Tag Archives: Flash Forward

Flash Forward Premiere was Awesome!

The first episode of Flash Forward is one of the best-constructed pilot episodes I’ve seen in a long time, especially of an arc-driven series. (I’ve been trying to think of the last show I saw where I didn’t feel like it took the cast or story a few episodes to get up to speed, and all I can come up with is Firefly.) In one hour, it managed to introduce a slew of characters, show the major world-changing event that sets the arc in motion, pose serious questions (both story-wise and philosophically), force characters to change, set up conflicting agendas and points of view, establish a mystery or two, and find a thematic conclusion to the episode that doesn’t feel like it’s just the first hour of a two- or three-hour show.

Most shows would take two hours to do all that, or pick and choose to cram it into one. (They even found time for a car chase.)

One of the things that really impressed me was that, just using one episode’s worth of characters, they showed the beginnings of so many totally different ways of looking at humanity’s glimpse of the future, whether through hope, fear, or simply confusion. From what they said at Comic-Con, one of the ideas is to be able to expand this to theoretically anyone in the world.

The extended preview of upcoming episodes (a flash forward to Flashforward!) seemed to be making a great effort to say that yes, they’ll be answering questions, and no, you won’t have to wait 3 years to find out what the heck is going on (unlike that other show with Sonya Walger, Dominic Monaghan, and Oceanic Airlines).

There were a couple of moments that I thought were forced, though the only one that really stands out was the immediate juxtaposition of the “we’re being punished” and “this is a gift” reactions.

Adaptation

They did a good job of taking the source material, Robert J. Sawyer’s novel Flashforward (I’m getting really confused as to whether the TV series has a space in the title or not, but the book definitely doesn’t), and making something that’s recognizably the same idea, but telling a new story with it. It has the benefit of all the thought he put into it:

  • What are all the consequences of everyone blacking out for two minutes?
  • If everyone experiences his or her own future at the same instant, what about people who are asleep at that time?
  • How do you determine whether people are seeing different possible futures or the same future?
  • How do you determine whether the future can be changed? (It’s a common enough storytelling trope, but how would you scientifically prove it?)

And so on. But they can tell a larger story, with more characters…and still surprise people who read the book. I don’t know whether they plan on using a similar explanation for what caused the event, or whether the TV version will come down on the side of “The future is not set” or “You can’t fight fate” (though I expect it will be the former, for storytelling reasons). And there was a moment a few minutes before the end that just came out of nowhere and left me thinking, “Wait, what???

The book is definitely worth reading, especially if you like science fiction of the “what would happen if…?” variety, and it looks like it probably won’t spoil much.

Flash Forward Looks Incredible (Comic-Con)

One of the events I made sure to hit at Comic-Con was the Flash Forward panel. Flash Forward is a new series launching on ABC this fall — you’ve probably seen ads for it — about what happens when everyone in the entire world blacks out for two minutes and has a vision of what they will be doing at a specific time in the future. This incident has two major consequences:

  • Millions of people die, worldwide, in the space of moments. Cars and airplanes crash, people standing on staircases or ladders fall to their deaths, swimmers drown, etc.
  • The survivors know exactly what they’ll be doing for a two-minute slice of time in the future…but they don’t necessarily know why.

Flashforward TV CoverIt’s based on the novel Flashforward by Robert J Sawyer, which I reviewed at Speed Force last December. It’s a great book, and I highly recommend it. The focus seems to be different, though: the book follows the scientists whose experiment accidentally triggered the event, in which everyone sees visions of 21 years in the future. The TV show is following, to start with anyway, an FBI agent investigating the event.

So where the book is mostly philosophical science fiction, the show looks like a mix of action, mystery and drama.

Both have, as their major theme, a single question: If you knew what your future was going to be, what would you do? Would you try to change it? Would you try to make it happen? If you saw a future you wanted, would you slack off, confident that things would work out in the end, or would you put in extra effort knowing you’d succeed?

To start with, they brought out the producers of the show, had some discussion, then ran the first two acts of the pilot episode.

Read on for a write-up and photos from the panel. Continue reading

Netbooks and Robots And Flash (Forward), Oh, My!

  • Argh! Tiger has a $200 netbook. That’s right on the edge of “I’ll regret not buying this” but I keep reminding myself I don’t REALLY need it #
  • Terminator made $13.37 million on Thursday. Seems appropriate for a movie about robots and AI. #
  • Aw, crud. ABC has scheduled Flash Forward for Thursdays at 8, opposite Bones. I foresee a DVR in our future. Or maybe just Hulu. #

Flash Forward Comes to TV

This should be cool!

Flash Forward

Various sources are reporting that ABC has officially picked up 13 episodes of Flash Forward, based on the Robert J. Sawyer novel of the same name (which I reviewed at Speed Force last December).

The series is about the fallout from an event in which everyone in the world blacks out for 2 minutes and sees a vision of their own future. (In the book it’s 20 years, but in the TV show it’s 6 months…presumably to make it more urgent and so that the show can catch up to it.)

The cast features Joseph Fiennes, Sonya Walger, John Cho, Jack Davenport, Brian O’Byrne, Courtney B. Vance, Christine Woods, Zachary Knighton and Peyton List.

Where else can you see William Shakespeare, Hikaru Sulu, Penelope Widmore and James Norrington together?

Variety points out that with Lost returning in January, ABC may intend Flash Forward to fill the gap in fall, while Lost fans wait for its final season. (ABC has said from the start that they’re hoping Flash Forward will be the show to keep Lost‘s audience coming back after that show wraps.)

(via Robert J. Sawyer. Cross-posted at Speed Force)

Author Catch-Up Revisited

About a year ago I posted a list of authors I wanted to catch up with. I read quite a few books last year, but how did I do with this list?

In the Company of OthersJulie E. Czerneda — I read the Trade Pact Universe trilogy last year, and I’m about half-way through the stand-alone novel, In the Company of Others, which means I’ve read just over half her novels. That leaves the Web Shifters trilogy and the two books so far of Stratification.

RollbackRobert J. Sawyer — since last year I’ve only read two of his books: Rollback and Flashforward (reviewed here). Though I made a point of attending his panel at Comic-Con International in July.

Robert Charles Wilson — Somehow managed not to read anything of his last year.

The Hounds of AshGreg Keyes — Re-read the first three books of The Kingdoms of Thorn and Bone, then read the final volume, The Born Queen, after it was released. Received The Hounds of Ash for Christmas, a collection of short stories set in the same universe as The Waterborn and Blackgod, and I got two stories in before I decided I wanted to re-read the novels.

The Graveyard BookNeil Gaiman — I read The Graveyard Book when it came out last fall (thanks to my brother for sending a signed copy from the SF reading!), but I can’t think of anything else (other than his blog) that I’ve read during the past year.

Other authors/titles I’ve read over the past year: Connie Willis (Bellwether), Robert Asprin (several Myth Adventures books), Naomi Novik (Fifth Temeraire novel, Victory of Eagles), Larry Niven (entire Ringworld series), George R.R. Martin (A Game of Thrones, sorry, not a fan), JMS (various B5 scriptbooks). Soon I Will Be Invincible (reviewed), Gateway, Night in Times Past, The Flash Companion, plus bunches of comics and tons of stuff online.