Tuesday, September 29, 2009
What did you see?
Amanda the Aspiring TV Writer posted recently on the virtues of FlashForward in compelling storytelling, which motivated me to finally watch the only new TV show I was really interested in seeing.
First of all, who doesn't like a good end of the world sequence? I am a total sucker for disaster movies, and I think everyone in the world blacking out for 2 minutes and 17 seconds definitely qualifies as a disaster.
Excellent actors, excellent characters. You really want to know what happens to them, if they made it through the black out alright, if they're going to fulfill their flashforwards. The only one I wasn't too crazy about was the creepy girl. Why are kids always spooky?
But the best part of it, and Amanda touched on this, is that you really really want to know what happens next. In having the flashforwards, the writers are in one sense "giving away the ending." But the plot is not the ending to the story - the ending will be the emotional journeys of these characters to their flashforwards and the decisions they make that will either make those flashforwards true or not. It's the age old question of fate. Can we change our future? Especially once we know it? The flashforwards are great at getting the audience's emotions involved as well - I don't really know how I feel about the flashforwards or if I want them to come true. For some people, the 2 minutes of unconsciousness saved their life - for some it killed them. (It's very Lost-esque in that. Were the survivors of the crash picked for some hidden reason? Or was it random? Was the flashforward timed to prevent some deaths? Or was it random?) For others, their flashforward showed them wonderful things - for most people it was frightening. So suddenly, as an audience member, you're torn. I want this good thing to happen for this character, but I don't want that character to be ruined either. And, of course, the biggest question of all - why did the flashforwards happen? Who/what caused them? What do they mean? (Ok, so the three biggest questions of all.)
And then, in the last five minutes, watching the footage from Detroit, I literally got chills. That is good story telling.
My only disappointment is that the entire time I was thinking about what a cool concept it was and how brilliant the guys are who created it and how it shows that original ideas can still make it in the industry today - when I got to the credits and the first thing it said was that it was based on a book. I mean, clearly I still think it's brilliant and cool, but can the entertainment industry do nothing original? Or do all the good ideas come to brilliant novelists and then we rip - er, option them? Frustration.