Monday, October 26, 2009

Fall TV Round Up 3 - FlashForward


I wanted so badly to like this show, but I can't get over the super sloppy storytelling. There are big, gigantic plot holes, the characters are as two-dimensional as a cardboard cutout, and what is up with John Cho's hair? Was it an unspoken victim of the blackouts too?

First problem? Really bad CGI/special effects in the first episode. Must have been amateur hour at ABC. SyFylis has had better CGI in their made-for-TV movies! You'd think that such a high concept show would at least rate a decent FXs budget. Or the producers would go "That kangaroo really is unnecessary, let's cut that." (Animals and children are the fastest way to jack your budget up since you pay for: the animal/child, the handler/parent, the PETA rep/tutor, have limited shooting hours and dubious cooperation. At the very least.)  Or someone would point out that perhaps a world-wide blackout, and showing the fallout from that, may be a little more than you can handle.

But I can forgive bad CGI, particularly when it doesn't seem to be an ongoing thing. What I can't forgive are the plot holes I could fly an Antonov AN-225 Mriya through it.  (You know that that is, right?  The Russian plane that transports their space shuttle?  It's bigger than our Shuttle Carrier Aircraft which is a modified 747...)  My biggest irritation stems from the fact that in the FlashForward universe there appears to be no Google, Yahoo!, Dogpile, or any other internet search engine.  Even without blackouts, I can type "Crow deaths" into Google and see if something's up.  Or find any number of sites dedicated to unexplained phenomenons and how they might interrelate.  We like to call these conspiracy theories, but  it seems FlashForward's conspiracy theorists went the way of Google in this one.  But come on.  You think that if the entire world blacks out for a few minutes the crazies aren't going to be all over that??  Someone needs to re-watch the X-Files.

I suppose if Google did exist, it would take away the completely contrived situation in which Joseph Finnes gets to pardon a convicted Nazi war criminal.  Because no one else in the maximum security German prison looked out their windows and noticed all the birds were dead.  Or, you know, anyone else in the world.  To the writers I say this: NO.  Please to not be freeing Nazis as a cheap way to show your main character 'struggling' with some sort of moral choice that isn't a choice.  Nazi war crimes trumps bird deaths, period end of story.  I'm all for exploring whether the flash forwards determine behavior or not.  I think that would be a really interesting discussion, one that all stories that utilize prophecy deal with: in avoiding the prophecy, do you cause it?  Or would a lack of action bring about the predictions of the future?  (i.e. Are the flashes informing behavior or behavior informing the flashes.)  But that's not what's going on here.  The Nazi gets set free because he says he gets set free.  And he's not necessarily helpful: he just remembers saying he was helpful in his flash forward.  Thus, FlashForward becomes a show predicated on hearsay and not people's actions.  There's nothing happening, everyone's talking about stuff but they're not being proactive.  It's very annoying.

Also, hi American privilege, nice to see you're still fully functioning!  I know we Americans tend to be incredibly xenophobic and convinced of our own superiority, but even a mass blackout in Africa merits someone taking notice. Do we have an intelligence agency? Do we even talk to other countries in your world?

Annnnd...why does no one in the flash forwards act like they remember what happened?  Why isn't there a moment of realization for anyone?

I'm just going to rewatch the last season of LOST for my temporal distortion fix.


Anonymous said...

Well it's major problem is stealing the name of a truly awesome show from Disney.

Al said...

haha, well, I must say that that show has a space--Falash Forward. ;)