Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Pilot Review: The Event

The Event (NBC)
Premiered September 20 at 9pm


What can I say? I’m a sucker for sci-fi. Even if I was a little bored during the first fifty-five minutes of this pilot due to the extensive flashbacks to snorkeling and other seemingly inconsequential adventures, the sight of a plane disappearing into a wormhole just as it’s about to take out the President’s Florida retreat got me hooked. After all of the extensive promotion, including a postponed Times Square screening I had planned to attend and NBC’s own incessant reminders of the premiere during the broadcast of tonight’s episode of “Chuck,” I had imagined this would be a letdown. Speaking about all but the last five minutes, it’s sort of true, considering the lack of adherence to any coherent chronology due to the continuous flashbacks to a given number of days earlier to fill in all the blanks and frequent repeating of scenes to show an enhanced perspective. By themselves, none of the plotlines are all that interesting, and those that are intended to be fascinating are too shrouded in mystery and obnoxiously vague talk (I’m looking at you, prison in Alaska). I hadn’t anticipated some of the episode’s violence, even if we don’t have the full picture of what actually transpired yet: I knew that Jason Ritter’s girlfriend was going to be kidnapped, but I didn’t realize that her younger sister might be as well and that the mother would be shot to death in her own home (as appears to have happened). The link between Ritter’s character and his future father-in-law, played by Scott Patterson, was interesting, and the complete erasure of Ritter’s time on the cruise was pretty trippy. The show does have some overly technobabble-oriented dialogue, especially when it comes to the guy who tried to speed ahead of a plane in an SUV, Simon Lee. I don’t love the line “they saved us” from Laura Innes’ Sophia at the end as much as the opening up of the wormhole, and I’m certainly intrigued but don’t have too much faith in the show to provide too much satisfaction for a while.

How will it work as a series? Many questions have been raised in this pilot, and now it’s up to the show to carefully address a few of them at a time in order to keep viewers both happy and hungry for more. It’s going to be a delicate balance, and I have a feeling that it won’t be executed so smoothly. Its fulfilling factor will also be how long it lasts and how much of its story it can tell before vanishing from the airwaves at some inevitable date in the future.
How long will it last? It seems that all of the advertising paid off and this show may in fact have a bright future ahead of it (though not for the characters, it seems). Beware, however, of the fate that befell “Flash Forward,” which got too convoluted after a promising premiere and then ended after only one season. I predict a similar future for this show – it feels like a one-season premise to me.

Pilot grade: C+

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Your comments hit the nail on the hit. The last five minutes were great, but the preceding 55 (or 40 with commercials) were ok. Just enough to keep me watching. Hope this is not "flashfoward 2.0".
Keep writing,