FlashForward: Back to the End

A fellow TV critic—and, to be perfectly honest, the only other person I know who stuck with FlashForward until the bitter end—describes the show as "the story of a bunch of interesting characters who are continually getting screwed with by writers who don’t know what they’re doing." It’s an apt summary that's difficult to top, especially after the material placed into evidence by last night’s series finale (and I’m pretty sure that’s exactly what it will be, despite the high hopes of a handful of fans and their internet petitions).

Now that both Lost and FlashForward are off the air for good, we can make as many comparisons between the two shows as we like without offending fans of either one too much, and personally, I found it curious how much the series finales (not to mention my own reaction to them) opposed one another. The end of Lost, which—as everyone predicted—was unable to tie up even a small number of the loose ends it left dangling, nonetheless seemed extremely satisfying to me, and its final moments didn’t leave me wanting more: It had reached a final conclusion that served as punctuation to all the emotional investment I’d put into it, and to want more out of it would have made it feel wrong. FlashForward, however, really did its best to tie everything together (although this meant fudging a lot of specifics around what we already knew), but ended up feeling half-assed, thrown together, and incomplete—while at the same time holding forth the promise of another blackout that genuinely made me wish the show wasn’t over.

As far as individual moments went, for every one that worked—and there were more of those than I expected—there were two that didn’t. Which, come to think of it, is a pretty perfect capsule description of the entire history of FlashForward. The scenes of the second blackout were masterfully filmed, but that just left me wishing the producers had done as good a job on the first one, and wanting the series to follow that story instead of the ones we’d been following. Janis’ story was concluded in a satisfying way, but Aaron’s was a complete mess. Nicole ending up in the lake was pretty solid, and tonally it bore some of the self-mocking camp elements the show began to develop when its writers realized no one was taking it seriously, but the scene were Lloyd’s idiot-savant kid writes the equation on the mirror was infuriatingly bad. And Weddick’s thread ended as satisfyingly as a year-long plot point about a guy sitting on the crapper could possibly have ended, but the scene with Keiko’s mother might as well have had her screaming “LOOKA ME, I’M CREATING A DISTRACTION” for as much as it telegraphed its intent.

And yet, and yet: At the end, didn’t I sit up and take notice at the amazing final sequences? Yes, I did. And therein lies the problem: This is a show that proved itself masterful at keeping viewers tuned in to its enigmas, but without a clue as to how to resolve them. It’s a show that was wonderful at setting up intriguing situations, and terrible at making them end up anywhere coherent. It’s a show that created a handful of truly intriguing characters—and then ignored them in favor of some really boring ones. Being a FlashForward fan became the TV equivalent of being stuck in a bad marriage, like watching the person you love make bad decisions and not being able to do anything but stick with them until you ended up in divorce court.

There’s just one more Lost comparison I want to make here: Both Lost and FlashForward were, I think it’s fair to say, shows that were really meant to be viewed on DVD. They’re serial dramas with lots of mysteries, cliffhangers, and interconnected sequences that, when viewed weeks apart on television, can be frustrating as you scramble to remember all the little details and why they’re important. Viewed on DVD, one can keep the memories of each episode fresh in your mind, with no need for constant review or handholding. But while I think Lost will greatly benefit from its final DVD release, resolving a lot of unanswered questions and making a lot of scenes make more sense in retrospect, I also think FlashForward—and remember, I like the show—will suffer from its DVD release. It will make the sloppy plotting, the incoherent structure, and the questionable choice of characterization even more apparent than it was on television. It will prove that like Mark, Bryce, Lloyd, and everyone else, we were just victims of a bunch of writers in over their heads.

What do you think, FlashForward fans? Did you find “Future Shock” a fitting epitaph for the show, or yet another disappointment?

