FlashForward is NOT the Next Lost

ABC's FlashForward entered the fall season as one of television's most anticipated series, largely because there were so many comparisons to the excellent Lost. Featuring common cast members, mind-bending mysteries, and some nifty Lost cross-promotion, the comparisons were justified. But I know Lost, and FlashForward is no Lost.

I've got a better comparison to make: FlashForward is the new Heroes (and that's not a compliment). I'm really trying to like the show, but it just won't let me. And that's why after three episodes, it's time to let FlashForward go. (Yes, I know I'm setting myself up as public enemy number one here, feel free to throw rocks in my direction.)

The premise for the uninitiated: FlashForward is about the aftermath of a worldwide blackout of the lost consciousness variety. Everyone experiences visions of their future exactly six months ahead. Thematically, FlashForward tackles free will, human relations, and the dangers of knowing the future. Sounds like a killer premise, right? It is, but a killer premise does not a good show make (see: Heroes).

We'll ignore the gaping plot holes (the greatest worldwide disaster ever and everyone goes back to normal?), because that would be too easy. At its best, FlashForward is a mediocre Jerry Bruckheimer-esque sci-fi film -- along the lines of Deep Impact -- or a second-rate Independence Day or some other movie that takes itself way too seriously. The producers aren't afraid to use music cues and other tricks to pound into viewers' brains that a certain scene is dramatic (remember Joe Fiennes' slow-mo sprint in the pilot? Barf!) -- even when said scenes are fairly dull (see: Heroes). If one new show tries too hard this season, it's FlashForward.

The dialogue isn't helping either. Check out this gem from last night's episode:

American Lady: Isn't this where Sophie Scholl and the rest of the White Rose Nazi resistance group were executed?
German Escort Man: If I'm not mistaken your country eradicated its indigenous Indian population and practiced institutionalized slavery for 250 years.
Joe Fiennes: We also gave the world Britney Spears.
Me: I think I just threw up in my mouth.

Lost has its occasional dialogue flubs, but what it does incredibly well is show the audience what it wants them to know rather than tell them. FlashForward is so surface-level that it's flat.

*Side-note: There's a little drinking game you can play while watching FlashForward -- take a gulp every time someone says "Flash Forward," you'll be tanked by the second commercial break and better suited to watch the rest of the episode.

Acting-wise, FlashForward is in trouble as well. Fiennes plays the lead character like a man who has a permanent worried or shamed look on his face, and his character is still as thin as a piece of paper. The only people bringing anything to their roles are John Cho, who is excellent as Korean-American FBI agent Demetri Noh, and Courtney B. Vance, who plays his supervisor. Everyone else, way too one-dimensional (see: Heroes).

It's unfortunate that FlashForward wasn't able to execute its premise better, it could really have been a deep-thinking show. I'm hoping it can turn around soon.

