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The Event: We Waited Three Months For That?

Note: I gave The Event an honest second chance after its break, so here's a regular review for those of you who are jumping into the show for the first time. I'll get back to the circus events usually found in my Event reviews next week!

I could get all academic about the first half of The Event and discuss the trappings of serialized sci-fi dramas, one-dimensional characters, and convoluted plots, but I'm pretty much as far as you can get from being a learned man, and it's much easier to discuss this show in layman's terms: It's horrible.

Sure, the first half of the season had intrigue—if your idea of intrigue is waiting around for someone to give you the answer to a question you asked several months ago. There are aliens, which is generally a plus, but so far these aliens appear to be little more than human beings with better anti-aging beauty products. And then there's the ballyhooed "Event" on the horizon, which may or may not be the mass arrival of more human-looking aliens, which at this point, would be incredibly disappointing. At least V got that out of the way within its first 10 minutes.

The Event returned after a bizarre three-month break in which any momentum it had built up was, to quote President Martinez, eviscerated by the launch of The Cape—a show that at least admitted it was utterly ridiculous. And instead of returning last night with a dazzling display of fireworks and course-correcting (a necessary implementation, given the near-universal lashing the show receives from critics), The Event remained unchanged. Which is great news for those of us who watch the show because it's such a trainwreck. *raises hand*

We got two hours of amateur sci-fi drama last night, and much of it was spent rehashing the events of the previous episodes and confirming what we pretty much already knew. What little forward movement occurred happened at a snail's pace. Example: For the first 51 minutes of Part 1, we saw Leila fret over whether or not she's half-alien, even though we'd figured out that yes, she is, in November, when it was made obvious. Even my cats knew! I'm not asking The Event to put geniuses on TV, but the main characters should be able to find their way out of a paper bag. At least Leila's hot.

We also learned the contents of Thomas' message, when a SETI tech's screensaver unscrambled it: "Preparations are being made for your arrival." Given that at the end of Episode 10 we already knew the satellite was actually sending a message to the alien peeps back home, this was about as exciting as intercepting a top-secret message that reads, "Hey, how's it going?"

Leila and her family (minus mom, who's dead and already forgotten) finally reunited, essentially voiding much of the storyline from the first half of the season while we waited for her to find them. To be fair, things are becoming slightly clearer, with many of the chess pieces moving across the board into the positions they should have started in last September. Leila and Sean are now hangin' with Sophia and Michael, because these are the good guys, right?

I loved it when Michael was telling Leila he'll tell her all the answers to the questions she has. It was that perfect moment when we as an audience perk our ears up and say, "FINALLY!" Of course, he followed his promise with a "But...," and that's when we realized that we're gonna learn s***. That moment was a perfect microcosm for the series. Lost could get away with not revealing answers because it had several of the other characteristics that are typically expected of a show that's actually on television, like decent writing and respectable acting. You know, TV's salt and pepper.

In the Oval Office, President Martinez had a new problem: a nosy senator from Alaska (played by Virginia Madsen) who lots of people are saying resembles Sarah Palin. Personally, I don't see it, because I don't have any inclination to punch Madsen's character in the face. But she played poker, so she knows Martinez is bluffing (seriously, she said that) and hiding something. It looks like she will spend the rest of her time on the show hanging out in her office and appearing on Hardline with Chris Matthews, where she'll discover the cover-up conspiracy by engaging in back-and-forth threats. Round 1 went to Senator whatsherface, who out-threatened Martinez during one of Hardline's commercial breaks, even though she actually didn't get the information she demanded. So maybe President Martinez actually won that round by not having to tell her anything? I don't know. It probably wasn't the right time for the show to introduce a character like this, further muddying the waters when there's already so much other crap floating around.

There was one plotline that actually did have legs and was almost interesting, and that was Thomas taking over the top-secret, heavily guarded, Alaskan ice-prison Inostranka. He did this by luring the guards into a boiler room two-by-two after blackmailing a family-loving general who was prepared to cheat on his wife with a random stranger after a few Miller Lites. But back to the jail takeover: Guns! Men in camouflage! The murder of dissenters! This is the kind of action The Event needs more of, since it obviously doesn't give a damn about its characters. And who knew that Sterling was America's most kick-ass geriatric super agent? And who knew his weakness was sticking fingers into a hole in his back? And who knew the snow in Alaska looks just like confetti and is blood-proof? Come to think of it, maybe I should pick up some of that artificial snow for my living room—it might come in handy during next week's episode, so I don't stain my carpet while scooping out my eyes with melonballers.

