SF elements: seeing the future(s)
[ensemble cast]

2009 / TV

22 x 45 min episodes

On October 6, the planet blacked out for two minutes and seventeen seconds. The whole world saw the future.

That global blackout is pandemonium, disaster, and tragedy enough. But it becomes clear that visions everyone reported are of the future: a particular time the following April 29. Some saw wonderful things, some terrible, some banal. Some saw nothing at all: they had died in the intervening months. Knowing that future changes everything. But what had caused the blackout and the visions? And, more importantly: will it happen again?

[aftermath of the blackout]

Over 23 episodes the question is explored, and mostly answered, by a large ensemble cast. The FBI agents investigating are having to struggle with their own visions as fate seems to inexorably move them towards what they saw. But all is not so simple.

This is good, in a bonkers kind of way. Can knowing the future change it? There are no simple answers: there is lots of playing with predestination, fate, multiple worlds, autistic savants, misinterpretations, and so on. Densely plotted, with what look like red herrings that turn out to be important, with revelations, counter revelations, and counter-counter revelations, with conspiracies within conspiracies, ramping up to impossible levels of self-reference, and the inevitable loose ends. And high energy physics (bogus high energy physics, to be sure, but only at an acceptable level of technobabble). And a kangaroo.

Unfortunately, despite the final episode ending with the second blackout and accompanying visions, there is to be no second season. A pity. Even though the whole thing is ludicrous in the extreme, with nonsensical plot developments, it's good nonsense.

(This is based on the novel Flashforward by Robert J. Sawyer , which I have not read.)

Rating: 3
[ unmissable | great stuff | worth watching | mind candy | waste of time | unfinishable ]

reviewed 13 June 2010