Lack of character depth and slow story ark puts FlashFoward outside the top league of US television imports.
Prime Time British Television is awash with American imports, it has been for years. Think, Lost,Ugly Betty, 24, Desperate Housewives, True Blood and any one of the various incarnations of CSI, be it Miami or New York. I doubt many people would be as eager to tune into CSI Middlesbrough. Not everything American is good though, I for one can’t sit through five minutes of seeing the ginger crime scene investigator’s sunglasses going on and off and his affliction to sentences consisting of more than seven words.
Despite being broadcast on the same channel as the embarrassingly trashy, Live From Studio Five, FlashForward certainly comes with top billing. Labelled as the ‘next Lost’, it promised to be addictive viewing. Lets just hope it’s full of the suspenseful, intriguing and compelling characteristics of Lost, rather than the fact that not a single question being answered in five series makes me want to eat my own face.
So far, I’m not convinced.
The premise, if you haven’t been watching, is as follows. Seemingly every person on the planet falls unconscious for two minutes and seventeen seconds, seeing a vision of themselves 6months into the future at 10pm. That’s when but, How? Why? What? And Who god damn it, who??!!With this sudden unconsciousness, thousands across the world die in plane crashes and road accidents.
Leading man Joseph Fiennes plays FBI agent Benford, leader the investigation into the mysterious global incident after he sees a vision of himself in that role. The recovering alcoholic also sees himself drinking again, while his wife, (Sonya Walger
) who had promised to leave if he got back on the wagon, has a vision of herself with another man.
The idea is good and so far, interesting questions about destiny have been asked, although I’m not sure it is box office viewing just yet. The dialogue is very plot driven and Fiennes’ character so stiff, his relationship with his wife resembles one you might have with lets say, a plate. Apathetic at best. For this reason it is difficult to sympathise with his possible future marriage problems in the same way audiences found themselves involved in the Jack, Kate, Sawyer love triangle of Lost.
Piecing together clues from Benford’s premonition, the investigation has revealed that at least two people were conscious during the mass blackout. Suspect 0 and D Gibbons.
This week the search has a new lead, with an ex Nazi inmate in a German prison, revealing information about a group of crows (apparently a group is called a Murder of crows) dead on the ground after he awoke from his own unconsciousness. Benton then has a eureka moment during his department’s wake for colleagues lost in the devastation caused by the blackout. Benton asks FBI colleague Janis to find the worlds population of crows and as that data is of prime importance to most if not all FBI investigations, it is only few clicks before it is shown that there was a similar drop in numbers on the day of the blackout and in 1991. Obviously as Janis has worked for the FBI for a number of years, conversations about crows and population levels are so frequent that she’s unable to realise that this might be an important one. Thankfully Benton is on hand to spell it out and ask if the blackout has happened before?
The end scene is in Somalia, showing a Murder of crows (that is so confusing) falling unconscious near a tower emitting some kind of gas or smoke suggesting the mass blackout phenomenon has been caused by foul means.
At the moment, while not demanding my attention in the same way other hit shows such as Lost, 24 or True Blood have done, Flash Forward is enjoyable weekly viewing but until the characters are made remotely interesting it can’t be put alongside these other US hits.