RIP Flash Forward – We'll Miss You!

FlashForwardNow - RIP Flash Forward – We'll Miss You!

June 10: The Real Blackout Happened

On June 10, 2010, fans staged a world-wide blackout for 2 minutes and 17 seconds.  You have to watch this compiled video!

“FlashForward’s” central premise, fans of the show will gather in front of ABC network and affiliate offices in New York, L.A., Chicago, Detroit and Atlanta on June 10 and stage a blackout of their own.

For two minutes and 17 seconds, fans of the show are going to pretend to be passed out in front of ABC offices (and other places around the globe).



From London:

Supporters of the cancelled TV show converged on London’s leafy Wandsworth Common last night to stage a mass “blackout.” Pretend blackouts, lasting for 2 minutes and 17 seconds, mimicking the opening of the show, also took place simultaneously in Edinburgh, Dublin, Pisa, Italy. European fans linked up with US campaigners trying to save the show. Mini-blackouts were staged in New York, Atlanta, Seattle, Toronto, Detroit, Chicago and Los Angeles, where protestors fainted in front of ABC’s offices in Burbank. I’m not sure that a lot of people falling over will move the Mouse House to pity though.

Save FlashForward

From Edinburgh, Scotland:

Videos from the blackout-protest all over the worldhttp://saveflashforward.tumblr.com/


The Houston Chronicle agreed with me: Slow Down!

3. I wish FlashForward would slow the plot down a bit. Part of the reason the character development is lacking is because we simply don’t have time to get to know anybody before someone is yelling about having found another clue and everyone goes tearing off in the direction of an underground suicide club or Hong Kong or a doll factory. SLOW. DOWN.

4. I wish FlashForward would not save the most interesting plot points of the episode for the final moments of the episode. Mix it up a little. As it stands, within 15 minutes of watching an episode, I’m already thinking about fast forwarding to the end to get on with it already.


From:  http://blog.chron.com/tubular/2009/12/flashforward-bah-humbug/


And there was a lot of ‘splaining to do. FlashForward had appealing actors and strong production values, but its long-term storyline rebuffed casual viewers. That’s why benching the show didn’t work: any other series might have regained viewers from a new round a buzz (the resurging storyline, guest stars like James Callis, etc.), but most viewers who missed some or all of the fall episodes, or were turned off by the peculiar pilot (complete with a we’re-so-wacky kangaroo), would’ve felt they’d missed too much.




Time Comments on the Beginning

A time critic watched the previews, then commented later as the show progressed:

The Show: FlashForward, ABC. (Yes, evidently it is spelled one word, no space.) As Fox did with Fringe last summer, ABC sought to get the buzz rolling with a private in-house preview for critics today; a review version will be released closer to the premiere. PR reps, and executive producer Jessika Goyer, laid out a reasonable set of no-spoiler requests, but there was no NDA, so I think I’m free to describe it here. (Note: I’m abiding by their requests, and then some, but if you want to be totally surprised by this pilot, then obviously don’t read this post.)

The Premise: Lost fans have probably already seen the trailer, but to recap: for two minutes, 17 seconds, everyone on Earth blacks out and experiences a vision of the same day and time in the future (April 29, 2010; mark your calendars). Many of the visions are scary, but that’s a problem for later.

From:  http://entertainment.time.com/2009/06/17/test-pilot-flash-forward/


The show is based on an excellent concept (see my earlier post for the rundown on it, if you haven’t heard it yet), and I want it to be good. But being a TV critic is about setting aside what you want to believe and judging what you’ve actually seen. And what I’m afraid I see in FlashForward is, once again, a network trying to make “the next Lost” without seeming to get what made the last Lost great.

I will stick with it for now, though, because the premise is a doozy and I’m still intrigued. And I’m hoping the producers can retrofit a personality onto the show as it moves forward and adds to the cast. (Lost’s Dominic Monaghan, for instance, joins the show after tonight’s pilot.) Unlike FlashForward’s cast, I can’t see six months into the show’s future, so I’ll try to stay optimistic.

