Series of Tubes: Rapid Reaction to “FlashForward” Premiere

Yes. Yes. Everything about that, yes.

“FlashForward” was easily my most anticipated new show of the 2009-10 TV season. A serial sci-fi drama with time distortion elements and a sprawling ensemble cast? It’s the “Lost” formula all over again -- hell, it’s even got Charlie (Dominic Monaghan, though he wasn’t in the premiere).

The first episode did a great job setting up the premise quickly, then moving into the meat of the story. If this had been like some of the other premieres this year (I’m looking at you “Eastwick”), we would have spent the first 34 minutes of the show meeting all the characters and setting up their back stories, then the blackout would have happened right before the last commercial break.

Instead, the blackout happened about 10 minutes in, and we actually got immediate glimpses of one character’s flash forward right away -- of course, it was the one that drove the rest of the plot, so that made sense. Also, I liked that we found out the content of a lot of the other characters flash forwards in this episode too. Remember back a couple years, when ABC debuted a new serial drama, “The Nine”?They decided to show a new clip from the bank robbery each week -- but that was the only clip we got each week. It was a horrible decision, and the show failed. With shows like this, we need lots of info quickly, then start adding layers. If you think back to Season 1, that’s actually how “Lost” worked. It didn’t get super murky until Season 2.

To make another comparison, this episode reminded me a lot of the premiere of “Heroes”, which not only set up the characters, but the outline for the entire story in Season 1. The cynical side of me wants to spend time worrying that “FlashForward” will be good for a season like “Heroes” then suck, but I’m not gonna care about that now. Instead, I just want to think about how good this episode was, and how good the rest of the season could be.

A couple of specific moments I really liked:

-Seth McFarlane’s role. Actually, just him playing a role. It was completely random to see the creator of “Family Guy” in a sci-fi show on ABC
-One of the flash forwards consisted of a character sitting on a toilet reading the sports page. He said he remembered reading that the Rays just completed a sweep of the Red Sox (not actually possible, since Boston is at Toronto on the date in question) and Kobe Bryant tore his knee and is out for the season (possible, but would have to happen during the NBA playoffs). If Kobe does suffer a knee injury this season, a lot of Laker fans are going to be pissed at “FlashForward”
-John Cho did a fantastic job as the character who didn’t see a future. I wonder just how far his character will go to prevent the future everyone saw (for example, if he just kills his partner, well, then that changes the future, right?)

I’m definitely sticking with this one.
Score: 10 (out of 10)