Comments (68)
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Its annoying that shows like Heroes managed to drag on for 4 seasons while shows like FlashForward had to be contend with only one season. Previously Threshold and Invasion were also abruptly culled, just when they were getting interesting. I think in future, I will wait for the morons who decide these things to confirm that there will be continuity before watching any new show.
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I really think that FlashForward should continue and the second sesaon can be a big success IF the writers learn from their mistakes :) I hope that somewhere in the feature we will see a second season
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the final episode was fantastic especailly the shootout in the FBI Building and the shocking finale with the explosion. Bring it bk, please please please.
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It looks like the writers/producers could have learned from some mistakes they made in the first season, and gone on to make a better second season, based on the new flashes that we saw in the finale. Sigh. I guess we will never know.
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I thought this show continued to grow and get bettere every week- big disappointment to see it go..will write ABC and I never do that
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Second Season Now! Please!
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I really liked FF and was so disappointed that V was picked up instead. My teenage son liked both and thought both should be picked up with Lost going off the air. There were a few episodes that were sluggish but Lost has sluggish episodes as well. I thought it really had gained steam after the winter hiatus and made us want to make sure we saw it every week. Now we are left hanging since they cancelled it. They need to make a TV movie to wrap it all up. Another show like Life on Mars and Eli Stone (dumped in midseason-no story wrap up) that I have to get on DVD. ABC brings out really good shows and then dumps them. Frustrating.
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I thought the ending was good in setting up a second series but as a overall finale it was disappointing as it did leave unanswered questions the biggest one being who actually caused the blackout? However we do have to remember that the show was cancelled after the final episode had been wrapped up so they didnt have time to change the ending and the creators would have expected the show to be comissioned for a second season. Overall it was a choice between this and another ABC sci-fi show called V, and V has been renewed for a second series but this hasnt.
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The ending was as satisfying as being one off every number in the Lottery
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Okay.. NOW I'M REALLY MAD!!! come on!!! They should've shot another final just in case the show you know would be axed! Now we actually are wondering..........................
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The only problem with this show were its writers (the premise was fantastic, the actors, magnificent). Even I have more imagination than they've shown us so far. Not fair that such a cast and such a potentially great show go down the drain...
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The only problem with this show were its writers (the premise was fantastic, the actors, magnificent). Even I have more imagination than they've shown us so far. Not fair that such a cast and such a potentially great show go down the drain...
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Ok I am VERY bummed that FF is gone not because of the subpar story lines that were going on but because the second FF that occured world wide was clearly different. The daughter had a flashforward 8 or so years in the future and others had different types of flash fowards. At least thats how they made it out. I was thinking if they did do a second season would they take a page from Despearate Housewives and fast foward to the year the daughter saw her turning and saying they found him, clearly meaning they are talking about Mark after he jumps out of the building when it blows up, which was cool by the way. I love the line what did you see on this day and he popped him with the shotgun and ran to the window to leap for the helicopter.
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FF definitely deserves a second season. I'm tired of great shows being canceled like that... People should get together and do something about it, much like it happened with Jericho, which got us another handful of episodes which were delightful!
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I love it it was like some sort of revenge you know the guys that made FlashForward maybe got angry because the show was cancelled and they said "So you didnt pick us up? Fine im not going to make a descent end!!!"

jajajaaj



XO XO



:):):):):):):):):)
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sometimes I wish it was a channel like Showtime or HBO that would pick up these interesting serials. FlashForward suffered from the commercial vehicle that was carrying it. At least on HBO or whoever, they could've done what they planned, even if it did end.
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interesting
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FLASHFORWARD DISERVES A SECOND SEASON : ITS A PITY IF THEY DONT DO AN OTHER SEASON .
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well.. most have been said already.. its just really disappointing when a promising new show couldn't deliver. Its even more difficult to accept that this proves the networks right all along, that reality shows do bring in the big bucks..
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the series ended just like it started - poorly.

