Monday, November 22, 2010

Movie Queue Monday: "Flash Forward"

As the cold bug claimed its latest victim (me) this weekend, I relaxed and finished the last of this short-lived, but entertaining show. The premise of "Flash Forward" is that the whole world blacks out for two minutes, 17 seconds on October 6, 2009. Planes crash, buildings explode, and mayhem ensues while the world's population falls unconscious (it also makes for an action-packed pilot reminiscent of "Lost"), but the really interesting factor in this mysterious event is that while asleep, most people have a vision or "flash forward" of the future.

The show's main focus is on a group of FBI agents, lead by Mark Benford (Joseph Fiennes), who are investigating "the blackout".  The main characters grapple with the complex moral and ethical issues arising from knowledge  of the future and Benford even references how their situation is like Sophocles' tragic hero Oedipus: in trying to avoid the future they have been shown, they may be unknowingly setting it into motion.  The themes of fate vs. free will add complexity and depth that many "cop dramas" lack and the first few episodes have a creepy and mysterious undertone that I enjoyed.

That being said, I can see why ABC canned "Flash Forward" after only one season. First, the plot itself lends itself to more of a mini series rather than a multi-season show. How many blackouts could you have before it just gets old? There was also (in my opinion) a rather silly explanation for the blackout and less than stellar character development for some of the show's many characters.

Even though I  applaud the show's attempt to bring great moral questions to the fore,  the writers did a poor job of addressing or attempting to answer these questions, leaving a strong sense of moral ambiguity to serious issues such as marital infidelity, suicide, and murder.

Overall, I would say I recommend this entertaining and unusual show. Four stars.

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