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A Review Of ABC’s Braga/Goyer Sci-Fi Pilot FLASH FORWARD!!

Published at: May 9, 2009, 8:11 p.m. CST

I am – Hercules!!

Somebody's seen ABC’s “Flash Forward” pilot, written and produced by Brannon Braga (creator of “Star Trek: Enterprise”) and David Goyer (writer-director of “Blade Trinity”), who previously collaborated on CBS’ “Threshold.” The series creators apparently took a couple liberties with the the sci-fi novel by Robert J. Sawyer, in which, thanks to a super-high-energy experiment gone wrong, everyone in the world experiences two minutes and 17 seconds of his or her own life 21 years in the future. In the pilot the cause of the flash-forward is apparently a mystery, and everyone flashes forward only six months. Those who have read the book can tell us whether or not there was a mysterious figure who did not black out during the flash. “Jeremy” speaks:
Just watched the pilot episode of Flash Forward thanks to taking part in an on-line survey and wanted to share some quick thoughts. The ABC show is based on a sci-fi novel of the same name, which I have not read, and is set to debut this fall. Quick recap (Spoilers): Show opens on scenes of destruction in downtown L.A. Cars are on fire, one dude was crushed in his car by another car on top. Someone runs by on fire, just general chaos. Story then flashes back to early that morning and introduces the main cast. We have the FBI agent (who I think is Joesph Fiennes, as IMBD does not list the cast yet) who is a recovering alcoholic, his wife the surgeon, and their precious little daughter. FBI agent’s partner is John Cho (Sulu!) who never comes off as a serious federal agent. There is another doctor who is contemplating suicide at a pier and the FBI agent’s AA sponsor who is grieving a daughter killed in Afghanistan. The show follows the characters through a usual day until everyone (in the world, as we find out) blacks out for two minutes and seventeen seconds. Scores die around the world because planes crash, cars crash, patients die in surgery, and so on. The remainder of the pilot is spent establishing this flash forward (they actually use the phrase as dialogue). More supporting characters are introduced, the only one I recognized being Courtney B. Vance from Law & Order. Characters convene and discover they all saw vision set six months in the future. This is the hook of the show, the over-all mystery of what caused the flash forward and why people’s lives changed. One character saw nothing, which may mean death, while others witnessed more mundane glimpses. The pilot ends with a mysterious figure that did not blackout and thus another layer of mystery is added. What I liked: The pilot wasted little time setting up the plot. The glimpses shown were interesting and gave good hooks to keep watching. Acting was fine, no stand-outs in either good or badness. What I disliked: Suffered from a little too much repeated exposition. There was annoying slow-motion shots of a character running through L.A. that made me laugh. Being that people only flashed six months in the future, it feels the show will either be rushed or drawn out too long. Final thoughts: I’ll watch the next episode in the Fall, but I’m not anxiously awaiting it. I would be much more interested in a mini-series. People will want to compare this to Lost and both pilots felt similar, though Lost was more polished and interesting. If you run this, call me Jeremy.
For five years, everybody’s looking for the next “Lost.” The only one who's found it so far is "Lost" creator J.J. Abrams, whose "Fringe" is the season's top-rated new series. NBC just greenlit to series the post-apocalyptic “Day One” and “Flash Forward” is said to be a lock for ABC’s fall schedule, to be announced 10 days in the future.
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Readers Talkback

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  • May 9, 2009, 6:35 p.m. CST

    First?

    by Mutilator

  • May 9, 2009, 6:37 p.m. CST

    The best part of the novel

    by zacdilone

    is the determinism vs. free will debate. Sounds like that's going to be abandoned, which may be a good thing since apparently that's what "Lost" is all about (I think).

  • May 9, 2009, 6:54 p.m. CST

    This show sounds pretty fucking lame!!

    by bryan007

    especially now that they are only seeing six months into thier futre now. Thats pretty much the plot of season 1 of heroes

  • May 9, 2009, 7 p.m. CST

    Wouldn't Watch this if it were Called FLASH TITS

    by JaggerJones

    Okay, maybe I would.

  • May 9, 2009, 7:04 p.m. CST

    why 6 months

    by Bloo

    it seems like it limits the shelf life how many seasons can you streatch out a 6 month flashforward unless they do it again...I like the premise, I like the actors, I'll check it out

  • May 9, 2009, 7:09 p.m. CST

    Why must we sully this weekend of Star Trek's resurrection

    by themikejonas

    With news about the guy who was largely responsible for running it into the ground?

  • May 9, 2009, 7:12 p.m. CST

    die Brannon Braga die

    by Browncoat_Jedi

    Somebody had to say it.

  • May 9, 2009, 7:22 p.m. CST

    6 Months?

    by fiester

    The book synopsis says they flashed ahead 21 years. That's a big alteration.

  • May 9, 2009, 7:25 p.m. CST

    Sounds lame

    by Crooooooow

    Only being 6 monthes forward and all. With the original concept you could deal with wars, terrorist attacks, diseases etc. Like what if a guy flashed into the future and caught some weird disease that's popped up there only to somehow bring it back with him... With six monthes it'll be like 'Oh I'm getting a really high phone bill. Bummer.'