poor show, throughout the season. i had high hopes for it, but it never delievered and it was an utter and complete waste of time.
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i agree totally, could not have put it better myself. just disappointing. with such an intresting premise for a show maybe someone will resurrect it in the future -hindsight is 2020.....
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I was angry when I found out that FlashForward had lost the battle of being renewed to V... I watch(ed) both shows, but I by far preferred FF, but now, after watching the rest of FF's episodes, I'm not mad anymore, just disappointed, because the writers had a whole season of 22 episodes to get it right, and in my opinion, they didn't, and it's a shame, the story had lots of potential, oh well. I would still watch the show if somehow there were a second season though!
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I haven't seen the second part of the finale.. but I think that after the huge break the show came back better than before but still the ratings sucked.. meh..
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I thought the finale was one of the best episodes. This show was never a "great show" though and I will probably never rewatch it. I think it's more suitable to compare this episode to the final episode of Season 1 of Lost. Did anyone actually care what happened to these people as much as they did while watching the Season 1 Lost finale?
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The finale was great, I never missed an episode, Dont know why they cancelled it. Never gona know what happened after the 2nd flash forward. ABC shouldn't cancelled the show. Wish there was more to come.
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I thought the finale was incredible. I loved it! But it definitely did make me wish there was more coming.
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I still hope someone will pick FF up. The finale proved that the show has potential for at least one more good season.
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The problem the series had was the first batch of episodes before they retooled it. When they came back the show was rock solid character and story wise (there were still some off moments) it was very compelling. Now the problem was that everyone had already bailed on the show and it was to late to get into this heavily serialized tale. Honestly now that Lost and 24 are off the air I think serialized shows are going to have a hard time making and staying in rotation. Buckle up everyone...more reality shows and retarded game shows.
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The message of axing the series has come as a surprise to me. Even more so when I learnt that "V" was a competitor to FlashForward. Not that I am a movie expert, but I can see the difference between the "Lost"-type film like FlashForward and Walt-Disney-type one like "V". In my opinion these two movies are for different audiences. There are certainly people who will watch both of them, but even so, it will be for different reasons. If you are into mystery, a bit of science/science-fiction, you will see FlashForward. You want easy entertainment, you watch "V". FlashForward seems to be targeted at grown-up population, while "V" at teenagers, perhaps that is the reason why "V" was chosen.

To the decision makers: What are we supposed to watch now that "Lost" is over and "FlashForward" cancelled? "It can't be "V", can it?
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I liked season finale very much. Can't belive we won't see the continuation of the story. :(
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I think it deserved second chance and a second season, with Lost gone i think the show could attract a lot more viewers, and give the writers a final chance to do something good.
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Me two Buffyangel4ever i loved flash forward despite what others say every episode had me on the edge of my seat i loved it you could never figure who the real bad guy was at least for me in my personal opinion it never should have been canned i know there a lot of horney people out there who like v but to be honest to me Flash Forward had its own sex appeal and i think abc seriously needs to reconsider Flash Forward could be one of the greats if they give it a fair shot
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They tried really hard, but as you said the writting was so poor... great cast, some interesting characters, others no so much (I love Joseph Fiennes, but Mark has to be the stupidest main caracther ever... they could have used him in so many interesting ways)... I hope if they bring the show back to life, they manage to fix it... it was just getting interesting.
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I'm still ticked off at ABC for cancelling FlashForward so quickly and leaving us with a crappy series finale.
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I'm glad I didn't stick around to see the end of this series. Sounds like it got even worse as time went on.
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Never liked lost, watched first season and that was it,
Flashforward i liked but as all shows that ends to so soon you will feel empty .
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Also, I'm glad that Lost was mentioned; took me no more than 5, or 6 episodes to realize it was to be totally pointless... Heroes I kept watching, somehow, until the Petrelli brothers got separated (by death :)). At least, then, we were introduced to the idea that the show was ending (& gradually, too, with the brother 'coming back'). That was a good move (obviously without both/either of the brothers, there was to be no show).