Don't forget about the mysterious Dempsey (Hal Holbrook, my hero)! He managed to squeeze his way into the episodes with a few completely unnecessary appearances and give us a huge head-scratcher. Dempsey has what I call a Fate Table, which is like an adult, alien version of a Playmobil train set, and Dempsey can place blocks in tracks on the Fate Table and force Sean to cross his path? Okay, that sentence started out as statement and ended up as a question? Because really, what the heck was that thing?

NBC has labeled The Event as a combination of Lost and 24, but what the network didn't tell us was that it was a combination of the worst parts of both of those shows. Just blow up the Washington Monument already.

Now, how 'bout some clips?!
This will go down as one of my all-time favorite TV deaths.

And here's a tender moment between two people who have no chemistry and in which one person is way too sensitive about not having gotten any nookie lately.

"Why haven't you touched me?" Man, this show is GREAT.


Follow TV.com writer Tim Surette on Twitter: @TimAtTVDotCom

Comments (47)
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and as far as the event goes i like it, its entertaining, does anyone remember that? \"entertaining?\" like how we used to pick what we watched, without **** massive amounts at how that persons hair is to greasy or the sunshine isnt at the right angle, whatever you think its better than the other 90% of tv that being news reality tv and sitcoms that are on their 99th replay
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papester1873: well if your talking about the sarah palin comment, then i assume you must like her, therefore can i show you the door?
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@papester1873: You will be missed. No seriously.
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I am sick and tired of people inserting their politics in places where it doesn't need to be.After reading this and coming across the political stuff I will never return to this site again.
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I am sick and tired of people inserting their politics in places where it doesn't need to be.After reading this and coming across the political stuff I will never return to this site again.
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Flashforward gets canceled and this garbage stays on the air? It may not have had the best characters but at least it was competently suspenseful.

We need to get more serial scifi dramas with good writers.
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with so much wrong it is hard to pick. but one the worst was the whole prison break. we are asked to believe that the head of national security was all alone and nobody to call or checking. the white house is out of touch but come on he gets shot 50x.s is still alive and the girl dies,geezzz. i want to many of the characters dead anyway,esp our 1/2 human hottie. she is a screaming nut and ritter desrves better. dad should be the love interest to the head honco of the aliens,that was a missed op. senetor from alaska story was pathetic for so many reasons. the dad and daugh almost reveal was a slap and spit in our faces. ...we should not have to feel like fools for watching a tv show. bad for ratings...the actings is ok i really like ritter. they all deserve better. how dare leila complain about ritter after all he has done for her,i would have touched her alright...but he says just go to sleep and leaves..how could anyone have thought that this writting was tv worthy or book report worthy for that matter...the actors must cringe when they see the scripts...i do feel bad for them..oh well and it is opposite chicago code one of the best new shows period...that and justified will clense this horrible event from my memory...i hope...
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Leila is stupid and I laughed at her when Sean left. Really. This is a cross between FlashForward and V; that's not at all a good thing. Didn't FF even call their event "the event"? Someone explain why anyone would hybridize two awful series with unremarkable ratings.
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waste of 2 hours, maybe only 10 minutes of that 2 hour episode was worth watching.
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Story's getting more interesting now that the divide between Thomas and Sophia is widening, that'll be a storyline to follow in weeks to come! I don't think Sean should have left the way he did, it's too cliche. I understand the whole "for the greater good" or whatever the writers were going for, but seriously? After all he went through to rescue Leila and her sister and now he just walks away? It bothers me that he's give up that easily. But maybe Dempsey and the "fate table" will intervene somehow.
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I thought the highlights of the show were Virgina Madsen & Hal Holbrook.

Main problems : Sophia was at the house w/ Sean and Hot Girl (talk about vapid) why didn't they ask her why Sean couldn't go with them? When he's 80 will she still be wearing ironed t-shirts that she slept in and only have aged a week?



The best scene has to be when Micheal's guys first shoot the army guys at the gate through a closed window and the glass doesn't shatter. WTF!!

I am sorry I missed the blood resistant snow
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love it, not as bad as critics say. but not amazing either. we wil see as the story develops
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I really do love Sci-Fi. But I keep asking "What is this?" The acting is just as bad as the writing! And I have seen some of these actors in other shows and they were darn good. So please give us Sci-Fi fans something to look forward to. If the next couple shows are not any better than this one, I am through.
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Wow! I had never heard a bad word about The Event until this post. LOL I must be in the minority because I LOVE this show. It is over the top but what show on the idiot box isn't? It's only ENTERTAINMENT people and its not like if they cancel The Event it will be repaced by "better" tv. Hell, the only shows worth watching in my opinion are ESPN, NFL Network, NBA TV, True Blood, The Event and Spartacus. That said, I wish that The Wire would come back and King Henry 13th had lived 20 years longer so that The Tudors would have had more material.
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Wow, really? What a shock! The network that gave us

Bionic Woman, The Book of Daniel, Heroes, The Cape, Crusoe, Knight Rider, My Own worst Enemy,Outlaw, Persons Unknown, Quarterlife, Trauma, and

Undercovers has a poorly written, poorly acted and utterly confusing show that isn't making it in the ratings?