  • May 9, 2009, 7:51 p.m. CST

    Mysterious Figure (spoiler if you haven't read the book))

    by thalvar

    In the book there is no mysterious figure that doesn't blackout. Actually, people don't black-ou; they all experience 2.17min of their future (21 years into the future). There's a guy, though, who didn't have a vision of his future, therefore doesn't quite get what everybody is talking about. He just blackouts for 2.17min. When he investigates, he finds out that he will be dead by that time (in 21 years). Throughout the book, he tries to find out who killed him, when was he killed, and tries to find a way to stop his murder. Maybe the mysterious figure in the pilot is this character who doesn't experience any visions. The book is awesome, btw. Read it in one sitting.

  • May 9, 2009, 8:10 p.m. CST

    6 months = WOLFMAN!!!!!!

    by alice 13

    i cant wait.

  • May 9, 2009, 8:26 p.m. CST

    Bah! They ruined it.

    by wintocha67

    The entire book was about the people who ran the experiment that caused the accident. And six months is not how far in the future these people saw. I guess they didn't want to pay for aging makeup or FX? It could've been epic, now the accident is a mystery? It was caused by an experiment with the hadrion super collider in France going wrong due to particles from an interstellar event.

  • May 9, 2009, 8:38 p.m. CST

    Read the book...

    by WIBoomer1

    ...about 8 years ago. I thought it was an interesting concept, but didn't like it so much. Have to agree that only going 6 months in the future really doesn't set up anything. Maybe Braga realizes his show will be cancelled by then...

  • May 9, 2009, 9:20 p.m. CST

    Didn't like Braga's Trek stuff, but I liked Threshold...

    by KazamaSmokers

    I'll give this a shot, but I'm not real hopeful.

  • May 9, 2009, 9:46 p.m. CST

    According to Variety it's been picked up

    by paulrichard

    http://tinyurl.com/oyo2hs

  • May 9, 2009, 9:46 p.m. CST

    Carla Gugino?

    by Dradis Contact

    Carla Gugino or gtfo

  • May 9, 2009, 10:11 p.m. CST

    I liked THRESHOLD a lot

    by Mockingbird Girl

    Oh, sure, it was rough in the beginning, but it had a great cast, and was cancelled just as it was hitting its stride. :-(

  • May 9, 2009, 10:58 p.m. CST

    Six months makes better sense for TV

    by Mazzle

    A smaller time frame is better suited to episodic TV. The characters can learn concrete things that will have immediate impact and can be resolved in an episode or two. You could tell a far greater variety of stories. <p>Things 21 in the years in the future would be so disconnected from your current life that it would be hard to make a coherent story that could be explained and resolved in an hour. Knowing you'll be dead in six months is far easier to use in a story than knowing you'll be dead in 21 years.

  • May 9, 2009, 11:22 p.m. CST

    6 months isn't bad at all

    by yodaismyhomie

    Some thoughts here: -as previously said, 21 years is very disconnected from reality...it works well for sci fi fans reading a book, but a general TV audience won't be pulled in. -6 months can stretch out for quite a while. How many months were the losties on the island in the first 3 seasons? It can be carried out well if there are good, compelling stories -6 months can still be a big thing. Imagine if you were to flash forward 6 months on September 10, 2001. Suddenly America has been attacked by terrorists and are at war in Afghanistan, Bush's ratings are at his highest level, we think Saddam has WMDs, and life is crazy. That can totally work for this too. It doesn't have to go 21 years. -the one short fall of the 6 month period is that if they aren't careful with the stories, they could easily run out of time. -then again, it could be nice if there was a show that would only last for 2 seasons...it could have a proper beginning and end and not have to jump the shark...or move the island...haha. That's my new phrase when a show screws up...they moved the island

  • May 9, 2009, 11:56 p.m. CST

    The opening sounds a heck of a lot like TIMEQUAKE.

    by SnapT

    Not to be confused with SHATNERQUAKE.

  • May 10, 2009, 12:37 a.m. CST

    Based on the concept,not the book...

    by skullivan

    From that write up it's clear that they took the Flashforward concept from the novel and created a completely different story. None of the characters or situations seem even remotely related to the book. Also, in the book the Flashforward lasted for 1:43 seconds I believe, not 2:17 seconds (not that that matters much). Making the cause of the Flashforward a mystery works much better for a weekly TV series though and also allows for the possibility of more Flashes in later episodes. I'm glad the show has nothing to do with the story of the novel because then there'll be no criticism over every little thing that was changed. More importantly, it'll be just as enjoyable for people who already read the book and know what happened.

  • May 10, 2009, 3:21 a.m. CST

    Prediction

    by Crashbang

    I understand why they dropped 21 years for 6 months - means they can get there within a season and not have to build a bunch of 'future' sets that may look extremely hokey/cheap and nasty. My prediction is they will get to the 6 months point by the end of season 1 and if season 2 happens we will get another flash forward. It's a bit of a risk with both Heroes and Lost playing with the idea (lost more effectively then the lamentable heroes post s1 arcs). They will need some other hooks to get people watching.

