Thursday, October 15, 2009

My "Flashforward" Ends; "Heroes" Reborn....Sort of

So the other night, my wife and I were watching the latest episode of Flashforward. We had both read the novel, and we had both enjoyed it. We were excited about the prospect of a series based on the book, even if we couldn't quite fathom how they'd get a continuing series out of the concept.

And three episodes in, my wife looks at me and says, "I'm done with this show, how about you?" I agreed, and we deleted the episode from our PVR and erased the series from our schedule. We watched the latest episode of Glee instead. That's right, I, a committed sci-fi nerd, opted to watch a musical comedy over a genre show.

With news that ABC has picked up Flashforward for a full season order, I briefly questioned my decision. After all, the central mystery of why everyone on Earth blacked out and had visions of the future is certainly a compelling one. It's well-produced, and the cast has plenty of solid actors. So, why was I so bored?

I believe there were a few reasons for my lack of involvement. Firstly, while the actors were good, I found the characters they were all playing to be pretty dull. After a few episodes, I don't care about any of them enough to really be invested in what they're doing in their flash forwards or how they get there. No one really has any quirkiness or personality; they're all just slaves to a puzzle, and it's the puzzle that's really the star here, not the people. That's all well and good for a finite story like a movie or a novel, but we're talking about potentially investing 25 hours of my life, here, so give me interesting people to watch at least. I suspect the imminent arrival of Dominic Monaghan, an actor incapable of being uninteresting, may liven things up, but it's too little too late for me.

Also, why exactly is the FBI investigating this thing? The novel followed scientists, and while I recognize that FBI agents are sexier, you don't think that there should be one science guy involved in this? I mean, at this point, they have no proof that this wasn't some sort of natural phenomenon, aside from one guy's vision of a bulletin board. and while we're on that topic, has it not occurred to anyone that nothing on that bulletin board is in fact connected? That his seeing it in his flash forward led to its creation so that it's there in his flash forward? It occurred to me within five minutes.

On the other side of the spectrum, I've actually been pleasantly surprised by the last couple episodes of Heroes. While they haven't been superb or anything, they haven't made me want to throw my remote at the TV. I like that everyone seems to be living an at least close approximation of actual life. I like the way they've kept examining Sylar and the whole nature vs. nurture element of his sociopathy. I reallllllly like that they seemed to have killed off Nathan at long last, who was fast approaching Claire's status as the most directionless and boring character on the show. I like Matt Parkman's struggle with phantom Sylar, and how they've externalized his inner struggle with the addictive possibilities of his powers. They've returned Peter to his less relentlessly depressing roots by bringing him back to his basic motivation of helping people.

Hiro and Ando, however, are still stuck in neutral, even with Hiro's possibly terminal illness. And while it's fun to see Noah finally realize that he's been living a thankless and totally skeevy life, it does leave him kind of rudderless. As for Claire.......she just wants a normal life. Still. As she has for as long as I can remember. Well, having a pointless but ratings-bait lesbian fling with your college roommate is pretty normal.....for some girls. I hear. Sigh.

And Suresh is nowhere to be seen. Thank. God.

I even like the new additions. Emma is a strikingly different character that allows Peter to slip into the mentor role. The Carnival characters would be much more annoying if they weren't so well-portrayed. All in all, I'm actually interested again. Well played, Heroes, well played.


abuydens said...

Glee's a pretty good show. So hopefully you won't regret your decision. I Honestly can't believe I'm enjoying a musical comedy as much as I am, but I cannot deny it. The characters surprisingly have some good depth to them, and you find yourself actually feeling for them, hoping they succeed. And Jane Lynch is hilarious and terrifying as the dictatorial cheerleader coach out to destroy Glee Club.

Nerdlinger said...

Yes, Lynch is totally awesome. We've been watching since the beginning, and we're really digging it.