Tag Archives: Flashforward

The Year End Review: TV

It’s had its ups and downs, but overall, the gods of television have been kind to us this year. This is my list of the top 5 best shows this year, and you can add this list of new TV to what you see below.

Battlestar Galactica

One of the best science fiction shows ever created ended its four-season run this year. And in the lead up to the end it never once stopped to breathe, or wasn’t able to find that balance between action and drama. I was glad that the show decided to answer some questions while leaving others ambiguous, and give it major props for tying some things up in ways I never suspected. Except for the whole Fat Lee thing. I’m still trying to figure that one out.

Mad Men

If there’s any show that could drive me to drink, it’d be this one. And I mean that in a good way. Three seasons in and this is still one of the best shows on television, maybe the best currently running. It’s also one of the only shows I’ve seen that has yet to suffer any sort of creative slump. The stories, the characters, the acting, the production all make this one hard to keep out of any TV best-of lists this year. Plus now, any time I’m being sexist, I can just say that I’m pulling a Draper, and it’s all good.

Friday Night Lights

I’m a little late to the game when it comes to this one. I only started watching the show about a month ago, and I burned through three and a half seasons in only a couple of weeks. For me, this show is better than cocaine, and I can say that because I’m a massive cocaine addict. I really can’t say enough good things about it (the show, not cocaine). They gave us a game-changing finale last season, and have come up with a creative way to keep the story going despite the fact that about half of the cast has turned over. And where other shows try the same thing and fail, Friday Night Lights is still going strong. Plus, it’s filmed in my hometown. Seriously, I saw Brad Leland in downtown Austin a couple of weeks ago and almost crapped my pants. I might take some flak for it, but FNL definitely cracks my Top 5 best TV shows of the past 10 years.

Breaking Bad

Mad Men showed us that AMC knew how to handle their own drama series. Breaking Bad showed us that AMC was the network to watch out for. Can you believe that, up until a couple of years ago, all I could think of when I saw Bryan Cranston was, “Could you pass me a schtickle of fluoride?” He’s come a long way.

Parks and Recreation

At the end of last season, I was ready to write this one off. Amy Poehler is funny. Greg Daniels is funny. It only makes sense that if NBC put the two of them together, everyone would make bags and bags of money. Well, it turns out that building a park wasn’t the comedy gold mine everyone thought it would be. Now they’re in their second season, and have looked a little farther for their storylines, and the show couldn’t be funnier. This is easily the strongest of NBC’s Thursday night lineup.

A few popular shows that didn’t make it, and why…

30 Rock
I think there’s a reason 30 Rock has won the Emmy for best comedy series these past three years, and that is, for these past three years, it’s been the best comedy series on television. This season, it just hasn’t lived up to that. Tracy making jokes like, “I’ll show you that I can finish everything I–” or Liz liking ham can only go so far. These past couple of episodes have been a lot better, so we’ll see where they go.

The Office
I heard someone say that on this season of The Office, Dunder Mifflin should go out of business, everyone should lose their job, and that would be the end of the series. I didn’t think that was the most horrible idea I had ever heard. In its sixth season, The Office feels like it’s just spinning its wheels, especially now that Pam and Jim are happily married. A few episodes, like Shareholder Meeting, seemed like a lot of wasted potential. The company is losing money, and just when it seems like Scott and Oscar are going to save the day, every runs out of the hotel and speeds away in a limo.Hopefully the show comes back (creatively), because I don’t think NBC can afford to get rid of it right now. I’d hate to see it overstay its welcome.

This show is still trying to decide what it wants to be. Is it a parody like The Office, is it over the top like 30 Rock? I don’t know, because they haven’t settled on one yet. Add that to the fact that all off the characters, with the exception of maybe Abed, are one-dimensional stereotypes, making Community one of the biggest disappointments this season. After that 5-minute clip they released last May, I really had my hopes up for this one.

Although I enjoyed season 4 and thought the writers took some great creative twists, there have always been a few small things that have annoyed me about this show, and affected how much I enjoy it. One of them is Debra. Seriously, this woman is like a turd that just won’t flush. Hey, I wonder what happens to her this season. I bet she gets into a relationship that goes bad and manages to call everyone around her selfish along the way. My other big problem with this show is Dexter and Rita’s relationship. It stopped being believable after the first season. It’s like after she got over her experience with her first husband, she never found that balance between standing up for herself and being a jerk. And Dexter’s so great at blending in to normal life, yet still can’t stand up to her. Plus, the dialogue between the two of them reads like it came out of Marriage for Dummies.

I’m a huge fan of the show, but I didn’t think that the fifth season delivered the way previous seasons had. With the show about to begin its sixth and last season, I felt like it was taking one last, deep breath before it sped off to the finish.