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PS: It's not good enough to be compared to Heroes either...
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I know LOST, and this is no LOST!
Good concept, but God awful execution. and just terrible writing.
Typical Network crap`:
1. Sensitive, sad music that doesn't match the scenes
2. "As time goes by scenes" in the very beginning of an episode for no apparent reason, and without connection to the major theme.
3. Interpersonal love stuff that no one cares about. In fact, 90% of all of the scenes are worthless ABC soap Opera junk.
Shows like this have put networks like this (ABC) behind HBO and Showtime for years.... All Except One Show... LOST! Why can't they learn?
Oh, and the show has no flow or momentum. Please cancel it.
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I really like the premise and wanted to see Fiennes as he was brilliant in Shakespeare in love. However every moan about Lost I have made in the past I take back and then some. This show has become so boring. I am hoping that Charlie from Lost will help to turn it around. Is Fiennes trying to channel Marlon Brando, I swear he is riffing him (badly) in some scenes. He looks like he is constipated or suffering from piles in most scenes. Come back Lost all is forgiven. I now watch FF to laugh at the bad acting. Penny from Lost is probably the worst most annoying actor and yet I didn;t find here that annoying in lost.
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Are you people stupid? This show was awesome and a very worthy replacement to have when Lost is almost over. It has some similarities, but it's different. The premise is great and the actors are very good. I really hope this lasts long enough to at least get a proper ending. For me it was like a mix of The 4400 and Lost, very "epic" in a way. I want to know what happens, so DON'T CANCEL IT!
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i'm most likely not going to bother watching because the premise sucks. i may be desperate for something to watch but not to the point where i'll watch crap like heroes or this.
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kinda agree - i'm getting bored with Flash Forward already, right now i'm just counting down the days till Lost is back... Heroes is a bit better this season, but honestly I could care less about that show anymore.
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It's like you read my mind. I started watching "FastForward" because I found the premise really interesting. But I soon realized how badly it was written, directed and acted. The only moment I enjoyed was at the end of the first episode (or was it the second one): when the footage of a video surveillance showed the guy who wasn't affected by the blackout. That's it.
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I have never watched Lost or Heroes, so I can't really compare Flash Forward to either of them. I've really enjoyed watching the first few episodes of Flash Forward. I think the premise is really clever and different. And different on TV now is rare. Okay, I'll admit some of the dialogue could be better and some of the special effects and music are sort of corny. But the fact is the concept is so appealing to me that I can overlook the bad.
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Good analysis -- but no show is really going to be the next Lost. Too many have tried & failed the past few years. FlashForward is a good concept & I think the last episode really took the show in a new direction -- that of actually learning more about the characters. That -- along with a cool premise -- will keep them coming back. It's not like Lost really had everyone hooked until 'Walkabout' about 4 episodes into Season 1.
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@ Jaxx829: "The fact that "FlashForward" is not comparable to "Lost" is a compliment from my perspective."
I couldn't agree more with your opinion. And for all people that think the future can be changed so easily read some science fiction first. What if the future that you saw in your flashforward is a direct result of you actually experiencing a flashforward in the past? That would mean that having the flashforward in the first place is what made you act in a way that eventually got you killed.
So far Flashforward in an entertaining show, that doesn't have any of the nonsense/mindless of Heroes, and personally i like Joseph Fiennes after watching his performance in Shakespeare in Love.
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Before I watched the first episode I read Robert J. Sawyer's sf novel published in 1999. In the novel, CERN's LHC is running an experiment at the exact time of the FlashForward so they think they caused it. The scientists should & do investigate the event, while security agencies are wrongly focused on the possible terrorist causes. But I imagine making it into a "cop/doc" show was too easy & irresistable for the suits. Blah. Stanford's SLAC is close as a location, but its not as powerful as the LHC where 14 TeV collisions are planned. Simcoe belongs back at CERN. The network has dumbed it down too much.
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I'm still very much enjoying this show. It's not Lost. Actually I wouldn't know since season one of Lost is still sitting unopened right here on my desk.

Heroes, though ... I broke up with Heroes this past week.

http://iamatvjunkie.typepad.com/i_am_a_tv_junkie_a_blog_f/2009/10/not-to-pile-on-but-im-breaking-up-with-heroes.html
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I agree with comparison to Heroes. A show that spends much of its time explaining what the show is about lacks confidence.
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I feel so bad for Heroes sometimes. :) The difference between Flash Forward and Heroes is that Heroes really did have a great first season! Now, I'm not saying it's still great or anything. . . but try to remember that it wasn't a disaster from the beginning.
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+111111111111 agreed!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! after 2 epis i would surely disagree bevause i liked it,and the pilot was very like Lost but the 3rd episode was so disgusting and the whole epi was just a big JOKE(see:Heroes)!!!!
As a Huge LOSTAHOLIC i really wanted to have a great show to watch after it's over and i hoped FF would be such...so sorry it didn't turn out as expected..i know it's IMPOSSIBLE to make show exactly like Lost but they should've learned something from it....
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so you're bashing on a new show just because it's not as good as a show that's been airing for 5 years? and then you compare it with another show that has nothing to do with to show what? because heroes had a great first season, i would be more than happy to get a great first season out of flash forward and so far it's not dissapointing anyone other than the people who thought it would be another show. You should read your article again and realize how fanboyish you sound, it makes no sense, other than your opinion towards joseph fiennes (which i do not share but it's an opinion at least) you say nothing to validate your point about how this show is not as good as lost. If your point is only to show this show is not lost, i agree, it's a different show, but i do not think you need to writte an article here to say something everybody knows. Btw this show is not the next battlestar galactica (just in case you feel like you need to point that out too).
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so you're bashing on a new show just because it's not as good as a show that's been airing for 5 years? and then you compare it with another show that has nothing to do with to show what? because heroes had a great first season, i would be more than happy to get a great first season out of flash forward and so far it's not dissapointing anyone other than the people who thought it would be another show. You should read your article again and realize how fanboyish you sound, it makes no sense, other than your opinion towards joseph fiennes (which i do not share but it's an opinion at least) you say nothing to validate your point about how this show is not as good as lost. If your point is only to show this show is not lost, i agree, it's a different show, but i do not think you need to writte an article here to say something everybody knows. Btw this show is not the next battlestar galactica (just in case you feel like you need to point that out too).
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Okay I don't get it.
I watch all three, Heroes, Lost & Flash Forward. Have since they started.
& what I don't understand is which show you're comparing FF to?
Heroes or Lost? Pick One & stick with it for god's sakes!
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This is exactly the comparison I was looking for. I originally watched it because of the Lost comparisons, so I got hyped - but from the beginning, it was clear that FlashForward could never be Lost, no matter how many parallels there are. Heroes is a much more likely influence.
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I'll not be throwing any rocks, but I do want to give this show enough time to see if it will deepen as it unfolds. I guess I want to like it a little more than you do, Tim. I agree that it is NOT the next LOST, but I am not sure anything ever will be. So I will settle (for now) for the current FlashForward and let it take me where it will (at least for a while longer).
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I love this show! And not everyone is saying that it's like Lost. I don't even watch Lost. And yes, I did watch a couple of eps of Lost but couldn't get into it. I rather watch this show over Lost.
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I love it so far, this is way too harsh. It made funny reading, but I disagree with it. I've never watched Lost and I don't really care about it, so can people please stop comparing it to everything and start treating FlashForward like an independent show?
One thing I do have to admit, though, is that the dialogue is really shallow and doesn't make us think at all. I'M NOT COMPARING, but I prefer the deeper, more thought provoking dialogues of something like House.
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and what's with this article writer feeling he needs to state that John Cho is playing the part of a "Korean-American" FBI agent but doesn't specifically state the nationality of any other character????
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I have to agree that the show is disappointing because it could be so much better. People seemed to get back to normal too easily. The hospital didn't seem to be in disaster mode. Also, would anybody really fly - or drive for that matter - if they were worried it would happen again? I'm just curious whether the show is moving in real time and what will happen when we reach the date in April that everyone saw.
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There is not a thing On TV now. About 98% of it is TRASH.... I do watch Law and Order. And CSI Miami...CSI is in the Tank. When W.P left that was it for CSI. And I see they are changing CSI Miami. So it may go in the tank soon?
And NBC took our ER. And put TRASH in its place...Now you know why I love NetFlix and BlockBuster.
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This show is as intriguing as watching somebody try to start a car with a dead battery.
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IMHO, you are being too harsh. I like FF. I just want to be entertained and that's what I get from it. So far, it hasn't been all about immoral sex, politics, and gay angst. After only 3 eps, I'm curious where the writers are taking it.
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TBH...I can't seem to jump on to the Lost bandwaggon...It was unique and interesting but now it's getting rediculous... The Pilot for Flash Forward was brilliant and it has so far kept me hooked and entertained. Lost bores me... I like all the mysteries and mythos but that's about it.
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I have to disagree in two respects and agree in this one respect, "FlashForward" is fatally flawed.



