As you may already be aware, I recap THE EVƎNT for Television Without Pity. That means that I pay a lot of attention to each episode, since it’s my job to both describe the, um, evənts, and to make fun of them. In an ideal show, that would mean that I’m seeing lots of little details that become important later on. Unfortunately, I’m not convinced this is an ideal show, so the closer I look, the dopier it seems.
Right now, I’ve seen the first four episodes, so I’m going to take a moment to cover what I think are the basic flaws in this show. I don’t really get to do this in the recap format unless I just go for a straight-up page-long digression. And when I do those, I prefer to talk about something other than the show itself. Why digress unless you’re going to go completely nuts, right?
Problem One: The Flashback Gimmick
Starting in the first episode, there was a lot of FIVE DAYS EARLIER nonsense, which is something that I think is exceedingly overused in television these days. Aside from my favorite episode of Firefly (“Out of Gas,” natch), it’s hardly ever used for actual narrative purposes. And this show is no different. By this time, we’re only getting a couple of token flashbacks per episode, and they’re apparently designed to convey vital information like “Sean and his fiancee went to Thanksgiving dinner at her parents’ house this one time.” It’s not like in LOST where the flashbacks paralleled each episode’s main plot and told us something about the characters. It just feels like they decided they’d be “a show with flashbacks.”
Problem Two: The Locations
In one episode, the president was in Florida, Arizona, and Washington, DC. In the last episode, two characters drove from Yuma to Lubbock between scenes. Another character was apparently moved from Florida to Texas in a storage container. One enterprising fellow presumably dove off a cruise ship anchored off the coast of South America and showed up in Los Angeles five days later. We never see flashbacks that cover the implausible stuff.
Problem Three: The Detainees
So there are these 97 people (well, 96 now) that have been kept in a secret facility in Alaska for the last 66 years. Their DNA is 1% different from human beings, and they were involved in a plane crash in 1944, since when they haven’t aged. And some of them escaped from the plane crash and have been sneaking around America (and presumably other countries). And that’s all we know. That’s acceptably vague. But the show hasn’t bothered to tell us what the detainees’ cover story is. Presumably they’ve said something to the effect of “Oh, us? No, we’re totally human beings from this planet. Not from the future or anything, promise. The only reason we don’t age is that, um, we eat a lot of yogurt.” We see President Martinez stomping around in high dudgeon (you can get pretty high dudgeon when you’re a president) that the detainees have been lying, but we never get to hear the lie! It’s not satisfying.
Problem Four: They’re All Boring Jerks
Should I be rooting for Sean? Sophia? The president? Honestly, hardly any of them have a clearly defined goal, so I have trouble caring who achieves what.
Anyway, episode five is going to start in a couple of hours. It’s possible that all these objections will be dealt with and dismissed. But I doubt it.