At least Angela Bromstad is out now. hopefully we'll see some actual improvements in their pilots to series choices...
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I thought they would have read a few reviews during the hiatus, but seems they ignored them totally, didn't learn anything from their mistakes in the first 10 episodes. What was the name of the fool who ran when thomas was standing right there with the gun? And the fool that ran after him?
And I honestly thought the senator needed more privacy, after all, it was a room full of classified documents she wasn't allowed to touch. And the "why haven't you touched me" moment was prefect conclusion to the most stupid 2 hours of tv.
Not to forget that the senator has played poker in the past!
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Other people are finally seeing what I've been saying for months: THIS SHOW IS CRAP!!!! Here's a note for NBC: PLEASE CANCEL THIS PIECE OF GARBAGE NOW PLEASE!!!
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i watch this show because it is awful, just god awful, laughably awful and predictable. I am sure screenwriting classes are being taught where students are forced to watch this show and the professor stops the tape (quite often, i assume) and says... "so, what element is hackneyed and predictible there.... what mistake did the writers do here... what overused device was at play at this moment?" Seriously.... it's so bad that i LOVE it... Someone already mentioned several times allowing the senator in her office unsupervised to retrieve embarassing love letters??? No brain-dead moron who is no meat and all vegetable would allow that to happen. AND dont get me started on stopping the car to get out and rescue your kidnapped sister... then the car wont start again after two lame attempts to start it up again.... and although there are people there, with a car, willing to help... who have called 911 to help the other kidnapped children.... they just decide to barrell through the woods? REALLY??? ---GENIUS!!! You cant make up writing this bad.... you can see it coming from 10 miles away... you would just never think anyone would find it believable. This show is beyond putrid.
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I don’t claim to be an expert, far from it, I watch shows because I find them entertaining. I find The Event entertaining, a lot more than a lot of the reality crap we are forced to pick our way through every evening, and that says a lot to me as a non expert. If you decided from day one that you were not going to like the show, we get it and may I suggest that you stop watching, that’s what I do when I don’t like a show. Stop torturing yourself and those of us who happen to find that show entertaining enough, even if it is not worthy to be covered with Emmys. No, it’s not Damages, but it’s entertaining.
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The writers always face the problem of eventually going around in circles or writing themselves into a corner on a series like this. I voiced this concern when I initially reviewed the premier episode.
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Yeah Tim, STOP WATCHING ANY SHOW



You continue to get your facts wrong
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My meds prevent me from being interested in something for too long. Like