From:  http://entertainment.time.com/2009/09/24/tv-tonight-can-flashforward-get-lost/

The Guardian Comments on the Finale

The Guardian has a episode-by-episode commentary at http://www.theguardian.com/tv-and-radio/flash-forward that I hope they will keep active.

Their comments:

But it was at least a payoff in itself to have reached the moment of flashforward, and seen the enduring power of the future (with a little help from the characters who’ve spent so long thrashing against that power). The idea of the flashforward really is – I still believe – a powerful and engaging concept, even if the way in which it all played out wasn’t as satisfactory as we might initially have hoped. But the fact that it was explored – with all its flailing arms of flabby characters, plot, tangents, red herrings, loose ends, and rolling game of ‘how many Brits can you squeeze into an American action sci-fi drama?’ – made for an endearingly fun ride.

Another Opinion: “Why I hated Flash Forward”

It goes without saying that pretty much every work of fiction begins with the “what if” question. “What if I knew the world was ending tomorrow?” “What if my wife was secretly plotting to kill me?” “What if this article wins me the Pulitzer?” What separates the great (or simply enjoyable) work from that which cannot be accepted is a second level of consideration: actually thinking about the “what if” and seeing if it has any real value, any weight, beyond that first fleeting thrill that comes with the High Concept. FlashForward, the ABC TV series or the 1999 novel by Robert J. Sawyer upon which it is loosely, loosely based, is a perfect example of exactly that: the cool but ultimately unsatisfying idea that really can’t stand the stress of storytelling. Because hiding behind the spotty acting and cliché characters—on screen or in print—the whole concept has a serious problem: it just doesn’t make a lick of sense. Under the “continue reading” jump, an analysis of the logic and science flaws of FlashForward.

Same Name, Different Game
A quick reading of the novel by Robert J. Sawyer (which is all it warrants) won’t provide you with any background or spoilers on the TV series. In fact, it will only confuse you even more. The two have almost nothing in common:

• Everybody on Earth in 2009 blacks out for a little over two minutes, and everyone experiences two minutes of their own lives at a fixed point in the future
• The world suffers badly during their two-minute absence
• Many characters experience nothing — a void — during the blackout, and assume they are dead
• One character learns he is murdered shortly before the future-point of the “flashforward”
• There’s a lead character named Lloyd Simcoe

The differences, on the other hand, are literally too numerous to mention, but a few stand out. In the book, the moment the whole world glimpses is twenty years in the future, which makes for some interesting speculations about the financial stability of insurance companies and intellectual property (i.e., inventors developing technology they didn’t actually think of, but saw in action in 2030 and reverse-engineered. Whose idea is that, then?). In the TV series, the moment everyone glimpses is just a few weeks away—March of 2010, seen by the whole world in October of 2009. The cast of characters in the book is entirely different than the series; even the character with the same name—Lloyd Simcoe—is entirely different, right down to his job and his nationality. And where the characters, dialogue, and subplots in the TV series are horribly over-familiar to any savvy viewer of Lifetime Movies of the Week (“Why did you cheat on me?” “Why did you start drinking again?” “How can I, a single lesbian, be pregnant and happy about it?”), the book’s characters are as thin as the paper they’re printed on. They do very little except talk, offering a gaggle of thought-experiments about quantum physics, the universe, and everything, and engaging you on a personal level…not at all. However, the book and series do share one other thing: a central idea that’s so weak and illogical it can’t stand up to any kind of scrutiny.

There is more to the article – but I think you get the just.  The original is at http://www.scriptphd.com/the-boob-tube/2010/01/09/why-i-hate-flashforward-a-dissenters-opinion/



The Author Responds to “Why was Flash Forward Cancelled?”

Over on Quora, someone asked why FlashForward was canceled, and someone else replied with an answer that was partially right but significantly wrong. That answer:

The Lost curse. In the 6 years that Lost was on the air, ABC failed at using that monster hit to launch any new shows. The term “Flash Forward” was first used in the third season finale of Lost, and the show featured Lost alumni Dominic Monaghan and Sonya Walger.ABC launched FlashForward as well as a remake of V (with Lost‘s Elizabeth Mitchell) as shows that would take on Lost‘s audience after it ended. At the end, it was reported a choice between FlashForward and V over which one would continue, and ABC went with V, which only lasted one more season.