I do however disagree with the idea that "FlashForward" is comparable to "Heroes." Here I see no comparison. "Heroes" is a somewhat novel storyline that is being played out in an absurdly atrocious way. I started to retch on Heroes during the first season and stopped watching altogether at the beginning of the second. "Heroes" makes no attempt to create episodes that I am willing to believe for the sake of its entertain value in favor of wildly stupid ones that I do not care to believe because they are too absurd to entertain me. "FlashForward" does quite the opposite. The individual episodes seem entertaining of enough. I keep having a problem with this one great big gapping plot hole. There is no way the future can be played out exactly or even in a closely parallel way to the future foreseen by all the people on the planet. From the moment these people awakened at the very least a small percentage of them would start altering their choices away from the foreseeable future and that would be enough to initiate a chain reaction that would affect everyone else. You cannot see the future and live it too.



My second disagreement has to deal with "Lost." The fact that "FlashForward" is not comparable to "Lost" is a compliment from my perspective. I know that "Lost" has a large fan following. But "Lost" lost me as a fan during the second season. I do not like being strung along on an endless mystery that has no unifying answer for the many disconnected conundrums that the writer/producers seemed to be concocting for this show on the fly. "Lost" is not a mystery show. It's a fraud. It pretends to be a mystery to string the audience along. I for one find this EXTREMELY annoying.



"FlashForward" is a flawed premise that is being played out in mildly interesting and credible episodes.
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Everyone thought it would be the new LOST, but these two shows are so different that they are even in different dimensions!! Lost is A and FlashForward is B- !!!
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Its true, Lost is much better. Flash forward hasn't done anything to wow me yet or make me think - I never saw that coming. Its too predictable - and yes the acting is quite poor - except for Cho, although hes Sulu to me now.
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I really like FF so far. There are some plot holes but I'm hoping they will be filled once the show goes on. I'm LOVING John Cho btw. He's all kinds of awesome!
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Could you give it more time the show. It was just three episodes, give a chance to FF..
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Interesting, because I gave up on Lost before halfway through season one (as did most of the rest of the UK, it seems) because NOTHING HAPPENED. Maybe it got better after, I don't know; but if it did, that's an argument for giving FlashForward a go. It's not the best show on TV and it needs tweaks to improve it, but the premise is interesting and at least it seems to be going somewhere... unlike a certain island-based show was this early on...
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I agree with every word Surette has said. FlashForward is as bad as Heroes has ever been, and it is defenitely NOT the next Lost (neither is Heroes, which was also promocioned as the new Lost).
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I usually just read posts on this site and then move on but OMG IMO the person who wrote this one needs to be taken out back and shot or at the least banned/fired from writing posts, I mean are you even watching the same program?