a long criticized review. :-/ But I can still watch The Event, I find no problem in that, :-/
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wait guys,you mean this show is not canceled yet
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Here is a tip Tim: Stop watching it if you don't like it. Go back to American Idol
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It's no "Fringe" but compared to the other crap on tv, It will do!
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NBC... just axe the series; really disappointing...
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its just got to a point where the show is a composit of ideas already used and done better by other shows......the long drawn out mystery - LOST, the alien invasion - V, half human/half alien hybrids - TAKEN, kidnapped offspring - 24, unknown happenings - FLASHFORWARD. When are the execs gonna put us all out of our misery because, lets face it, when writers cant nick an already brilliant idea and make it work they need new jobs. Even though I personally didnt like Lost and FlashForward I can at least appreciate what they did and how they did it. The orginal V was a trend setter for many a scifi show and movies that featured alien invasions (Independence Day being the biggest one that jumps to mind). The first two seasons of 24 were the best of the lot (how many times can Kim get kidnapped in one 24 hr period?) and Stephen Spielberg's Taken was a masterpiece in television programming. When you have this much brilliance to be inspired by any one would think the writers could come up with something worth watching and a storyline that works
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Tim I'm pretty sure you're the only one who waited for this show to come back. I stopped watching, this show is just bad..
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I love scifi... but the scifi watching crowd is really bad and has really low standards... they keeps shows alive like this or 4400 or V.... sad.
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I forgot to DVR this, and honestly I really just don't care.
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I was disappointed too with last night's episodes. NBC, please go ahead and axe this series with The Cape. :(
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shockingly bad. just when you thought Event couldnt get any worse...
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I've been watching this since its premier, and for a while, I thought it got more hate from people than it deserved. I mean, once it got into the real meat of the series, I was a bit disappointed that it was another alien invasion story which seemed to be something a lot more interesting/unique, but I did enjoy it. That being said, I've been seeing things from the other side more and more. This last episode did certainly have its moments, mostly in the prison scenes in the second half of the episode, but I thought it could have been handled better. And there were a few places where the writing seemed to be a bit off. The best example of this is the one that headclub mentioned earlier: the President gave the orders to have the Senator's home searched, and to not let her in there, but because she says that there are "personal letters," she's given complete access to the room without question, and without any kind of supervision or anything. Honestly, the smart thing to do would to either deny her access (like the President ordered). Or, if he wanted to be nice about the "letters," he could have gone into the room himself, searched for the letters himself, glance through them to make sure they really were letters, and then hand them to her. Pretty stupid mistake. All that being said, there is a certain entertainment factor to the show, and I do plan to keep watching. Who knows, maybe they'll be able to prove themselves by the end of the season. But even if I don't, I wouldn't say it's the worst show I've seen. That "honor" still goes to Stargate Universe (sorry to fans of that show, I just couldn't stand it).
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I don't understand why folks can't wait to have questions answered. It's called mystery, suspense, intrigue. The Event is a drama, not a sitcom. You are not supposed to wrap up the storyline in a 1/2 hour. Tim's article does not mention the fact that if the writers were to take the time to develop the characters and spend time with them to get to know them, the show would be accused of dragging along. Instead, now that they are trying to move the plot along faster (which many complained it went to slow) the characters are seen as one-dimensional. What is upsetting people is the break, the story is fine, I thought the how came back last night in a huge way. I saw big improvements. I was glad to see Scott Patterson's character Michael Buchanan be freed and reunited with the girls. The show needs to tie that family in with the story and they are starting to do that now. Think about it. Michael is probably the most central character to this story. He has aligned himself with more than one side, he is an alien living among humans, he has children to protect, he knows the answers that are needed to control Thomas. They need to tighten up that storyline first and then the rest will fall into place. I just think that very few dramas hit the ground running with no problems. Any show has to be given time to find it's pace. 10 episodes with a break of three months was not the way to do that. I want to see the writers continue in the direction they are going, using Michael and his knowledge to move the story along. He holds the key. The action, other characters will fall in line.
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Yep a vast improvement. I stopped watching after episode 4 , was pleasantly surprised this 2 episodes didn't stink as much as i recalled....BUT no way am i going back to watch anything else from before the break. My advice: enough of Sean and Leyla, They are not likable in the least and frankly i couldn't care less if they disappeared from the show...entirely.
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I loved it! Worth the wait for me. :o)
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they were really good don't hate dude
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i like "the event" , remind me of the flashforward ,it was a great show i hope that the event survive, because honestly there's nothing good left on tv
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Okay, the dialogue is still weak and the acting (most glaringly from Leila) is too, but I thought these two episodes were a vast improvement. It's been withholding what we already knew all season, and it finally just came out and said (pretty much) everything, and started moving forward. They killed all the flashbacks, gave the President a little backbone, and FINALLY ended the whole Sean and Leila running around and playing with guns. The jailbreak at Inostranka was interesting, and it did take up about 85% of part II. Although they're still gettting a lot of stuff wrong, I think they're starting to get stuff right too.
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If people are going to watch bad TV deliberately then they can't complain when all there is on TV is bad.
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I will never understand while good shows like Firefly, Stargate Universe, Stargate Atlantis, Etc get canceled and yet shows like "The Event" continue. Don't get me wrong its an ok show but that's all it is, is ok nothing more for how much NBC is spending to make it is it really worth keeping it around. We waited three month for that, that was the worst two hours I have ever spent on a show.
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I'm intrigued by the fact that the posters who love this show either can't or won't articulate any basis for that love.
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Ok now..... Tim's right, this show brings awful to a whole new level. I can go on and on-- but how bout when the suits don't lets blond senator into her husbands office, and she "these aren't the droids you're looking for" them into bouncing... yeah good job guys.. weren't you given direct orders from the president not to let her in??!?!?!?!!?!?!?!?
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To say this show was written by monkeys with a typewriter would be an insult to monkeys and typewriters everywhere...
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The Event is awesome. Such a good show. I don't see how it's not good. I liked the episodes last night and await the next.
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How could anyone not like The Event? It's amazing!
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I agree this show is downright awful. I would have thought they would have learnt something from last year's disaster that was FastForward. This trash is just insulting to TV watchers. Given the cast, I expected a lot better. At least Fringe improved and grew into something awesome. The potential was always there though. The Event is just a non-event.
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