Thursday, May 30, 2013

TV on DVD Review: FlashForward - Complete Series

Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Interesting premise that continues to draw you in with each episode
Cons: This is the only season, a few flat characters
The Bottom Line:
Interesting show
I would have tuned in for more
"So, what did you see?"

"We're All Prophets Now."

The year Lost ended, ABC started trying to find its replacement.  One of their attempts was FlashForward.  At times the attempts were a little too obvious (a random kangaroo in downtown Los Angeles anyone?), but the show did have an interesting premise all its own.  Unfortunately, it never caught on with the viewers, so it was canceled after only one season.  What we have is still quite entertaining.

October 6, 2009 started out like any ordinary day.  FBI agent Mark Benford (Joseph Fiennes) and his partner Demetri Noh (John Cho) are about to nab some terrorists in Los Angeles when they black out.

Actually, everyone in the entire world blacked out for 2 minutes and 17 seconds.  Naturally, they awake to mass chaos as cars and planes have crashed in that time.

But people also begin to realize they've seen a glimpse of the future.  As the pieces come together, they realize that the events they saw took place on April 29, 2010.  Some people saw themselves happy with a new love interest or carrying a baby.  But Mark, a sober alcoholic, was in his office, drinking, with men with guns sneaking in to shoot him.  His wife Olivia (Sonya Walger) was with another man, a man she then meets in her job at the hospital.  And Demetri didn't have a flash forward at all.

As Mark and the rest of the FBI attempt to figure out who was behind the blackout, people begin to wonder if their flash forwards will come true.  Is this fate, or can they change their lives?

The story hooked me from episode one, and I couldn't wait to tune in each week to find out what would happen.  There was a definite storyline here, and most parts of the main story arc were wrapped up by the finale.  Unfortunately, the cancelation notice came too late (although it wasn't that big a surprise), so we do have a cliffhanger.

One thing that did the show in was the plethora of characters.  There were just too many of them.  Most of the characters were interesting.  However, some, like Dr. Bryce Varley (Zachary Knighton) and Nicole Kirby (Peyton List), were just not that interesting.  Over the course of the season, all the characters were the focus of an episode or two, and anytime these two were the focus, I wasn't that interested.  Fortunately, they would move multiple storylines forward in every episode, so an episode like that wasn't a complete lost.

What I did enjoy were their discussions of fate versus free will.  Obviously, with these visions of the future, that is a debate that greatly affected all of the characters.  While the show does seem to take a stance later in the season, they never really do answer it completely, but I liked the fact that it made me think about something other than the plot.

Several of the episodes features some pretty spectacular effects, and they looked great.  This may have been a TV show, but the pilot especially looked like a feature film.

The acting was good as well.  None of the actors were nominated for any awards, and I would be hard pressed to say any single one blew me away.  However, they always made me like the characters.  None of the performances pulled me out of the show.  And when one or two twists were rather hard to swallow later one, the actors did make me believe them.

This set provides all 22 episodes of the series for you on five discs in the show's native wide screen and full surround.  In the way of extras, we get a couple of audio commentaries, deleted scenes, and bloopers.  There are also several behind the scenes featurettes that focus on how the show put together some of the more memorable effects and action scenes.  There's nothing about where the show would have gone if it had been renewed, so fans can only speculate what some of the unexplained elements mean.

FlashForward was an interesting show that really could have been big if it had been given enough time to gain traction.  I'm glad I tuned in, and I will miss it this season.

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