FlashForward is a show that I just can’t figure out. I am currently in the middle of catching up on what’s left of the first season on my DVR. I’m sure that ABC wants it to be their next LOST, but it’s missing that one great element that made LOST great: heart.
I was hooked immediately on LOST. I loved the characters, the acting, the setting, and the way the plot unfolded slowly. It was all fresh and new and exciting, even with me catching up on the first three seasons on DVD. FlashFoward tried the same approach: large ensemble cast, breadcrumb plot twists, and a really decent cast of actors.
But I am still having a hard time not asking myself “so what?” after every episode ends.
For the most part, the acting in FlashForward is good enough. I don’t
have a hard time believing anyone in their role. The part I really
have a problem with is actually caring about them in that role.
The characters themselves offer very little, if anything, new to viewers. There’s the doctor with a heart of gold who cares about kids, the good-cop/bad-cop FBI agents, the tough-as-nails African-American FBI supervisor, and even the quintessential egomaniac scientist. I’m sorry, but as much as I love Dominic Monaghan, I’m not that interested.
You see, my problem so far is connecting. Joseph Fiennes and Sonya Walger are both engaging and have wonderful chemistry together. But I still don’t really care if their marriage shatters before April 29th. I have no reason to care other than being told that I should. John Cho and Gabrielle Union are an equally captivating couple. But do I care that Cho is doomed to die before they’re married? No. I honestly don’t.
The other storylines…meh. Tracey in Afghanistan? Yawnfest. Why should I care that a character introduced solely in dialogue and flashforwards is an alcoholic or gets shot at by military contractors? And what about Bryce and his Japanese adventures in love? A little trite for my tastes. It’s a classic example of SF/time-travel self-fulfilling prophecy: I had a vision of it happening and acted on it, so the only reason it will come to exist is because of something that has yet to occur. Bleh. Seen it before.
One thing I am actually interested in is the science behind the experiments that caused the blackout, but we get so little of that it’s hard to justify being invested in the show just because of that. Maybe as the series progresses it will become more fleshed-out and integral.
Now don’t get me wrong: I’m not even fully caught up this season. I have two episodes to go (the most recent episode I watched was the two-hour midseason premiere), but I don’t see it going very much uphill from here. I said when the series premiered that it would likely get better with serial watching, and to an extent, it has; I don’t think I would like it as much as I do now if I had to wait a week between snippets.
But the series is trying so hard to be relevant and edgy that I find myself wanting to be done with it. I will finish out this season because I hate having things unfinished, but unless the end of the series is dramatically better than the first 3/4, I’m not sure if I’ll be back, even if a second season is greenlit.
One other potential saving grace: I plan on listening to the audiobook of the novel on which the series was based. I know they took major liberties with the adaptation (such as moving it from a laboratory in Switzerland to an FBI office in Los Angeles), but I figure that if the plot is cohesive enough in prose that the potential second season might not be so flaky.
Am I overlooking some integral piece of the FlashForward puzzle? I hope so. It had me so intrigued when it first came on (specifically from the viral advertisements), but I see very little originality from this series. And while I adore LOST, I don’t particularly feel generous enough to invest in a copycat series. The posing-more-questions-than-you-answer thing was awesome the first time around. Now, though, we’ve been there and done that.
Am I offbase for this one?