Couch Pumpkin: Sofa Adventures
News and reviews for the big and small screens…where potatoes fear to tread.

Visions in the Night ~ Flash Forward 1.1

The cast of Flash Forward

The cast of Flash Forward

I’ve been looking forward (ho ho) to Flash Forward for several months, ever since a copy of the pilot script found its way into my hands. I found it to be an enjoyable read, delivering an intriguing sci-fi premise as well as meaty character plotlines – exactly the sort of thing to reel me in. The pilot, however, left me feeling a little disappointed.

The story centres on an L.A. FBI officer, Benford (your typical, tormented, middle aged white guy), and his wider circle of friends and colleagues, who find themselves caught up in a mystery after the entire world blacks out for 2 minutes and 17 seconds. Yet more disturbing, it seems that everyone has experienced a vision of a future six months hence – some more positive than others.

The cast is impressive, including veteran movie actors Joseph Fiennes (of Shakespeare in Love fame), John Cho (Star Trek XI GQMF ) and Jack Davenport (who I suppose is best known in the US for Pirates of the Caribbean, but to us Brits as the hapless Steve in Coupling). I have few criticisms of the main performances – Cho’s was particularly good, playing the ambiguous sidekick who has doubts about his longevity (or does he?!).

On the other hand, I felt for the actors trying to deliver some fairly clunky lines (and some of them failed, particularly the one line extras). I haven’t had a chance to look at the script again but I remember it being quite long and detailed, with some lingering shots described that didn’t seem to make it to the screen. Perhaps being cut down to 41 minutes created the sense of clumsy exposition I got at points – one particularly bad cut saw four characters discuss practically the same thing in two different locations.

An hour and a half pilot might also have married the two parts of the plot together – the disaster that follows the blackouts, which seemed too quickly forgotten, and the mystery of the flash forward. The pilot skips from point to point, setting out the chess pieces for the game ahead, but misses out any depth of reaction from the characters. This is largely what made it an unsatisfying viewing experience for me, although I hope this might be remedied in later episodes.

Although, due to cirumstances, I probably won’t be able to keep up with Flash Forward in real time, I hope to catch up with it at some point. The clumsiness of the pilot does not detract from my curiosity regarding the sci fi mystery and the unravelling of the various plot lines. In particular, I’d love to see whether any aspects of the future can be changed, and what happens if the protagonists try – e.g. destroying something they saw in the vision. Would it reappear? Would fate contrive it so another object was put in place?

However, I will be bearing in mind the lessons learned from Battlestar Galactica‘s distinctly underwhelming resolution of some of its most knotty puzzles (*cough* Opera House *cough*). A mystery is all well and good, but the resolution may not deliver the punch we are expecting. As such, Flash Forward had better up the quality of its dialogue, cinematography and character exploration to make sure that the journey is as exciting as the destination.

6/10

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One Response to “Visions in the Night ~ Flash Forward 1.1”

  1. That pretty well sums up my feelings towards the show too. It could really have benefited from a longer intro or even just tried to tell like half of what it was going for, you know? Leave the bit about it being a vision of the future until the very end of the episode or something. And I was kinda miffed because Cho’s character seemed like one of the most interesting and they barely seemed to notice him.


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