Wednesday, June 2, 2010

FlashForward fizzles out

     ABC tried a bold experiment this year with FlashForward, a show we were told would be wrapped up in one season, should it be canceled, though I am having trouble locating the interview where that was promised now, and I've wasted too much time already on the show to keep looking.  The season, and series, finale, "Future Shock", did anything but tie it all together.  Part of that could be because it was not known at the time to filming if the show would be coming to an end, or getting another season.  However, since the ratings weren't strong, it should have been assumed.  It would have been easy enough, with a few different scenes at the end, to finish it nicely, but the producers chose not to.  And so anyone that invested twenty-two hours into the show has had their time wasted.

     The entire season was uneven, walking a fine line between cheesy and brilliant, but frequently teetering onto the former side.  The cast was packed with wonderful actors - John Cho, Sonya Walger, Jack Davenport, Dominic Monaghan, Courtney B. Vance, Christine Woods.  It was almost worth watching the whole series to see Battlestar Galactica's James Callis deliver his newest crazy-man, and prove that he has even more range than has been known.  But the writing was frequently weak, and did not do justice to the talent involved.

     The the last episode, for instance.  Much of this season has been about choices, and if fate is more powerful than free will.  So far, every time, free will has won out.  And then, each character, one by one, made it to the place they saw in their vision way back at the beginning of the season.  Sure, there were differences.  Lloyd (Davenport) and Olivia (Walger) didn't sleep together.  Janis (Woods) was pregnant with a boy instead of a girl.  But the basics were all there.  The only one who seemed to have twarted fate, for now anyway, was Demetri (Cho), because he was alive at all.  But in the episodes leading up to the finale, it seems fairly likely that he will soon be shot to death anyway, as fate has a way of catching up.  It's like Final Destination the series.

     The ending of it all was the most disappointing.  First, it was established that December 2016 would be the end of the world.  Did a show that had such a hard time catching on really think it would get more seasons than the far more intelligent Lost that it was trying to replace?  The bad guys who caused the flash forwards were never caught, and so remain at large to stir up more trouble.  In this case, they caused another flash forward to end the series on.  This time, though, it appeared that different people flashed to different times, all between 2010 and 2016.  I say this because I freeze framed through the various images and caught at least three different dates.  What does it all mean?  We'll never know.

     I don't have a problem taking a chance on something complicated and involved.  I loved Lost.  But when the show promises not to leave you hanging if they're canceled, it looks likely they are going to be canceled, and yet, they film a cliffhanger anyway, I am not please.  Sadly, it will make me much less likely to trust ABC on the future.

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