Crumbs: Reviews » Dramas » FlashForward » Season 1 » No More Good Days
Critical reviews of U.S. TV shows
and analysis of what makes them
good, bad, irritating and enlightening.
54
/100

FlashForward

FlashForward is a drama based around an incident where everyone on Earth loses consciousness and sees a vision of their future. ABC 2009-2010

  • S

  • 1
56
/100

Episode 1 - No More Good Days

28 March 2012

Synopsis: Everyone in the world loses consciousness at the same time for two minutes and seventeen seconds. Most people experience a “flash forward”, a memory of what they will be doing on April 29th 2010. In L.A. FBI Agent Mark Benford’s flashforward shows him working on solving why this happened. He begins that task with his partner Demetri Noh who had no flash and worries he may be dead in six months. Their colleague Janis Hawel finds videotape of the incident in Detroit with one man not asleep. Mark’s wife Olivia sees herself with another man and will soon meet him as his son is brought to be treated by her. Mark’s daughter Charlie said she saw there being “no more good days.”

The Good: A quite brilliant premise which has almost limitless potential for new stories. From the fall out of everyone going to sleep to what they saw, the possibilities are endless. The mind bending permutations of how your life could be changed by seeing your future make for a show most viewers will at least want to take a glance at.

The first fifteen minutes of the show are gripping as this concept plays out. The direction briskly introduces us to the various people involved in Mark and Olivia’s lives and then it builds the tension to the inevitable moment when they all lose consciousness. The scenes of disaster are intriguing as you would expect and it was good to see people panicking and looting to add a bit of human frailty and greed. Mark’s flash is necessarily key to the mystery and gives him the obvious excuse to be in charge of the investigation – because he saw himself working on it!

The FBI agents discuss and analyse the issues which the flashforwards create with good understandable logic. Their investigations lead them to uncover a very intriguing cliff-hanger as video captures one man walking around while everyone else sleeps. The creepy footage and the implications of how one person stayed awake is the ideal end to the episode.

The Bad: Let’s get this out of the way first. This show is following in Lost’s wake. Of course Lost followed in 24’s wake but FlashForward and Lost have a lot in common. And it is less so the science fiction but the acting and characterisation where comparison’s aren’t favourable.

It’s still early days for FlashForward but already the focus of the plot has moved to the investigation of what happened. Yet surely there is so much more which could be done to discuss the fallout from everyone falling asleep. Such a global disaster would really require at least a few episodes to draw out all the personal tragedies and indeed the uplifting visions of the future. All too quickly the story jumped toward those future visions rather bypassing the idea that humans might deny, forget or ignore their strange dreams and focus on their dead friends.

The way in which Mark talks about his flashforward just doesn’t ring true. The vision is clearly a blurry picture to him and one that has very personal implications. Yet in front of his colleagues he is willing to lay out all that happened and coolly analyse it as a memory from the future. Again it seems much more likely that people would deny the truth of this at first, so ridiculous does it sound. In a way we are robbed of the drama of seeing people work out what the visions mean because Mark lays it out so quickly.

Similar events in the episode lack emotional resonance because of their presentation. Demetri comes to the conclusion that as he didn’t have a vision maybe he will be dead come April 29th 2010. He states it in such a dull, cop-show fashion. It would have meant so much more if someone had pointed it out to him and seeing him take in the possibility. Similarly Charlie gives her Dad the friendship bracelet which he sees himself wearing in his flash. With more subtle direction this could have been the sledgehammer emotional blow which made him realise that his flash was coming true. But its presentation came across as very cheesy and obvious. “Take it daddy” she insists as he grimaces and the emotive music blares away.

This lack of emotional resonance has to fall at the feet of the writers at this stage but the actors don’t help out much. There are no “Jack moments” to make us like Mark. He never shows much vulnerability beyond anguished looks and the most generic affection for his family. Similarly his sponsor Aaron and the Doctor Bryce really needed to inject some personality into their roles. Bryce dryly states that he was going to kill himself but now won’t because of what he saw, but we don’t know who he is at all. Similarly Aaron’s story of his missing daughter sounds tragic but sounding isn’t feeling.

Attempts to inject comedy into the proceedings largely fail with Mark’s boss Stanford embarrassed to admit he was on the toilet. Yeah, millions die but that’s worth hiding today. It seemed odd that Mark hadn’t cleaned any blood off his face even though he was back at the office for several hours. The shots of other cities with their famous landmarks and fires everywhere made sense. But the shot of the House of Commons still on fire hours after the incident was a CGI step too far and didn’t make logical sense.

The Unknown: So what happened then? Who is the guy walking around? What did Charlie see that got her so upset? What does “no more good days” mean? Why did the little boy know who Olivia was? What did the babysitter Nicole see that got her so upset? Any significance to the kangaroo being loose in LA?

Best Moment: The build up to the flashforward. You knew something life altering was about to happen and it sure did.

Epilogue: Lost’s characterisation is so overlooked as to why the show is memorable. The comparison with FlashForward  makes it much clearer. I found myself wishing for Lost style flashbacks for each character, so that we could get to know them better. And that is the key for any show, but especially one with such a good concept as this: viewers must care about the characters they are watching. I wait to see what FlashForward will turn into but the early signs are decidedly mixed.

('DiggThis)

Feedback

Add your comments on this episode below. They may be included in the weekly podcasts.

Post your comment

Comments

No one has commented on this page yet.

RSS feed for comments on this page | RSS feed for all comments