This show is trying to be as great as Lost while ignoring everything that makes Lost great. On Lost, the characters always came before the mystery, and on FlashForward, I’m still trying to remember what the characters names are. Add that to the fact that if everyone in the entire world blacked out for two minutes, there’d be no way in Hell I’d be back at work the next day, or week. Maybe ever. This show is bogged down in its own mythology, and I’m wondering if it’ll be able to crawl back out.

5 Reasons FlashForward is a Flash in the Pan

I’ve been doing some soul-searching lately, trying to decide whether or not I’m as into FlashForward as I thought I’d be. I have to tell you, I don’t think I am. It’s possible that more soul searching may be required. Anyway, Cinema Blend posted an article today that sums up a lot of my problems with the show perfectly. Par exemple…

The (yawn) characters (yaaaawwwwnn) are “yaaaaaaawwwwwnnnnn”:

Benford is an alcoholic. Demetri might die. After that, do we really care about anyone else in this show? I know I don’t. Benford’s wife is having an affair with some villain? Who cares. The other FBI agent is going to get pregnant? Snooze. Here is the biggest indictment of the whole cast: I have seen every episode and I needed to go on the website to find out any of the other characters’ names. That is bad, bad, bad. Maybe it is my fault for not paying enough attention, but honestly do you know what Mark’s wife’s name is? His sponsor? Anyone else? I know I don’t.

The entire article is compelling, and rich. Check it out here.

FlashForward – “D. Gibbons is a bad man.”`

The world is still trying to come to terms with the effects of the Flashforward. Some people are handling it better than others.

Aaron: You know, I could walk up to anyone and ask, “What did you see?” and they would all say—

Mark: Your beard! A**hole… *glugluglug*

Mark is still upset about Olivia’s vision and is becoming more paranoid about this Lloyd Simcoe character. Over at FBI headquarters, the Team is met by Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security Anastasia Markham, who’s none too pleased that they’ve taken it upon themselves to investigate the Flashforward.

Anastasia: You hope you’ll find out what happened during the blackout? No one spends millions of dollars on hope!

Stan: I guess someone forgot to tell Barack Obama! Ya burnt!

Demetri is still freaking out about his non-vision. Mark’s tried calming him down, but he hasn’t been much help. Things change when they meet up with the local police in Pigeon, Utah.

Cop: I didn’t see anything, either.

Demetri: Really?

Cop: Yeah.

Demetri: You know, I think thing’s are gonna be alright.

Then this happened…

At the hospital, Olivia’s finally met Lloyd. She swore to Mark that no matter what happened, she could never feel anything for this man, but she’s finding it tough to resist that windswept hair and saucy British accent!

Lloyd: How do I tell my son that his mum is dead?

Olivia: Make me feel like a real woman.

Lloyd: Huh?

Olivia: Gotta go!

This is the point in the show where someone turns on one of the Grey’s Anatomy soundtracks. We flip through quick shots of everyone winding down after a long day.

Stan stops by the office to drop off some cupcakes.

Janice: Flash forward to my ass ballooning two sizes LOL!

Demetri: Oooohohohohoha! I like you!

Stan: Hey guys shut up a minute. I don’t know if you saw this, but we triangulated the calls that Gibbons chick made on her cellphone, and it looks like she was talking to Suspect Zero…during the blackout!

Demetri: Woah!

Janice: Mmmphphphhpgoohcupcake…

A little birdie tells me that this week’s episode will have people everywhere asking when the characters will quit acting like cardboard cutouts! Tune in!

FlashForward – “There are no more good days.”


A typical summer morning. Birds chirping. People on their way to work. Widen to reveal —

Four Hours Earlier

A typical summer morning. Birds chirping. People on their way to work. Mexicans trimming the trees and mowing the grass. Mark Benford kisses his wife Olivia before leaving for the day. Aaron Stark trims his beard. Bryce Varely sticks a gun to his head. The hot chick who was on Mad Men is taking her clothes off. Business as usual, right? WRONG. Today’s the day everything changes. Boom. Roasted.

FBI agent Mark and his sidekick Hikaru Sulu are chasing some stock terror suspect who will turn out to be central to the show’s plot halfway through the season when suddenly–!

For 2 minutes and 17 seconds, the entire world blacks out. No one’s sure what’s going on, but it’s like one of those Yellow Submarine things where even though it’s like one big acid trip, the music’s still pretty good so I just went with it. And then my aunt walked in and I was so high I hit on her, and she touched me in my swimsuit area.

When everyone wakes up LA is on fire. Sulu takes the helm while Mark tries to help all the people who are freaking out. Over at the hospital, Olivia is dealing with the same thing. Back at their house, Nicole the nanny pushes her boyfriend off of her long enough to make sure Charlie isn’t dead. She’s awake, clutching her teddy bear.

Nicole: Are you alright, sweety?

Charlie: I had a bad dream.

Nicole: What did you do?

Charlie: The malice of the act was base and I loved it–that is to say I loved my own undoing, I loved the evil in me–not the thing for which I did the evil, simply the evil: my soul was depraved, and hurled itself down from security in You into utter destruction, seeking no profit from wickedness but only to be wicked.

