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Hercules Has Seen ABC’s
Sci-Fi Pilot FLASHFORWARD!!

I am – Hercules!!

At Wednesday press screenings of the ABC sci-fi drama pilot “FlashForward” held in Los Angeles and New York, we were warned that the pilot was not the final version and not to be reviewed. But Time TV critic James Poniewozik offered his opinion anyway:
… I wish more attention had been paid to fleshing out the characters and generally bringing a fresher voice to the dialogue. (Someday, I want someone to bring a cool high-concept like this to a producer like Jason Katims, who can play it out realistically through rounded characters, as he did on Roswell.) …
I agree completely on that point, as well as this one:
… Do I Want to Watch Another Episode? Absolutely. But please work on making these folks as appealing conscious as they are unconscious.
You can find all of Time’s “not-review” here. We were also warned not to reveal certain plot points, but AICN spy “Jeremy” already revealed the most important one in his May 9 review (posted 10 days before ABC formally announced “FlashForward” would join its autumn schedule). Gleaned from the subsequent Wednesday Q&A with showrunners David Goyer (“Threshold,” “Blade: Trinity,” “Blade: The Series”) and Marc Guggenheim (“Brothers & Sisters,” “Eli Stone”): * “Threshold” co-creator Brannon Braga, who co-wrote the “FlashForward” pilot with Goyer, will not be working on the “FlashForward” series anytime in the near future; he was unable to free himself of his obligations as writer-producer on Fox’s “24.” * Insufferable “Family Guy” mastermind and Hulu pitchman Seth MacFarlane, who cameos in the pilot as an FBI man, will return in a recurring role. MacFarlane, who seems to use in “FlashForward” the same voice he uses to play the dog in “Family Guy,” lobbied Goyer for a role in the project after he read the script. * “ER” vet Alex Kingston, who plays a Scotland Yard agent in the pilot, will also recur. * Goyer did not deny that “Lost” vet Dominic Monaghan would be joining “FlashForward.” “You know I can’t answer that,” were his words. * Goyer says the series will need at least three seasons to find a satisfying conclusion, but could work for as long as seven seasons. * Goyer says the first season will be divided into "three acts." * The date everyone flashes forward to, April 29, 2010, is a Thursday, and a key new episode of “FlashForward” is currently slated to air on that date. That episode will not be the season finale. * In the flashforward experienced by the Joe Fiennes' FBI character, the Fiennes character is seen investigating the cause of the flashforward. But even though everyone learns the exact future date and time of the two-plus minutes their memories will capture, no one in the flashforwards makes an effort to surround themselves with ballscores and stock market charts. So apparently the flashforward event paradoxically changes the timing of -- or eliminates -- the flashforward. Or something. “FlashForward” replaces “Ugly Betty” on Thursdays at 8 p.m. (opposite “Survivor,” “SNL Thursdays,” “Bones” and “The Vampire Diaries”) starting Sept. 24.
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Readers Talkback
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  • June 17, 2009, 6:54 p.m. CST

    bring back flash gordon!

    by punto

    I liked it

  • June 17, 2009, 6:57 p.m. CST

    I Dont Understand Your Point

    by Crow3711

    With the paradox line at the end of this piece. If they are just witnessing the future, not controlling it, it wouldnt make any sense for someone to have surrounded themselves with stock market results, if that is what you are saying. As I understand it, they just experience the two minutes, like a dream or something, not actually in control of it. That might open the possibility for someone to change what happens when they actually get that date, because they know how two minutes of that day should play out (maybe they will lock themselves in a basement) but that doesnt mean they have the ability to control themselves in the flashforward, right? And your sentence about experiencing the flashforward erases it doesnt make much sense or seem coherant to me, so maybe revise it? <p> Anyway, I'm still really looking forward to this. But seriously, answer back and tell me if they have control of their flashforward.

