So, Flashforward. Monotonous or Momentous? Intoxicating or Intolerable? Big pile of tripe or quite good after a while if you give it a chance and ignore Fiennes?
Flashforward was ABCs great hope for life after Lost and they spared no expense, either production wise or promotion wise but it never really took off the way they hoped. Some blame this on the slow pace of early episodes, others on the charisma black hole that is Joseph Fiennes but I believe it was down to impatience.
The show suffered from the comparison to Lost in a big way. I'd liken it to the way in which Harsh Realm and The Lone Gunmen suffered coming off the back of X-Files.
The X-Files, it's easy to forget in light of it's subsequent success, was a modest little show that got little in the way of press and wasn't exactly setting the ratings on fire in it's first season. Nor was it the convoluted twisty turny thriller that it would become. It built both of those aspects over the course of a number of years.
Along comes Chris Carters subsequent shows and the eyes of the world are on them. They are The New X-Files. Massive ratings are expected overnight by the network and the viewers demand slickly produced, tightly plotted dramas with a firm identity in place and their mythologies intact from day one. There was no bedding in process, no latitude given for experimentation and feet finding. Hence the shows floundered under the weight of heightened expectations, the plug was pulled and we never got to see what could have been.
Flashforward was The New Lost. It was promoted heavily as the natural successor to that show and even featured a couple of cast members from it's predescessor, one of whom (Dominic Monaghan) would go on to steal the show from Joseph Fiennes. And because it was The New Lost, everyone expected huge things from it. They wanted all the bangs and whistles that Lost provides.
|Someone's missing. Also, Fiennes looks like a knob.|
Here's the thing though. Watch season 1 of Lost now. As awesome as it was then, and while it still holds up as quality drama, it's fucking glacial compared to the pace of recent seasons. They took their time, they set up their mysteries, they established their characters and they built their world. Then, and only then, did they go batshit crazy and tear that world apart. Flashforward was not given the time to do that. And Flashforward was canceled. Now I'm not even blaming the network this time. It was the viewers. They tuned in in droves for the early episodes, complained for a few weeks that it was to slow, and stopped watching. Again, in droves. The writing was on the wall from quite early on.
All credit to the producers then for sticking to their guns. Yeah, they amped up the action slightly in the back half of the season but not in any massive way and certainly not enough to compromise the integrity of the shows plot. And they built to a finale that as well as being epic, exciting, and extremely fucking good also effectively answered a lot of the lingering questions of the season, tied in beautifully with the visions seen in the pilot. Then, in a move that could so easily be read as a massive "Fuck You" to the people, they showed, via a second flashforward, glimpses of what could have been, what should have been, and what looked absolutely brilliant.
|World's worst actor?|
I for one shall miss this show. I was hoping we'd get a 5 or 6 year epic, a la Lost, that we could look back on as one of the defining genre shows of this decade. Instead we got a damp squib and a lot of "what if's". A real shame.
Just for fun now I'm gonna quote my predictions for Flashforward Season 1 and beyond, that I posted on a forum I frequent. It was posted after I think 2 episodes had aired, maybe 3. I guess we'll never know how right (or wrong I suppose, though that seems unlikely) I would have been.
Season one will catch up to the flashforwards. Not really a spoiler cos producers have said as much. Seasons 2 through 5 will feature further flashforwards that the team need to fathom, in the vein of 24 with a new "case" each year. This would also allow different regulars to come and go as they are relevant to each case, with the core investigative team grounding the ensemble. These seasons will also drip feed information about who is causing the blackouts and why. Season 6 begins as just another case before the mid season discovery of the big answer followed by a breakneck pace to the cliffhanger and a showdown with the big man behind it all. He announces it has all been done to accelerate the discovery of certain mysteries that otherwise wouldn't have come to light because man (read Yank Gov.) needs the info to stop a big catastrophe. Cue season seven, stopping the big catastrophe.
I also reckon Fiennes will die in the finale after years of fan sniping about how he is the dullest bloke in the show so why all the focus on him? (see Losts Jack) His death will come after a big reunion with his estranged wife when it is revealed that her new fella and his kid, who will probably end up not really being his kid, are revealed to be part of the big conspiracy.
What do you think? I reckon I was bang on. Sorta.
Next : Ashes to Ashes and then I promise, pinky swear and everything, that I'll post some shorter bits of shit. With pictures of pretty ladies.