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March 18, 2010

A Flash Back to "Flash Forward" and "V"

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Flash forward

Image Courtesy ABC-TV

ABC's freshman sci-fi shows, "Flash Forward" and "V" have been missing in action since before Christmas.  Since "Flash Forward" returns with a two hour re-launch tonight and "V" returns on March 30, let's take a look back, shall we? 

"Flash Forward" is a perfect example of a really cool premise that's hard to carry off.   Basically everyone on the planet blacked out at the same time for 2 minutes and 17 seconds.  While out they also had visions or flashes forward of moments six months in the future.  Our hero, FBI agent Mark Benford (Joseph Fiennes) saw himself falling off the alcohol wagon and also in danger from the people who caused the blackout in the first place.  Olivia Benford (Sonya Walger), Mark's wife was horrified to see herself presumably having an affair with another man.  

If you were one of the many people who didn't see anything, odds are that's because there was nothing to see.  That's right, you're dead, dead, dead.  That's the fear of Mark's partner, Demetri Noh (John Cho). 

There's a lot of intrigue and conspiracies and mysterious scientists with hidden agendas, and the show has had some very entertaining moments.  The creepiest being the grainy black and white video of one man slowly walking around a stadium full of people who are all blacked out.

Flash forward 2

Image Courtesy ABC-TV

"Flash Forward's" best episodes by far are the pilot and the episode, "The Gift" where one of Mark's colleagues commits suicide to, he thinks, prevent the death of someone else, and also to prove that the future can indeed be changed.

We'll see about that, won't we?

I like "Flash Forward" but the retooling of the scripts that was supposed to happen during the show's hiatus will hopefully get rid of some of the lame "dilemmas" the characters find themselves in.  For example, Olivia, your flash forward says you're going to sleep with a certain guy and you don't want to?  Here's a clue, stop seeing him!  Stuff like that needs to go, and while they're at it, they need to make Mark Benford into a more dynamic hero.  As it is, his partner Demetri is ten times more interesting.

If the show doesn't get some of those character issues resolved, it's not going to see anything in its flash forward either.

V photo

Image Courtesy ABC-TV

"V" is a much more straight forward, good guy/bad guy show.  The Visitors or "V's" are lizard-like aliens from another planet who disguise themselves as benevolent and quite beautiful humans.  While their gi-normous spaceships hover over various big cities of earth, the "V's" go about curing the sick and preaching universal peace.   As a result they've been able to sucker most of the human race into thinking they're the saviors of humankind.


Image Courtesy ABC-TV

But we know better, don't we?  Turns out the "V's" are planning the annihilation of the human race so they can take over the planet.  They've had undercover "V's" on earth for years, setting the stage for the invasion to come.

The Visitors are led by the deceptively cool and comforting Anna (Morena Baccarin).  She's the face of the "V's" in the media and their high priestess when it comes to executing their master plans.  Elizabeth Mitchell is Erica Evans, yet another FBI agent, whose longtime partner turns out to be one of the hidden lizards.  She's working with Father Jack Landry (Joel Gretsch) and Ryan Nichols (Morris Chestnut).  

Landry's a Catholic priest who figured out the Visitor's plot and Nichols is one of a small band of early "V's" who've turned against their race and have decided to fight with the humans.  There's also Scott Wolf who plays an ambitious anchorman who starts to regret helping the Visitors get their message out.

"V's" had some exciting moments and because the action comes fast and furious, you have very little time to pick apart any inconsistencies in the plot.  But if you take it as straight up escapist entertainment, you'll do fine.

The clock is ticking down on every glorious minute of ABC's "Lost" and with it the fear by ABC that all those Losties may bolt.  "Flash Forward" and "V" are designed to keep that sci-fi audience exodus from happening.   Exhibit A? Check out Dominic Monaghan (ex-Charlie on "Lost) and Sonya Walger (ex-Penny on "Lost") on "Fast Forward", and Elizabeth Mitchell (ex-Juliet on "Lost") on "V."  Coincidence?  I think not.

Heather at the Daily Dose loves the cast of "V" but wonders if the plots can live up to the acting talent:

Still, a great cast can't keep a series going if the storyline isn't there. The four episodes we got to watch last fall lacked the tension that made the first series so watchable – so must watchable. The problem we run into is that the writers are challenged to surprise us. We know that the aliens are lizards. We know they are not up to any good. We know that there's going to be a resistance and a war.

So what's left?  That's the challenge.

Both shows have that same challenge.  Keep us interested, surprised and on the edge of our seats, and you just might become a moderately worthy successor to "Lost."

Related Links:

Spring Fantasy TV Preview by Heather Hogan of The Torch Online.com

"They're Baaaaccccck.  The Cast of "V" Lands in Vancouver" by I'm Not Obsessed

"Black Women and Non-Black Men, No This Isn't A Rant" by Fashion Freak at Afro Punk


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