  • June 17, 2009, 7:02 p.m. CST

    I'm guessing

    by Hercules

    they will be able to alter their destinies. I further guess that the series could play out like a weekly version of "A Christmas Carol."

  • June 17, 2009, 7:06 p.m. CST

    does macfarlane shoehorn his politics into the ep?

    by mrgreentheplant

    as he does in every episode of family guy these days?

  • June 17, 2009, 7:08 p.m. CST

    of course they can surround themselves

    by punto

    with scores and stock market results. think about it, the "present" you is not in control, but six months from now, you _will_ be in control, and you'll know that you from 6 months ago will be watching. So you get the numbers ready so that past you (who already saw them 6 months ago) can get them and become rich.

  • June 17, 2009, 7:12 p.m. CST

    more likely they're all gazing into alternate timelines.

    by Hercules

    They gather up their sports and financial pages and stare at them and nothing happens. At best, an "alternative universe you" gets rich, but not you.

  • June 17, 2009, 7:18 p.m. CST

    punto

    by Crow3711

    I guess I never added that extra layer to the proceedings, because just like in Lost, it seems like their has to be a steady timeline that wouldn't allow for that kind of "instant change" where doing the act in the future changes the past which in turn changes the future instantly. Also, that leads to the possibility of the future changing the past and the past changing the future endlessly until the universe implodes, chick or the egg style. That would be a little too much to film, IMO. That's when you ruin your show, a la Heroes. Things happen once and thats how they happen. If you see it six months ago, maybe you can change it, but it still only happens once, and I don't think that would change the vision you saw six months ago. That was a noodle of a thought.

  • June 17, 2009, 7:19 p.m. CST

    it's not supposed to happen in the future

    by punto

    at the time you look at the page in the future, you're already rich (you became rich 6 months ago when you got to see the future). Or you decide to sell the stock you bought 6 months ago at a profit, whatever.

  • June 17, 2009, 7:22 p.m. CST

    Hmmmm.

    by boomer70

    So everyone only flashes forward (or is it flash forwards)to April of next year? In the book, it was 20 years into the future. I suppose that will work out nicely if the series only lasts one season.

  • June 17, 2009, 7:46 p.m. CST

    .....?

    by Crow3711

    but we still haven't really answered my initial question which is, are they simply seeing the future in their minds while their unconscious bodies just collapse, or literally experiencing it and controlling the two-minutes before they warp back to the present? It's an important difference.

  • June 17, 2009, 7:53 p.m. CST

    Crow3711

    by Hercules

    they are just experiencing the future as far as I could tell. No one is depicted in the pilot exerting Malkovich-like control.

  • June 17, 2009, 8:05 p.m. CST

    Hope McFarlane goes in to

    by drewlicious

    Hellboy II mode. That was some good stuff. Plus "Flash Forward" sounds like a concept that could use some humor.

  • June 17, 2009, 8:08 p.m. CST

    Bragabomination busy on something ELSE...

    by chromedome

    ...is GOOD news for Flashforward (and bad news for whatever else he is working on)

  • June 17, 2009, 8:14 p.m. CST

    In the book...

    by jeffty

    ...they CAN change the future they see in their visions. One character learns he will never achieve success in his chosen field -- he's stuck as a waiter or something -- and commits suicide, changing the future.

  • June 17, 2009, 8:26 p.m. CST

    So how closely does this follow the book?

    by Toby O Notoby

    Some? Not at all? In basic plot only? Just wondering as it's going to be tough to hold the suspense if your average joe can walk down to Borders and see what happens next...

  • June 17, 2009, 8:58 p.m. CST

    Fuck Time Travel.

    by Steve Young

    If Herc's "questions" are any indication, this show will generate nothing more than another season's worth of inane, over-thought internet message board discussions about time paradoxes. Crap.

  • June 17, 2009, 9 p.m. CST

    Show I'm looking the most Forward too...

    by nalapou

    since Lost's pilot. Can't wait. I was pumped for Heroes premiere too but this just sounds sooo cool. Agree that Katim's rocked Roswell as well.