My response:

Despite XXXX’s comment (he asserts “the term ‘Flash Forward’ was first used in the third season finale of Lost” — as if that’s where the idea came from), that’s just not true.

FlashForward the TV series was an adaptation of my 1999 novel of the same name, published five years before the first season of Lost debuted.

More: as announced in Variety on 26 September 2002 — two years before Lost debuted — David Goyer was attached then to write, direct, and produce an adaptation of my novel FlashForward … which is precisely what Dave eventually went on to do (co-authoring the pilot with Brannon Braga).

Also, the pilot script for FlashForward was developed at HBO (which is why HBO is credited on each episode); HBO was not looking to imitate anything on broadcast TV. The casting of Sonya Walger (who appeared in only 14 of the 121 episodes of Lost) as FlashForward‘s female lead was in no way an attempt at Lost-related stunt casting.

FlashForward was cancelled for two reasons. The first was scheduling: the series was not suitable viewing for 8:00 p.m. / 7:00 p.m. Central (the traditional TV “family hour”), but that’s when ABC slotted it (and kept it for its entire run): the intensity, violence, gun use, and presence of a major lesbian character, brilliantly played by Christine Woods, is not what America wanted in that timeslot. So, by the end of the first season, the ratings were low.

The second reason was budgetary: Stephen McPherson, then president of ABC, did only want to keep one science-fiction show. In the end, we were delivering the same ratings each week as V, also on ABC, but we were produced in Los Angeles and had an expensive cast; V was produced in Vancouver and had a much less expensive cast. So, V was (sort of) renewed and we were not.

Robert J Sawyer


Read the book!  It is much more interesting!

FlashForward – From HBO to ABC to RIP

Flash Forward TV SeriesFlashForward was a made-for-television series, based on the 1999 novel by Robert J Sawyer.  It premiered in September, 2009, and had its’ final episode in May of 2010.  Flash Forward was originally developed at HBO.  HBO decided that the show would fare better if on a regular network and sold the concept to ABC.  Considering that this show was, at times, difficult to follow, presenting it on HBO without commercial interruption would have been a much better move, in my opinion.

The foundation of the show was difficult for many, including me, to grasp in those initial episodes.  In fact, I almost gave up watching the show because I couldn’t understand some of the aspects of the show’s presentation.  The “infiltration” of the FBI team (all of the stars of the show) was hard to fathom.  It wasn’t until much later that we learned that the “infiltrators” were dual agents, assigned by the CIA to work in the FBI.  I don’t think the writers handled that part of the layout very well.

So, the premise continued, an unexplainable and mysterious event caused everyone on the planet to simultaneously pass out for two minutes and seventeen seconds (“137 seconds”), regardless of what the people were doing (driving buses, flying airplanes, performing surgery, etc.).  During the time everyone was “passed out” or what was come to be known as “THE BLACKOUT”, people are able to see visions of their lives approximately 6 months into the future.

The focus of the show is on the “team” of FBI agents assigned to a special taskforce charged with the Robert J Sawyermission to determine what happened, who did it, and will it happen again.  As part of the show, we see different parts of each of the main characters “flash forward” and how it affects their everyday life.  We also see how people may choose to change their actions if they “know” what the future holds.  One of the characters committed suicide in order to prevent his vision from coming true.  [Sadly, in August 2013, this same character committed suicide in real life].

The final episode was filmed before the cancellation notice was delivered, so the show ends at a cliff.  Viewer defection from the show was the official reason that the show was cancelled, although there is much debate as to what caused the defection.  Schedule changes, delays and more are believed to have hurt those who followed the show.  Some believe, as I do, that the writers did a poor job of roping in the viewers in the first 3 episodes.  If you didn’t “get it” by then, chances are you stopped watching.

FlashForward is one of those shows that could be revived with better writing and input from people who actually enjoyed the series.  As a viewer, I often wonder what causes writers to “go off the deep end” with their writing, and cause people to desert the series.