Friday, April 9, 2010

FlashForward: FailingFast

All photos from ABC

FlashForward is a major disappointment. If I were giving the series a grade, it would get an F. The core story – where all the people in world black out, and during that time many have visions of their future – had great promise. I read the book on which the story was based, and I agreed that a TV series based on that story could be interesting. My disappointment started with the first two episodes, where things happened almost too quickly, and the characters seemed one-dimensional and sometimes laughable. Joseph Fiennes, playing the lead character Mark Benford, is about as exciting as watching paint dry, and Dominic Monaghan as scientist Simon Campos is completely unbelievable in his role. In fact, I think that almost every character has been completely miscast.

After the show took an extended break to regroup, it returned in March, no better than where it left off. Last night’s episode, “Queen Sacrifice” has stooped to a new low – the old “we have a traitor/mole in our midst” storyline. A dull and boring search of the mole ensues, where Benford and Vogel question the small group of people working at the FBI office with Benford. When they find a bug in Benford’s computer keyboard, and when Agent Janis Hawk (Christine Woods) gives them information on one of her co-workers, Marcie (Amy Rosoff) that implicates Marcie, they check her out and realize Marcie is the mole. The way they confirm this is just plain silly – they see security footage of her standing outside, adding sugar to her coffee, and those dates coincide with the dates information was leaked, and they realize this is a signal because (GASP!) SHE DOESN’T PUT SUGAR IN HER COFFEE IN THE OFFICE! (At this point in the episode, I am actually laughing out loud.) As Benford and Agent Noh realize Marcie is the mole, they lock eyes on her from across the office and she knows they have her. But, as the FBI confiscates their phones but isn’t smart enough to have all these detained agents turn over their weapons while they are waiting for questioning, she easily shoots her way out of the building. (I came to the conclusion that this FBI is just as incompetent as the people at CTU on “24.”)

Marcie escapes on the back of a motorcycle, the driver seemingly waiting for her escape. How long that motorcycle was waiting there for her is anybody’s guess, seeing that they were being held at the FBI for several hours. How did the motorcycle driver know that, just at that moment, he had to be there to help her escape, with engine running? It’s not like she had time - or her cell phone - to call the driver as she made her escape. Janis, however, already cleared in the investigation, just so happens to catch up with her and shoot the driver of the motorcycle who falls into a fountain, and Janis apprehends Marcie the Mole.

The big reveal at the end of the episode – there is (GASP!) A SECOND MOLE! AND IT IS JANIS! And – it seems Simon is part of this plot as well. I groan as the episode closes.

Other things happening in this episode aren’t compelling enough to keep me interested. The story with scientist Lloyd Simcoe (Jack Davenport) and Benford’s wife Olivia (Sonya Walger) seems devoid of drama and tension. Likewise the story of Bryce (Zachary Knighton) trying to find his love he saw in his flash forward while he battles cancer. Both storylines are coma-inducing.

Although I will likely continue to watch FlashForward only to see how they can wrap up this train wreck, I have to believe that this show will not be coming back next season. There is no way they can possibly retool this show - again - to entice viewers to come back for another season. Maybe I should just say FarewellFlashForward for now.

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