Nicole: Maybe I should call your mom.

Olivia’s got her own problems.

Later, at FBI headquarters, Mark and a stock task force gather in a conference room to figure out what’s happened. From what they know, the blackouts affected everyone on the planet.

Mark: No. It was more than a blackout. It was like a memory… of the future!

Everyone. At the Exact Same F’ing Time: You mean…a flash-forward?

Seth MacFarlane: Giggity.

Mark tells Demetri they need to figure out a way to see what everyone saw during the flashforward. They’re on it, and a plan comes together surprisingly fast.

Demetri: We’ll make a website!

Girl: And a TV show!

They take the idea to Stan, who’s quick to jump onboard.

Stan: Good job, guys. But let’s keep all this blackout business under wraps for now. We can’t let the public find out about this.

Mark: Uh, you realize the world knows, right?

Stan: Keep up the good work.

That night, Mark’s talking to Nicole. Ever since the blackout, she hasn’t been able to stop crying.

Nicole: I’ve been watching the news all day, except for when I was…nevermind. I just don’t know what to think, you know? I’m scared. I’m horny.

Mark: You really should go. I’m already a recovering alcoholic, I don’t need–you know. That other stuff coming up.

Nicole: What other stuff?

Mark: Please leave.

And she’s not the only one acting strange. Mark told Olivia what he saw during his blackout, but Olivia’s kept quiet.

Mark: What did you see, babe?

Olivia: I don’t want to talk about it.

Mark: But–

Olivia: He made me feel like a real woman!

Back in the office, whatshername calls Demetri over. She points to her computer.

Girl: Did you know every security camera in the world feeds into the FBI database?

Demetri: Really?

Girl: Yeah. I just finished looking through it. Check out what I found!

Demetri: That wasn’t taken during the blackout. It’s an Astros game. But it’s kind of cool that you found such a huge clue so quickly.

Girl: I know, right?

What does it all mean? Who’s the mysterious Suspect 0? What role will the kangaroo play? Was my Astros joke topical? More importantly, will FlashForward be as commercially viable as Lost? Tune in next week!

FLASHFORWARD by Robert J. Sawyer

It’s possible that you’re one of the five or six people who have heard absolutely nothing about this book, or ABC’s TV adaptation, which was just added to their 2009-2010 Thursday night lineup. Or maybe you have heard of the show, yet in the glitz and glam of modern-day television, did not realize that  before TV, there was the book. In any case, you should waste more time online catching up on things like this.

Flashforward centers around a group of physicists working at the Large Hadron Collider near Geneva, Switzerland, who spend their days smashing subatomic particles together, in search of the elusive Higgs boson. Which, from my own studies in quantum physics is best described as a particle whichssmmmphmmmrmpph. Anyway, during one such experiment, every man, woman, and child on Earth blacks out, where for two and a half minutes, their collective consciousness is thrown twenty one years into the future.

When everyone wakes up, they’re forced to deal with the mass chaos that would understandably follow six billion people blacking out. Planes, cars, and buses have crashed. People undergoing surgery are dead. Others have fallen off of roofs and down stairs. As those who survive come to terms with what’s happened, they slowly begin to piece together what they’ve seen. Some saw visions of their lives twenty one years hence while others saw nothing. Were they sleeping? Were they dead? Slowly, a portrait of the future begins to emerge.

Robert J. Sawyer is one of a small group of authors who writes “hard” science fiction, or science fiction which puts a heavy emphasis on the science behind the fiction. That is to say, he is one of a small group who does it well. A few years back I read Hyperspace, by Michio Kaku. It’s a book about theoretical physics in terms a layman can understand. Most of what I remember is wondering what it would be like to travel back in time, to make sure my parents hooked up at the Enchantment Under the Sea Dance. My point is, if this crap is such a headache to understand, why do I want to spend more of my leisure time reading about it? Well, authors like Sawyer (also see Stephen Baxter and Alastair Reynolds) are able to explain the science without overshadowing their stories or the characters in those stories.

While Flashforward lives safely within the limits of science fiction, there’s a lot of mystery, suspense, and philosophy here, too. Theo Procopides is one of the physicists who sees nothing during his blackout. After others tell him that they saw reports of his murder, Theo sets off on a quest to find out as much as he can about his future killer, and the circumstances surrounding his death. Will he succeed? Can he succeed? Is anyone capable of changing their future, or is free will just an illusion? In the book, arguments are laid out for both, and they’re questions you’ll be asking yourself throughout.

The book gets high marks for a truly original story, and low marks for a somewhat anti-climactic ending, although the scientific a-ha! moments really suck you in. If you’re planning on watching the show this Fall, you’ll definitely want to check this one out. From what I’ve seen, there are major differences between the two, so you won’t be ruining anything for yourself.

7 out of 10 stars

Buy the book from amazon.com.