The Event Could Be Just That

Finally, it’s here. The throbbing sci-fi series bent on filling the crater Lost left behind and the barely visible pinhole bequeathed by FlashForward. The Event (Channel 4, 9pm, from Friday, October 22) has a lot of work to do but this confident opener, with its clever chopping back and forth in time, will hold your attention. It’s a builder. There’s a lot of intricate plotting to unpick and, while you’ll leave the first episode with "The Event" still to happen, enough transpires to make you want more (lucky then, that the second episode airs directly after the first).

Sean Walker (Jason Ritter) plays a good guy who’s unwittingly drawn into a dark plot, though what triggered his involvement will remain a mystery at least until episode two. We first glimpse Sean as he nervously exits an aeroplane toilet. The opener reveals fragments of the incidents that culminated with him getting on a plane and the seemingly insane thing he does next. First off, we flit back to his Caribbean cruise ship holiday with girlfriend Leila (Sarah Roemer). At another moment in time we meet her nice family: mum, dad and a little sister.

Elsewhere, a newish leader of the free world, President Martinez (Blair Underwood) prepares to announce that he’s going to release nearly 100 detainees from a military prison in Alaska. Instantly you’ll reach for a Guantanamo comparison, but that would be much too straightforward.

Whoever the prisoners are, we do know they have a leader: Sophia Maguire, played by sensible, kindly ER actress, Laura Innes. She has to be one of the good guys, surely. But, undoubtedly, this is the kind of series that will toy with us by flipping characters between good and evil camps. So, if at some point Sophia reveals a penchant for eating her enemies’ organs or it turns out she keeps a Sarah Palin scrapbook, I won’t exactly fall off my chair.

Martinez, however, is indisputably a standard issue Good President whose smooth skin, square jaw and stunning family compliment his worthy morals. Basically, he’s 24’s president David Palmer, only this guy could find work as an underwear model if the politics thing doesn’t work out. Any messing with his allegiances will only come about because he has his people’s best interests at heart. At least, that’s what you’re supposed to think. Already this show is messing with my head and I'm not the only one to like it--NBC has given it a full-season pickup already!

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