LAT REVIEW: ‘FlashForward’ may end up ‘kind of great or pretty awful’

Sept. 24, 2009 | 8:44 p.m.

There’s no new network show that has me more intrigued than FlashForward, a drama with a slippery sci-fi premise and a series that ABC has circled (and heavily promoted) with an eye toward a “Lost“-style success. I missed a chance to see the pilot at the Disney D23 Expo so I will be watching it tonight just like everybody else — except for Robert Lloyd, the Los Angeles Times critic, that is. He wrote the review in today’s paper, here’s an excerpt… — Geoff Boucher

Every new television series bets against cancellation. But there is something unusually optimistic about launching a show whose premise is predicated upon a mystery that may not be explained until a specific, stated later date. In FlashForward,” which premieres tonight on ABC, every person in the whole wide world passes out for two minutes and 17 seconds, during which time they are transported into the future — to April 29, 2010, at 10 p.m. PST, to be exact — right around the time the first season of this show will be wrapping up, if all goes well.

Lloyd also writes…

As in “Lost,” fate is the main course here, raising questions endlessly restated across the eons of time-travel literature. If you know the future, or think you do, what do you, or can you, do about it? Do you inevitably, like Oedipus, fulfill the prophecy by the very act of trying to avoid it? Or is the future, as it is in Dickens — the script makes a significant passing reference to “A Christmas Carol” — unwritten? “Are these the shadows of the things that Will be,” Scrooge asked the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come, “or are they shadows of things that May be, only?”

Given the subject, it’s almost appropriate how unusually difficult it is to get a fix on the show. The pilot is melodramatically eventful, though the dialogue can sound phony. But the show could go either way — be kind of great or pretty awful, depending on what comes next, how the writers plan to explain this thing and whether we are going to have any fun on the way to the explanation. (The Robert J. Sawyer book on which the series is loosely based is probably not the place to look for clues.) It’s a decent but not brilliant beginning.

“Lost” worked early on by distracting the viewer with sex and scenery and a shameless indulgence in random eerie coincidence while the writers tried to work out what the show might actually be about. (There is a nice “Lost”-style moment here when Mark [played by Joseph Fiennes] encounters a kangaroo loose on the streets of downtown, after the communal blackout.) But we have seen a lot of doctors and FBI agents on TV — four of the main characters work for the bureau — and spent a lot of time on the streets of Los Angeles. We may need more than parlor tricks to take us out of that all-too-familiar world.

My crystal ball remains cloudy on this matter…


— Robert Lloyd


Flash Forward

“FlashForward” arrives with “Lost”-like expectations

“FlashForward” team downplays “Lost” comparisons

Guest blogger: David S. Goyer at Comic-Con (and part 2 and part 3)

“Lost” team promises all your questions will be answered

Robert Lloyd: “Lost” is a dinner guest who “talks nonsense” 

Photo: “FlashForward” stars John Cho and Joseph Fiennes. Credit: Craig Sjodin


10 Responses to LAT REVIEW: ‘FlashForward’ may end up ‘kind of great or pretty awful’

  1. TV Obsessed says:

    The episode was all exposition, but the unraveling of everyone's flash forward was really engaging. The cinematography was brilliant especially with the first act, and the final scene kept me wanting more. I reviewed the episode on my blog.

  2. stevo says:

    the first half of the first episode is indeed intriguing, it seems that they have filled in a lot of the pieces already, but the question may center around whether this was a man made phenomena or something out of nature or perhaps extraterrestrial. the clues about some kind of organization trying to kill the lead fbi agent hints at some man made conspiracy but who knows, i'll keep watching, right now I'm looking forward to the next episode of Lost………..
    ok now i read a ############spoiler alert#########
    there's a man made connection

  3. Flash Forward…welcome to our world.
    The Psychic Twins <a href="” target=”_blank”>

  4. Michelle says:

    I vote awful until I see something else. A lot wasn't done with the premise for all it's promise. The most interesting scenes were the preview of next week's episode, probably because I couldn't hear any of the terrible dialog. There was a particular scene where they guy who seems to be the main character is talking to his daughter where everything they say is either exposition or meant to generate CSI Miami level dramatic statements. I really hope they can turn this one around because the concept is intriguing even if the characters at this point are a bit ho hum.

  5. Tia says:

    Am watching it right now and I'm optimistic so far, But I wonder about the wife and her… friend. What's up with him?
    And the husband's friend? The 'Cho' dude. He had no memory of seeing anything.
    Okay, she is maybe gonna have an affair with some guy with a kid who knows her too. Anybody else get chills when they see the guy who is awake-maybe he is the guy responsible.
    And cheeky little mouse-ass. Grr. Kill him!

  6. Craig says:

    The show was interesting but not must-watch…until I saw the one guy that was awake during the blackout. That did it…I'm hooked! The one thing I really missed: good sound. The music is forgettable and there were no sounds to improve the mystery and suspense. "LOST" does an excellent job in that regard.

  7. chris says:

    Did anyone see the Oceanic Airline poster in the background near the beginning? Awesome shout out to Lost fans

  8. Donnie Redmon says:

    I quit watching after 20min of being overly patient for it to get better. I deleted it and any future series recordings that had been set on my DVR. Can anyone say Pee Hew!

  9. townes says:

    Who is the actor that played the babysitter boyfriend?

  10. Ellen says:

    My husband and I just saw it tonight… thought it was fabulous. Loved everything about it. Also… can't go wrong with Joseph Fiennes in my estimation.

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