I have to say, ABC's upcoming Fall show Flash Forward looks really compelling. From the few scenes I got to watch and the discussion at today's Comic-Con panel, I'm pretty much sold on this show already. And it's not just because Joseph Fiennes is very handsome, nor is it because Dominic Monaghan is on the show and made an appearance (which he did!). Really, it's not.
The series begins on an average day that soon turns unusual when everyone in the world blacks out at the same time. During this time, of course, initial damage is done (people driving while they black out get into accidents, etc.) and everyone "flashes forward" in his/her mind, seeing images of what life is like six months in the future. Then the action resumes in "present day" and the season progresses episode by episode until we "catch up" with the future that everyone has glimpsed. Thus, the question becomes: If you know what happens in the future, would you (and could you) try to change it?
Because it's ABC and it's a mysterious show that is even titled Flash Forward, many have called it a companion series to Lost, though the show is actually based on a novel by Robert Sawyer. Appropriately, though, the panel today was moderated by Entertainment Weekly's resident Lost guy, Jeff "Doc" Jensen. Panelists included the show creator David Goyer (writer of Batman Begins), a couple of producers, and actors Joseph Fiennes, John Cho, Courtney B. Vance, Christine Woods and, briefly, Dominic Monaghan. To check out some of my initial thoughts on Flash Forward,
- We were shown the first several scenes of the pilot episode and right away this show grabs you and yanks you in. We see images of destruction (car accidents, injured people, etc.) and then they rewind four hours and we see what each of the main characters was doing just before the blackout.
- Joseph Fiennes is (yup, I'm gonna say it) so fine. He just is. I am so looking forward to seeing him on my TV each week.
- John Cho, while very cute as well, is somewhat hard to buy during scenes in which he's supposed to be a tough guy. But I'll still be pleased to see him on my TV each week as well.
- Also coming to our TVs: Dominic Monaghan, the beloved Charlie from Lost. He wasn't in the first preview we saw but he showed up in a clip that was shown at the very end of the panel, at which point the screaming in the hall drowned out his one line. Then he came onstage but didn't have much time to talk before we were ushered out. All we learned was that his character is named Simon and, according to David Goyer, his character is a "game changer" who "f***s up a lot of things."
- In addition to the actors here at Comic-Con, Lost's Sonya Walger (Penny!) also plays a major role as Joseph Fiennes' character's wife. She even filmed a brief video explaining that she's not at Comic-Con right now because she's getting married this weekend, and besides, she doesn't like to be around all the weirdos in costumes. At the very end, though, she takes off her bathrobe to reveal a Wonder Woman costume and asks someone where her "f***ing tiara" is. It's pretty amusing.
- I do think this show will appeal to many Lost fans for a few reasons (and I think it appealed to ABC for the same reasons). It's a mysterious show that's grounded in human drama. The creators and writers actually do know where they're going with the story, which is something that I think fans find comforting. There won't be any nonsense or randomness to the writing, and producer Marc Guggenheim even assured us that "we'll never see a flash forward that doesn't happen." And at the same time, it sounds as though they're trying to avoid predictability. Goyer explained, "Part of doing the show is subverting expectations . . . there are a lot of game-changing things that happen," especially in the seventh episode.
- Having said all that, nobody wants to call it "The New Lost." Goyer: "Nothing is ever going to be 'The New Lost'. . . . Lost was a genre-breaking show and [we figured that] if ABC was courageous enough to put that on the air, they might be courageous enough to put this on."
So far, I'm glad ABC has taken a chance with this one. Time will tell, though. Flash Forward premieres Sept. 24.
Photo copyright 2009 ABC, Inc.