The Event - NBC: Mondays at 9:00
Hype is a double-edged sword. (Not me, you chowder-heads, publicity.) Without hype you might never hear of a new movie, show, or product. But with great hype comes with great expectations, and often leaves us of being suspicious about how great a thing it can possibly be. Sometimes hype delivers, like Lord of the Rings. But for every LOTR there is Godzilla; a lesson well-learned.
There is something inherently intriguing about supernatural mysteries. What's going on? Is it magic? Unknown technology? A visit from superior beings? Is there a hatch involved, or possibly Cancer Man? We naturally want to know, and when we see people doing every day things we supply the reasons out of our own experience. But when people do things we've never seen before and we see things outside of our experience we don't know how to fill in the gaps and that's what makes it so intriguing.
At least, up to a point.
There is a line that, once crossed, we are no longer interested. The Sixth Sense was compelling all the way through because it seemed familiar but you couldn't quite figure out what was going on, and then it paid off at the end, everything clicked, and the pieces fit together. Conversely, the longer Heroes went on the more it became obvious that, for whatever reason (and to be fair, the Writers' strike might have played a huge role here), the more obvious it became that they did not have a comprehensive long term plan. When it comes to the fantasy/sci-fi realm, people will sign up to watch and not know what's happening. But they expect to know sooner or later, and nothing pisses people off more than a long trip for a short day at the beach.
(I don't have a third prologue, but everyone knows 3 is a much more mysterious supernatural number than 2. Let's do this thing.)
A question that occurred to me more than once during the initial hour of NBC's new flag-ship drama The Event: what exactly IS the Event in question? Straight out the box we get a good candidate. As the show opens Jason Ritter is on an airplane looking really really really nervous. And suspicious. (I made "And suspicious" its own sentence because suspicious is, more than any other emotion, the central feeling you have watching the characters in The Event.)
We cut to 11 Days earlier, as Jason is about to take his daughter on a cruise.
Let me stop right here for a moment. Repeatedly during The Event we jump around in our timeline from Jason Ritter on the plane. (Another reason what happens on that plane might be "The Event" is because all time signatures seem to backtrack from that.) We go 11 days back, we go 3 days forward, we go back to the present with the plane, we go 23 minutes back before the plane we go 13 months back and on and on and on. You CAN follow it but it gets pretty confusing.
I get that part of the Intrigue is purposely making things confusing, but sometimes I think producers fall in love with their own Clever. There's mysterious and then there's Enough Already. The Event doesn't cross the Line, but it checks the Line out and exchanges meaningful glances.
Here's a better idea: why not have a Timeline on the bottom of the screen come up every time you do a jump, anchored to a couple of key events, to help people better understand what's going on? There'd still be plenty of mystery, but people wouldn't feel so jerked around. Me, I like the yo-yo-ing timeline, but I'm weird like that. I think most people would like the small assistance and the show wouldn't lose any Street Cred. Just a thought.
Back to the show - here's the deal. Up in Alaska there's a secret....something. Research Facility? Prison? Elvish workshop? Who knows. It's one of many things we won't find out for a long time, and that's okay. What's interesting is that this place is so secret that not even presidents know about it. At least, not until Elias Martinez.
We meet President Elias Martinez (played by Blair Underwood) as he's finding out about the secret facility. My initial thought was to roll my eyes: Oh yeah, a black president with a foreign sounding name. Oh wait....Okay, that's kinda cool. President Martinez finds out about this secreter-than-secret facility from one of my most favortest of actors, Zeljko Ivanek, who plays CIA chief (or something similar) Blake Sterling.
I COMPLETELY buy that Zeljko Ivanek would know about something a president wouldn't. Every time I see him on some show he just looks like he knows stuff.
Anyway, the facility is run by Sophia Maguire (Laura Innes), who was best known as the half-crippled doctor from E.R. At least, I think she runs the place. She also (at one point) appears to be a prisoner. With the time jumps each could be true in their own time. Or - and I have no proof of this, but I'm just throwing it out there - we could be talking about Doppelgangers.
Look, I know this Review is not as crisp as some of my others. I'm tired. Also, the show is virtually impossible to write about if you haven't seen it. Just in case you decide to watch I don't want to ruin anything, and there's a whole bunch of stuff I'm skipping. Luke from the Gilmore Girls is in it, there's a creepy scene involving a guy who may (or may not) have a broken arm, and there's a scene that amounts to a commercial for the new Ford Explorer (and I don't say that in a bad way).
Here's what you need to know - The Event was captivating - almost at the edge of being obnoxious, but definitely held our interest. My dad is not someone who likes all the jumping around, but he was intrigued. Then came the ending. We see some of the cards. What did it mean? We have no idea. But let me tell you, homies - they delivered on that ending. The Event went from a show that was interesting to "What was that????" in the space of five seconds. And at that moment, we were both in.
(She may be the key, but how? What's this woman up to???)
I don't know if they are going to keep delivering the goods, but the ending of the first episode bought The Event at least a few weeks in our house. It feels like a combination of LOST and 24. I'm stoked for more. If you want to jump on board, NBC is re-running the Pilot at 8:00 on Saturday (and again at 11 on USA), or you can watch on IMDB.com any time you want. If you like intrigue and mystery with a hint of....Light knows what....you'll be glad you did.
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