piece together what the world will look like in April. This Web site, entitled “Mosaic,” enables people to both post descriptions of what they saw and search for whomever they encountered in their flashforwards.
Meanwhile, many of the flashforwards of principle characters reveal unexpected, unsettling and even seemingly impossible futures, creating both an atmosphere of uncertainty and a global fear that these visions are inevitable.
“FlashForward” is an entertaining thriller filled with action and drama. The stunning special effects and captivating themes embellish the already interesting story line. From the series premiere to the latest episode, the special effects have been phenomenal, ranging from frighteningly realistic portrayals of plane crashes, wreckage and rubble after the blackout, to the use of heavy firearms in attacks on the FBI agents investigating the flashforwards.The show also addresses very personal and relatable themes such as the fear of death, government secrecy, the definition of free will and coping with tragedy.
The presence of such powerful themes allows for deeper character development, with each major character possessing qualities of a different conventional member of society: Benford is the former alcoholic devoted to reforming his life; Aaron Stark (Brían F. O’Byrne) is the suffering middle class man who mourns the death of his daughter; Lloyd Simcoe (Jack Davenport) is the neglectful father forced to become part of his son’s life after his ex-wife’s death.
“FlashForward” has a great science-fiction aspect that is endlessly entertaining, but it’s not flawless. The underlying suspense behind whether or not the flashforwards were going to happen as envisioned was addicting. However, the creators made the mistake of revealing that the flashforwards can be changed in episode seven.
Such an early revelation was both shocking and, admittedly, a little disappointing. Before that episode, one of the most intriguing aspects of the show was the characters’ internal struggle against the seemingly inevitable – that the future they saw would come true despite any and all efforts to stop it. Although I expected this revelation at some point during the season, I wish it hadn’t been the seventh episode of a 25-episode season.
However, the suspense is not gone. Many characters try to actively change their futures now that they know their flashforwards don’t have to become reality. But is everyone’s flashforward as flexible as one another’s? Or are most characters still slaves to the future? In reality, characters may think they are changing the future, but it’s completely possible that they are not.
Another minor flaw in “FlashForward” is that it tries to compensate for its diminished suspense by creating more and more subplot lines. Originally, finding out what each character saw during his or her flashforward was exciting, but now the flashforwards are becoming more numerous and less interesting.
The main storyline is starting to become clouded by the introduction of new flashforwards, especially seeing as many recent episodes have focused almost entirely on subplots. Hopefully, however, the show will return from its holiday hiatus with fresh ideas that focus more on the main story.
All in all, the show’s main plot line is too gripping to be completely ruined by excessive subplots. With an intriguing plot line and some highly interesting minor characters, “FlashForward” is both addicting and worth watching. With well developed characters and compelling themes, the show provides fun Thursday night entertainment.
“FlashForward” airs Thursdays at 8 p.m. Catch up on the latest episodes at hulu.com.
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