A Flashback to "Flash Forward" and "V"

BlogHer Original Post

ABC's freshman sci-fi shows, "Flash Forward" and "V" have been missing in action since before Christmas. Since "Flash Forward" returns with a two-hour relaunch tonight and "V" returns on March 30, let's take a look back, shall we?

"Flash Forward" is a perfect example of a really cool premise that's hard to carry off. Basically, everyone on the planet blacked out, at the same time, for two minutes and 17 seconds. While out, they also had visions of -- or flashes forward to -- moments six months in the future. Our hero, FBI agent Mark Benford (Joseph Fiennes), saw himself falling off the wagon and in danger from the people who caused the blackout in the first place. Olivia Benford (Sonya Walger), Mark's wife, was horrified to see herself presumably having an affair with another man.

Flash  forward

Image Courtesy ABC-TV

If you were one of the many people who didn't see anything, odds are that's because there was nothing to see. That's right, six months from now you're dead, dead, dead. That's the fear of Mark's partner, Demetri Noh (John Cho).

There's a lot of intrigue, and conspiracy, and mysterious scientists with hidden agendas, and the show has had some very entertaining moments -- the creepiest being the grainy black-and-white video of one man slowly walking around a stadium full of people who are all blacked out.

Flash  forward 2

Image Courtesy ABC-TV

The two best "Flash Forward" episodes by far are the pilot and "The Gift," where one of Mark's colleagues commits suicide to (he thinks) prevent the death of someone else, and also to prove that the future can indeed be changed.

We'll see about that, won't we?

I like "Flash Forward," but I hope the script retooling that was supposed to happen during the show's hiatus will get rid of some of the lame "dilemmas" the characters find themselves in. For example, Olivia, your flash forward says you're going to sleep with a certain guy and you don't want to? Here's a clue: Stop seeing him! Stuff like that needs to go -- and while they're at it, they need to make Mark Benford into a more dynamic hero. As it is, his partner Demetri is 10 times more interesting.

If the show doesn't get some of those character issues resolved, it's not going to see anything in its own flash forward, either.

V  photo

Image Courtesy ABC-TV

"V" is a much more straightforward, good guy/bad guy show. The Visitors, or "Vs," are lizard-like aliens who disguise themselves as benevolent (and quite beautiful) humans. While their ginormous spaceships hover over various big cities of Earth, the Vs go about curing the sick and preaching universal peace. As a result, they've been able to sucker most of the human race into thinking they're the saviors of humankind.


Image Courtesy ABC-TV

But we know better, don't we? Turns out the Vs are planning the annihilation of the human race so they can take over the planet. They've had undercover Vs on earth for years, setting the stage for the invasion to come.

The Visitors are led by the deceptively cool and comforting Anna (Morena Baccarin). She's the face of the Vs in the media, and their high priestess when it comes to executing their master plans. Elizabeth Mitchell is Erica Evans, yet another FBI agent, whose longtime partner turns out to be one of the hidden lizards. She's working with Father Jack Landry (Joel Gretsch) and Ryan Nichols (Morris Chestnut).

Landry's a Catholic priest who figured out the Visitors' plot, and Nichols is one of a small band of early Vs who've turned against their race and have decided to fight with the humans. There's also Scott Wolf, who plays an ambitious anchorman beginning to regret helping the Visitors get their message out.

"V" has had some exciting moments, and because the action comes fast and furious, you have very little time to pick apart any inconsistencies in the plot. But if you take it as straight-up escapist entertainment, you'll do fine.

The clock is ticking on every glorious minute of ABC's "Lost," and with its end in sight comes ABC's fear that all those Losties may bolt. "Flash Forward" and "V" are designed to keep that sci-fi audience exodus from happening. Exhibit A? Check out Dominic Monaghan (ex-Charlie on "Lost) and Sonya Walger (ex-Penny on "Lost") on "Fast Forward," and Elizabeth Mitchell (ex-Juliet on "Lost") on "V." Coincidence? I think not.

Heather at the Daily Dose loves the cast of "V" but wonders if the plots can live up to the acting talent:

Still, a great cast can't keep a series going if the storyline isn't there. The four episodes we got to watch last fall lacked the tension that made the first series so watchable – so must watchable. The problem we run into is that the writers are challenged to surprise us. We know that the aliens are lizards. We know they are not up to any good. We know that there's going to be a resistance and a war.

So what's left? That's the challenge.

Both shows have that same challenge. Keep us interested, surprised and on the edge of our seats, and you just might become a moderately worthy successor to "Lost."

Related Links:

Spring Fantasy TV Preview by Heather Hogan of The Torch Online.com

"They're Baaaaccccck.  The Cast of "V" Lands in Vancouver" by I'm Not Obsessed

"Black Women and Non-Black Men, No This Isn't A Rant" by Fashion Freak at Afro Punk

Megan Smith is the BlogHer Contributing Editor covering Television/Online Video. Her other blogs are Megan's Minute, quirky commentary around the clock and Meg's Rad Review.


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