  • May 10, 2009, 3:22 a.m. CST

    Same as Heroes

    by There Are Twelve Models

    Every season of Heroes involves an apocalyptic vision of the near future which the cast works to prevent. This concept sounds identical. If this show, unlike Heroes, has consistent writing it would be worth a look... but given the pathetic and disappointing non-accomplishments of both showrunners I can safely predict we're looking at another borefest. <P>And here's a hint to the network brain-munchers looking for the next Lost: After every breakout hit you guys greenlight a slew of gimpy copycats. But you don't really want to be the copycat. You want to be the breakout. So quit it with all the fucking retreads! All this contempo-pastel faux scifi with fucking weak serial storytelling is the worst TV trend of the last 5 years. If you can't tell a serialized story with conviction don't bother. Most of these show concepts wouldn't make even one episode of The Twilight Zone.

  • May 10, 2009, 4:30 a.m. CST

    Predestinationism

    by Melvin_Pelvis

    just doesn't work for me

  • May 10, 2009, 7:19 a.m. CST

    Dunno if I'll watch

    by scnjedi

    Threshold was great but this sounds kinda lame. I'll probably read the book first, then decide from that.

  • May 10, 2009, 7:28 a.m. CST

    There Are Twelve Models, Well stated.

    by EvilWizardGlick

    TV tired and unimaginative. Same with most movies.

  • May 10, 2009, 9:41 a.m. CST

    Make a Y the last man tv show

    by Miyamoto_Musashi

    Hell there are a lot of interesting stories in Vertigo series, start adapting, Y the last man was brilliant and would make great TV,also follow the cable/ BBC route and a tv season should be between 12 and 15 eps

  • May 10, 2009, 10:05 a.m. CST

    What abc doesn't get about Lost

    by ThrowMeTheIdol

    Is how much the tropical setting added to its appeal. I haven't seen abc try another show since 2004 that is set in Hawaii, you'd think they would have by now. It might not work but why not try?

  • May 10, 2009, 10:16 a.m. CST

    Just can't watch Braga or Berman stuff

    by FrodoFraggins

    after what they did to Trek. Maybe they'll make something of quality eventually and I'll give in.

  • May 10, 2009, 11:43 a.m. CST

    yodaismyhomie

    by Bruce Thomas Wayne

    "...to jump the shark...or move the island...haha. That's my new phrase when a show screws up...they moved the island" Wow. Did you think of that on your own?

  • May 10, 2009, 1:07 p.m. CST

    Browncoat_Jedi

    by Rhuragh

    Nope, they didn't die, but Brannon had an affair with Braga's wife (or was it the other way around?).

  • May 10, 2009, 4:36 p.m. CST

    I thought nuked the fridge

    by paulrichard

    replaced jumped the shark.

  • May 11, 2009, 10:30 a.m. CST

    Just a whole lot of suck

    by coyvance

    Really good book being raped by Braga. What the pilot sounds like is nothing like the book. Thebook wasa great SPOILER! detective story too about first one person trying to find out how he was murdered but also brings people around the world together a piece the puzzle together of thier future. using the interwebs, people connect because they shared the same vision of the future. One character sees himself with a woman other than the one he plans on marrying.

  • May 11, 2009, 11:33 a.m. CST

    Saw this already...

    by Savannah1

    Got a DVD from a friend. The pilot doesn't completely suck, but if ABC thinks this is their next Lost, they're smoking something. The characters are dull and the situation isn't going to keep people interested for more than a few episodes. This is going to open big (curiosity factor) and then plunge. 13 episodes at the most -- followed by merciful cancellation.

  • May 11, 2009, 2:19 p.m. CST

    Sounds like Journeyman and Heroes

    by MGTHEDJ

    Braga doesn't have an original thought in his head. The guy built his rep stealing from late 1960's-1970's Doctor Who episodes. Now he steals again.<p>The infidelity story involves Braga and Jeri Ryan. He was the boyfriend at the time of the scandal involving Jeri's ex-husband, who was running on the GOP ticket for U.S. Senator from Illinois. On the Dem side was a young state senator named Barack Obama. The scandal drove Ryan out of the race, thus Obama won the senate seat, and later the Presidency.<p>Oh, one last thing, {{{{{MAJOR SPOILER}}}}}}} J.J. Abrams kicked Braga's ass with Star Trek. Fuck the "reset button", we don't need no "reset button."{{{{{END SPOILER}}}}}-------later-------m

  • May 11, 2009, 3:29 p.m. CST

    Will they hire J.J. Abrams to fix Berman & Braga's bullshit?

    by SpyGuy

    Why not? It worked for STAR TREK.

  • May 11, 2009, 6:41 p.m. CST

    Obama became president because of.......

    by jonsnow

    Braaagaaa, Braaaagaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa