Looking Forward to FlashForward

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Last night's FlashForward preview at Hollywood's Arclight theater was filled with fun and surprises -- from the red carpet event before the screening, to the show itself, to the post-screening panel with the producers and cast. FlashForward focuses on the lives of a group of people in Los Angeles who, like everyone else on the planet, lost consciousness at the exact same time. During the two minute and seventeen second blackout, everyone saw a glimpse of their own future. Some of these FlashForwards are terrifying, some are hopeful, and most make absolutely no sense. As the show picks up, it focuses on the FBI agents who are trying to understand how and why these FlashForwards happen. They quickly determine that the event is part some sort of world-reaching foul play.

The Arclight was filled with fans who won tickets through a promotion with Entertainment Weekly, and the atmosphere was one of intense curiosity and anticipation. The man sitting next to me admitted that his only knowledge of the show came from ads played during episodes of Lost , but that his friend won the tickets and he wanted to see what it was all about. In front of me there was a row of fans so enthusiastic that they filled out their surveys before the event even started, marking every aspect of the show as excellent, including the other ABC fall schedule previews that were played before the feature.

The show was incredible, and trust me when I say that I am shocked I felt that way. I expected most of the sci-fi to go over my head, the drama portions to be forced and hard to attach myself to, and the special effects to be embarrassingly bad. Instead, FlashForward is one of the most savvy, heart-felt, enjoyable, head-turning shows I've watched in recent years.

It's difficult to discuss this show without revealing major plot-points, so let me just say this: Watch this show. It doesn't matter if you don't like other shows in the genre -- it defies genre. If you live in one of those homes where it's impossible to find a program everyone wants to watch, I suggest gathering the family on September 29th to give FlashForward a try.

After the premiere was over, the producers and the cast came out for a panel discussion and questions from the audience. Naturally, there were a lots of "you have to tune in to find out!"s, but show creator and producer David S. Goyer offered up plenty of explanation on what he could answer.

When asked if the show was pre-planned or made up as they went along, Goyer quickly responded "I have a five year plan, not unlike Stalin. We know what caused the flash..." and went on to reference Lost as a show that, to him, did not have such a plan when they started. "It's going to be a more satisfying viewing experience," Goyer said.

That brought to mind this question: Is FlashForward going to be one of those extremely frustrating shows to watch? A show where major questions are left unanswered until three seasons down the line? Goyer made it very clear to the room at the Arclight last night that FlashForward will not do that. "I hate it when something major happens and no one on the show talks about it," again, most likely referencing Lost. "All of our characters will ask the same questions the audience will."

Goyer also strongly recommended that the audience join in online at RedPandaResources.com (which John Cho quickly said was "not a reference to [co-star] Brian O'Byrne's genitailia"), as well as Mosaic.com and TruthHack.com. All three websites will be featured on the show, and the cast will use them to interact with the audience as much as possible.

Overall, last night turned out to be a pleasant surprise. As fans left the theater and collected their complimentary FlashForward t-shirts, everyone was smiling, and there were a lot of "that was sooooo good"s exchanged between friends. The hype surrounding this show is worthwhile. I know where I'll be on Thursday nights.

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