As a disgruntled “Lost” junkie I’m trying to be more selective with the recent rash of sci-fi sub-genre TV series, or as I fondly refer to them as: is-it-the-end-of-the-world-or-maybe-just-time-travel-whatever-let’s-throw-in-some-paranormal-aspects-action-dramas. I’m waiting for “Lost” to finally end (Spring 2010) and for creator, J.J. Abrams to put us all out of our misery of nearly six years of zigzagging and endless plot-lines, broken promises and half-assed resolutions. For those of you who were able to resist the show’s initial allure, it has pretty much been a massive tangle of absurd details and way out there theories resulting in confused “WTF’s!!” screamed at my TV.
Despite my frustrations with “Lost,” I found myself a few months back catching up on the first season of “Fringe,” another J.J. Abrams creation. However unlike “Lost,” it has managed to stay in control. The arch/plot points have remained pretty consistent and the weird/obscure details are regularly explained–but the show continues to keep a balance of mystery and intrigue. It is currently in its second season and so far it’s been fantastic.
So, I decided what the heck, I’ll give “FlashForward” a shot, ABC’s latest drama that fits nicely in the sci-fi sub-genre, just to see if it had the potential to rival Abrams’ cult-following efforts.
Unfortunately, the answer is no. After watching the first two episodes it’s pretty clear: this show is not worth getting involved. It’s a J.J. Abrams wannabe. And sadly, in this case, the knock-off (unlike handbags and generic store-brands) is not passable.
They did a decent job of trying to trick those of us familiar with “Lost” by actually using actors from “Lost” (Penny and Charlie) and even some actors who kind of look like characters from “Lost” (Mark Benford in F.F. looks exactly like Richard from Lost). And there’s even one scene that includes a billboard for Oceanic Airlines–the airline that crashed on the now infamous island.
I don’t want to give too much away in case some of you haven’t seen it yet and would like to waste an hour or two check it out, but the writing, acting and the pacing doesn’t really work. It’s rushed, extremely predictable and falls way short on being gripping or even interesting. Don’t get me wrong, the formula is all there, but obviously the kids in charge aren’t synergizing so well. Which is a shame, because the creators have serious pedigree—“24”, The Dark Knight, X-Men Origins. I just don’t trust how this whole concept—everyone blacking out at the exact same time for two minutes and seeing into their future—is going to play out, with things already tired and underwhelming this early in the season/series.
Anyway, I guess what this all comes down to is that I have an extra hour of TV watching up for grabs…and in the meantime I’ll just stick with the upcoming “Lost” finale/goodbye, and wait and see if J.J. Abrams turns “Fringe” into another painful loathing TV show/love-hate relationship that has me sticking around until the bitter end.