Sure I can agree that Flashforward is no Lost but thats like the only thing that was said here that has any merit whatsoever.
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Ouch. Heroes slander. oooooh you went there. yeah tho everything else you've said is true.
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THANK you for this. I'd suggest the comparison -- at best -- is to an enjoyably bad show like THE 4400. The 'back to normal' bit is the most obvious absurdity -- think about a world where everyone in car at that moment, or in a plane, or near a fire that untended could burn down a house is now dead. (And maybe 50% of people even walking up or down stairs, climbing ladders, or leaning out a window are in the hospital.) Yet the only delay was getting planes flying again, everything else, business, transportation, television, government are simply acting like its been a bad day.



But that's only the beginning. "Can you change your future?" Easy, if you saw a body part, get it tattooed. For that matter, chop off the end of a finger -- or, if you are of a mind to, kill someone you saw in the flash forward. And think of how people who believe the FFs would act. In fact, imagine if you 'knew for certain' you'd be alive six months from now. That means any dangerous thing you tried would be safe, from bungee jumping to robbing a bank. (Me, I'd finally try the luge, at least.)



Agreed that the performances of Cho and Vance are highspots, in a real collection of low lights.
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This is pretty interesting if true
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I personally love it. Creeps me out a little though. yet I did not like lost, whether it was the dialogue, the unrealistic action-drama scenes, and the unnatural "violence" that each character succombed to at one point, I'm not sure...

but overall I'm starting to get the feeling that flashforward will be a better show. better than heroes at least that's for sure..

God I can't even get over how bad heroes turned out to be...
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I have to disagree that this show is the new Heroes. But otherwise this show will never be able to match up the mysticism that Lost created in their pilot season and the seasons to follow that. The problem is Flash Forward is poorly paced at the moment but it is based on a novel so the pace is obviously going to be relatively slow paced. The show had an exceptional pilot with a great cliff hanger but episode 3's cliff hanger was nothing special with the birds, it was just simply ineffective. There is still time for this show and you shouldn't give up on it just yet, there may just be something in store for this show.
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3 eps is not enough time to properly judge. Buffy took 10 Angel 8 X-files 6, before storylines became tighter and chemistry developed between lead actors.
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I agree completely, I hate FlashForward so far...
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Feel more like 4400 then lost to me.



Massive scale of the event and the humanity change effect it bring.



No special/magic/supernatural, more like science way ahead of what we know.



I like it and will follow it hoping it will go on for a few seasons.



We'll ignore the gaping plot holes (the greatest worldwide disaster ever and everyone goes back to normal?)



America got the worst disaster in its history and everyone did go back to normal...almost



In the show, it did took the 3rd episode to get plane flying again so not totally normal.



I don't think humanity would just sit on their ass and wait to starve if that happen.



I think you were looking for flaws when you wrote that.
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I disagree, I love the show so far.
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German Escort Man: If I'm not mistaken your country eradicated its indigenous Indian population and practiced institutionalized slavery for 250 years.


I don't think any german would answer like that nowadays. Nazism is something they want to forget
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It's hard to watch any show nowadays without some kind of vicious anti-Americanism. Flashforward is no different. Comparing Nazi Germany to America is not only disgusting it's also bordering on anti-Semitic. Political ideology has trumped money when it comes to the media.
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FlashForward's only problem to me is the pacing so far. I love the storyline and the characters. I would just like the action to be a little more intense and the amount of questions raised/answered to be a little higher in quantity. It did just get a full season pickup though so it has time to get better. These types of shows usually need some room to flesh out much like comedies do. After all, these aren't boring procedurals that old people seem to love so much.
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I'll give it more time, maybe it will get better but the show is not bad at all. I think it just needs more compelling storylines that the one from the 3rd episode.
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I think this show will be on the same level as lost. I love lost and always have but the show didn't start off as the same amazing show it is now. It took time for us to see all the connects and growth, all the things that make it different from other shows. Season one was just people stuck on an island dealing with issues until like midseason. I liked lost since the first episode but it didn't get incredible until it had time to grow. Flash forward has been become and with time it has the potential to become incredible like lost as long as it doesn't change its style. I have faith that flashforward will not lose direction and will grow to become an incredible show like lost grew to the state it is now.
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