  • June 17, 2009, 9:13 p.m. CST

    Can't Wait for Them to Reveal ...

    by ThusSpakeSpymunk

    ... that the time-travel is caused by God. Just like QUANTUM LEAP, JOURNEYMAN and now, regrettably, LOST. **** you, those who hate sci-fi so much they'd rather see GOD be the cause than antyhing ... you know, sci-fi-ey.

  • June 17, 2009, 9:22 p.m. CST

    If you don't see stock market/sports scores ...

    by chrth

    Then maybe it's because you can't change the future (cf. 12 Monkeys)? Although how that would work as a series-long premise is beyond me.

  • June 17, 2009, 9:26 p.m. CST

    I was going to say something about Braga

    by chrth

    But you know, 24 last season was pretty damn good so I'm loathe to lay too much criticism at his feet. Perhaps the abortion of a series finale of Enterprise was also Berman's fault.

  • June 17, 2009, 9:28 p.m. CST

    I'll do it

    by Dradis Contact

    with Braga not participating, there is renewed hope for the rest of season one

  • June 17, 2009, 9:58 p.m. CST

    BRAGAbomination was one of the low tier guys on 24

    by chromedome

    probably paid someone to have his name on it.<p>4-5 other "producers" probably just assigned to keep him away from the set and the writers.

  • June 17, 2009, 10:10 p.m. CST

    Thanks Herc

    by Crow3711

  • June 17, 2009, 10:33 p.m. CST

    April 29th 1992, there was a riot on the street...

    by Heckles

    ...tell me where were you...<br><br>And that is MacFarlene's real voice.

  • June 17, 2009, 10:52 p.m. CST

    You had me at "Alex Kingston"

    by DonnaDarko

    Kingston is one of those actors that improves everything she's in.

  • June 17, 2009, 10:54 p.m. CST

    I've Flash Forwarded into some crazy alternate reality

    by m00kiedood

    In which people defend the quality of 24 and so minimize Braga's involvement, as opposed to shaking their heads at the crapfest that the show became and pointing their bony, sun starved fingers at Braga in accusation.<p>

  • June 17, 2009, 11:12 p.m. CST

    Predestination Plot Lines

    by Melvin_Pelvis

    even easier to do than prequels

  • June 17, 2009, 11:48 p.m. CST

    oh great, more time travel to argue about

    by CherryValance

    phfft

  • June 18, 2009, 12:53 a.m. CST

    honestly

    by ciroslive

    it sounds like everyone is trying to replicate LOST, ABC included...

  • June 18, 2009, 1:42 a.m. CST

    "whatever's gonna happen, happens"

    by prbt

    That's the only way this show is going to be interesting. Changing the future, messing around with 'timelines', is BORING, TV shows have proved this time (hah) and again.<p>Lost gets away with it by dint of being very very good, but I think most people would agree that Lost's time-travel element has been one of the least successful parts of the mystery.

  • June 18, 2009, 2:12 a.m. CST

    So that means

    by _Palmer_Eldritch

    no Charlie on Lost after all? Tanks for all that bogus "speculation" a few weeks ago, then. <p> I do prefer it this way though. If anyone, they should bring back Eco to Lost (not going to happen, I know). ...or maybe Kelvin! Remember him? He rocked.

  • June 18, 2009, 2:26 a.m. CST

    Kristin @ E! sez about Charlie:

    by prbt

    "Even though Dominic Monaghan is said to be appearing on another ABC show next season, reportedly Flash Forward, we're just paranoid enough to think it might be a double cross, and that D.M. might actually be heading back to Lost after (or in addition to) whatever else he does on the Alphabet Net. Why do we think this? Because very reliable sources now tell us that there is "mutual interest" (between the Lost PTB and Dominic Monaghan) in bringing about a season-six return visit by Charlie Pace. Look for official developments in the next week or two."