Anyway, this is a genuine problem, with the pattern of all these 21st century shows. Fast paced, fast paced (Terminator, Prison Break anyone); & then anything else becomes boring and unwatchable. What's next, you'd ask...

Why are we allowing to be served like this? Many homes of well-standing people don't have TVs, or actually they will only have a movie selection, or something similar. The rest of us, common folk, some will fear what's coming, others excited; but not a single person will be unaffected. Basically I'm pissed off that - most probably - there's nothing to look forward to. :$

P.S.
Except, ofc., Californication s04 :-D
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"The story of a bunch of interesting characters who are continually getting screwed with by writers who don’t know what they’re doing."-I don't know about anyone else but this could also serve as an apt summary for Heroes. I don't say that to be mean, it's just the truth. The summary of FF's series finale could also really well describe Heroes' Season Four finale. It's incredible how many comparisons Flashforward and Heroes actually have. Unlike FF, Heroes actually had a pretty good first season but after that, it was lost in a miasma of confusing subplots, ignoring interesting characters in favor of a bunch of boring ones, and writers who just didn't know what they were doing. Like FF, Heroes was great at setting up wonderful ideas and enigmas but was unable to see them through. Which is a shame because both shows could actually have been really great and had long, satisfying runs had there have been a solid plan all the time.
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I agree for the most parts. The show had problems in the story-telling. But still, it was one of the shows that i looked forward to see every week. I'm dissapointed with it's cancelation. Besides, i saw the trailers for the new shows that will premiere next fall, and they suck (with the exception of an ordinary family).
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i dont want FlashForward to end this way :( is not fair! maybe it wasn the best show ever but atleast it was fun and entertaining to watch!
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And FlashForward will be released on DVD, why? If people wouldn't watch it for free, why would they pay for it? It certainly will never be a Firefly, so why even bother? Personally, I liked the show, but once was enough. As for the Lost Finale, a really bad joke perpetrated on their viewership because they wrote stuff that cannot ever be explained, simply because it didn't make sense...
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Flashforward was the story of a bunch of interesting characters who are continually getting screwed with by writers who don’t know what they’re doing, and ended up feeling half-assed, thrown together, and incomplete, because it was. For anyone who liked or did not like this show I direct you to the novel it was based on. If you don't like to read I may point out that you are doing so now. So go to amazon and buy the book. It is well written, interesting, fast paced and coherent. In other words everything the show wasn't. Half the characters in this show deserved to die. If you see the future and you are getting killed in a office building, lose your wife and you fell off the wagon, then you drive your wife away, get drunk and go to the office building minutes before you are supposed to die. You deserve to die! Mark Benford is the dumbest character every created and he is not in the book. READ THE BOOK for gods sake THEY FLASHFORWARD 20 YEARS!
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I know the show isn't perfect but I really enjoyed it I hated how it ended though
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I'm too tired to go into my own Critic review at the moment, but I have to admit you got it pretty spot on for FlashForward even down to how I felt about the finale itself. Good on you Leonard
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Too bad the show got canned. I thought the season final was great.
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i almost agree with you , but flashforward need another season to prove itself, it was a great show unlike several other shows ( reality shows !!!! really ) , give it another chance not because the last or the final episode was great no , bt for the whole story
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I thought the finale was great but I did not find the final show to be satisfying once I learned that it will be no more! The show left me thinking that there would be more shows next season to cover the issues that the finale didnt quite finish -- e.g., who did the "find" for Charlie? Would like to see it continue somewhere.
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Flashforward was a great, great show, excellent "final" episode... To be continued in another network??? We hope so...and please NO MORE reality shows!!!
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I'm not saying flashforward was the best thing since sliced bread but it's far better than most of the crap thats out these days. It had it's flaws (Mark had all the emotional intrigue of a grapefruit!), but it could have been great. I think it should be picked up by another network and have Bryan Fuller take over as head writer :D
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it was great episode and great show... I'll miss it.
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