  • June 18, 2009, 2:26 a.m. CST

    Seth Macfarlane

    by JonJonB

    You know that's his normal voice, he wasn't just putting on a "Brian" for this show, right? That WAS some ham-fisted attempt at a joke you made, right??

  • no doubt. ABC actually gives series the chance to prosper and gain an audience. <p>this sounds like the best show, coming to our screens. don't screw up ABC!... and you know you'll what</P>

  • June 18, 2009, 3:12 a.m. CST

    What if the economy collapsed?

    by gotilk

    And only a few people knew the "real reason" it happened?

  • June 18, 2009, 3:31 a.m. CST

    Seth McFarlane's 'dog voice'

    by smackfu

    is his normal speaking voice. And the reason why Lost gets away with altering the timelines, is they don't...time and time again they've showed us that every attempt to change the future is revealed to be simply part of the original inescapable timeline.

  • June 18, 2009, 4:28 a.m. CST

    lost clones are the new tarantino clones

    by ironic_name

  • June 18, 2009, 4:49 a.m. CST

    Threshold was underrated

    by newc0253

    the first few eps were pretty aenemic, but it built into compelling stuff. also it had Carla Gugino.

  • June 18, 2009, 5:10 a.m. CST

    Watching the syndicated and S-F reruns of Lost,

    by The McPoyle Clan

    it's funny to see how far it has come...and drifted. Not to say it's bad, but the "master plan" had a lot of empty pages. Who ever thought that the DI would turn out to be a bunch of stupid hippies that served to drag down S6?

  • June 18, 2009, 5:58 a.m. CST

    Ausiello on Charlie and Lost (also 24)

    by chrth

    Question: That Dominic Monaghan promo decoy thing really disappointed me. Is there any chance Charlie might be coming back to Lost as well, even for a couple of episodes? --Elle Ausiello: I can confirm what my Frenemy reported on Monday: There is interest on both sides.<p> Question: If Chris Diamantopoulos is playing Pres. Taylor's new Chief of Staff on 24 next season, then where does that leave Bob Gunton (a.k.a. Ethan Kanin)? --Betty Ausiello: Don't worry about Ethan. He fares very well in the transition. (ChrTh Note: I'm taking this to mean he's either First Husband or, less likely, Vice President)

  • June 18, 2009, 7:30 a.m. CST

    I just had a Flash Forward...

    by Kid Z

    ...to six weeks after this thing premieres, when the show is unceremoniously dumped from the schedule.

  • June 18, 2009, 7:34 a.m. CST

    ThusSpakeSpymunk

    by rfid

    Lost has not said the time travel was caused by god. That's just extrapolation on your part. In any case, even if that turns out to be the case, God has been a part of the series for several seasons. "God love you as he loved Jacob"--season 3, remember? Then there's Desmond's monastery, the whole good-vs.-evil concept, judgment of one's life, the reincarnation of the dead, Eko and his brother being priests, and so forth. God and religion have been part of Lost since the beginning.

  • June 18, 2009, 7:52 a.m. CST

    rfid: I was going to respond similarly re: quantum leap

    by chrth

    As Sam and Al were convinced of the divine influence late in the 1st season. But I don't think ThusSpakeSpymunk meant it to criticize a late-game reveal of 'God did it', just that 'God did it' was the central reason.<p> On the plus side, he should like The Time Traveller's Wife then.

  • June 18, 2009, 8:04 a.m. CST

    McFarlane, insufferable douche...

    by Kid Z

    ...but did pretty damn well in Hellboy 2.

  • June 18, 2009, 8:25 a.m. CST

    Am confused (moreso)

    by Yeti

    Thought that the lpot was everyone on earth loses concisousness for just over two minutes (with disasterous results in some circumstances) and the whole concept of the show was what went on during those missing minutes?

  • June 18, 2009, 9:29 a.m. CST

    Hopefully this "The Nine" won't go into the bank...

    by Mindtrip

    I think I I'll wait for the first half of the season to run uninteruppted or moved to another night before investing any time in this series.

  • June 18, 2009, 9:34 a.m. CST

    I hope Seth MacFarlane gets gruesomely killed off at some point

    by Nasty In The Pasty

    That'd get me interested in watching this.

  • June 18, 2009, 9:38 a.m. CST

    FISSION MAILED

    by turketron_2

    SNAKE!!! YOU'VE CREATED A TIME PARADOX!!!! SNAKE!! SNAAAAAAAAAAKE!!!!

  • June 18, 2009, 9:39 a.m. CST

    So, who divided by zero?

    by turketron_2

    Oh shi---

  • June 18, 2009, 10:06 a.m. CST

    Punto......FLASH GORDON 2007????????

    by Hint_of_Smegma

    You liked it? You are never, ever, ever to be allowed to hold an opinion ever again, because you obviously aren't responsible enough. Alex Raymond's work, the serials, the filmation series, the books, the 1980 movie are all superb and have entertained people for over 75 years...and then that douchebag Peter Hume comes along, states in the press before the show comes out he found the original material stupid, is 'reworking' the material and then throws that steaming turd at the screen???? He ought to be still hanging by his balls from the lampost outside Skiffy's headquarters. Oh, and expect Flashforward to be cancelled after the first season.

  • June 18, 2009, 10:32 a.m. CST

    Can we have a moritorium on Time Travel...

    by 300Zartans

    being used in TV and Film? It's been done to death.

  • June 18, 2009, 11:28 a.m. CST

    American Television Format

    by ShallowDepths

    When will this ever be revised? The age old model of milking series for all their worth as opposed to creating an artistic vision is tired, tried and true. Other countries are practicing fine methods of instituting a show with a definitive time period. Now that LOST has pulled it off, when will we start seeing more networks that want to have "hit" quality shows with a point, and less filler? (Not that LOST hasn't had filler, but still substantially less than most)

  • June 18, 2009, 12:46 p.m. CST

    ShallowDepths: They tried with Harper's Island

    by chrth

    But nobody watched

  • June 18, 2009, 1:28 p.m. CST

    Did Seth piss you off, or what?

    by V'Shael

    That's his NORMAL voice, Herc. He just happens to use several voices on the Family Guy show, and Brians voice is his regular one.

  • June 18, 2009, 2:37 p.m. CST

    1 year vs. 20 years...

    by D_T

    That's the most interesting change - I suspect there was some production cost concerns (now there's no speculation on designs for cars, cell phones, fashion), but it allows them to get to a point where it's "resolved", and if the show has better legs, they can have another "quantum event" and do another 2-3 years to that point. <p> This seems more interesting than the Moore/Virtuality show (which I really wanted to like).

  • June 18, 2009, 3:05 p.m. CST

    Brannon Braga destroys everything he touches

    by Browncoat_Jedi

    I have no hope for this series.

  • June 18, 2009, 4:25 p.m. CST

    No Robert Sawyer cameo?

    by tangcameo

    They're welcome to come up to Saskatoon and film one here. Heck, they could even film it at the university's particle collider since that's what sets off the flashforwards in the book. And NO that's not a spoiler.

  • June 18, 2009, 5:11 p.m. CST

    Braga hate

    by hst666

    I can understand it to a point, but when did he come on board in TNG? Because the first tow seasons of that show were fairly shitty and it was not until the third season, when Rodenberry was less involved that the show became good. Whoever was acting showrunner and producing them deserves a lot of praise.

  • June 18, 2009, 5:24 p.m. CST

    tangcameo

    by ElPaw

    It was actually the CERN collider in the book

  • June 18, 2009, 6:34 p.m. CST

    that's macfarlane's real voice...

    by CrashPanda

    he's not "doing" the brian(the dog) voice, that's how he actually sounds. it'd probably be hilarious if he did this role as peter.

  • June 19, 2009, 2:44 a.m. CST

    seth is shit

    by TheExterminator

    no thanks

  • June 19, 2009, 8:52 a.m. CST

    "Late Game Reveal"

    by ThusSpakeSpymunk

    It's a little of both. What frustrates me is that these shows create a mystery: "Who/what is causing the time-travel?" Tben, they set about offering "clues" about the cause - and then attribute it to God, which, by definition, is a plot element that can't be rationalized nor explained. It negates all effort to "solve" the mystery - "God did that." "Well, what about 'x'?" "God, did that, too." "What about 'y'?" "Magic wizard - er, God." "But what about that one thing from that one season?" "God." "And the thing that caused the thing that caused that thing in Season 5?" "God."

  • June 19, 2009, 10:28 a.m. CST

    seth the live action actor and lost

    by Bouncy X

    hmmm, i had no clue he had any plans to pursue that. i seem to be one of the few who likes the guy so i think its cool he's trying it out and its a reacurring role too? nice. as for Lost,didn't sawyer read this book early on in the series? because i'm sure i found out about its exixtance on this site through a Lost talkback.

  • June 19, 2009, 10:44 a.m. CST

    Nah, do the entire thing as Quagmire

    by terry1978

    I swear that speech he gave at that one university as Quagmire, totally straight, was hilarity, dawg.

  • June 19, 2009, 10:44 a.m. CST

    Nah, do the entire thing as Quagmire

    by terry1978

    I swear that speech he gave at that one university as Quagmire, totally straight, was hilarity, dawg.

  • June 19, 2009, 12:50 p.m. CST

    Hey, the young Sulu and Shakespeare are in it!

    by MrMysteryGuest

    John Cho and that Fiennes fellow!

  • June 19, 2009, 3:31 p.m. CST

    I knew that ElPaw

    by tangcameo

    My english grammar just aint that good.

  • June 20, 2009, 1:16 a.m. CST

    Herc you really hate Family Guy don't you?

    by MrClark

    Yet i seem to recall you love King of the Hill which is maybe the dumbest animated series in TV history.

  • June 20, 2009, 12:32 p.m. CST

    MrClark

    by lost.rules.

    Anyone with half a brain hates Family Guy. The whole show is aimed at children with ADD. The formula of "repeatedly toss hand-fulls of shit at the wall and see what sticks" for 30 minutes is only meant to appeal to the lowest common denominator.

  • June 20, 2009, 10:28 p.m. CST

    by studioki

    You know if you look at the simpons, and other shows, they usually devote the first third to a completely unrelated set piece that has no other purpose than to throw a bunch of random jokes together in a way that is completely dislocated from the plot. The only difference is that family guy spreads them out and starts them off by saying "you remember that time when" and shows like the Simpsons say things like "lets go to the science fiction convention where every single character in springfield will be". Every animated show I can think of spends a good portion of each episode sacrificing plot for random humor. Its just that family guy announces it when it happens. I honestly dont see the difference between family guy cut aways, and a completely pointless and unrelated B plot in another series. Neither further the main plot of the episode, and both exist for an excuse to get a certain joke or two out. South park doesnt do it that much, which is much to their credit, but the trade off is that they are usually one joke episodes. If the joke works, its brilliant(fish stick), if it doesnt, the whole episode is pretty annoying to watch (every other episode that half season). Anyway, watch what you want, I just saw that family guy episode with Stewie trying to insult Mathew Mcanahey (spelling..dont feel like looking it up) and it made me laugh hard enough to feel the need to actually attempt to defend family guy on this board.

  • June 21, 2009, 3:52 p.m. CST

    Leap

    by Don Lockwood

    Wasn't the leap forward a lot further ahead in the book? Are they gonna keep it going by having people flashforward multiple times? they reach the new point and then flash again?