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FlashForward - The Complete Series DVD review

REVIEWS - DVD REVIEWS

The (now) futureless show about future events provides more questions than answers...

FlashForward - The Complete Series

"FlashForward introduced a brilliant premise, but in the end proved a disappointment, and one that should have concentrated on securing a solid character-base and setting up irresistible intrigues for future seasons instead of shifting ground in the fading hope of season renewal"

The now cancelled FlashForward began with such great ambition and hope, aiming to fill the void left by Lost. A brilliant high-concept premise that caused everyone on the planet to blackout for 137 seconds simultaneously. Furthermore, supported by David S. Goyer, it genuinely seemed to have a huge future ahead of it. However, ABC pulled the plug as figures nosedived throughout the series, descending from a strong 12.47 million viewers in its first episode to a series low of 4.75 million.

FlashForward is such an enigma of a show. It started so brightly with all those involved infusing the project with masses of effort, money and talent. Indeed, it pays off from the first episode, which acts as a real hook for the rest of the season. We are brought into the worlds of Mark (Joseph Fiennes) and Demetri (John Cho) – FBI agents tracking a terrorist group. Furthermore, we meet Mark’s wife Olivia (Sonya Walger) and fellow nurse Bryce Varley (Zachary Knighton) beginning at work. The basic set-up is that at 9am, everyone in the world becomes unconscious for 137 seconds, and when they wake chaos ensues – and FlashForward begins.

The opening episode is good, with nice graphics and a tight script which reveals enough to keep us interested, but reserving some of its stronger moments for later. The writers ask a lot from the audience: to swallow their qualms with the idea of the entire world fainting, and just allowing the writers the benefit of the doubt. Although not spectacular, FlashForward delivers everything it promises early on, and its initial ambition should be admired.

However, the problems become apparent from episode two, as very little is actually revealed, with the pace seemingly slowing to a crawl. This may seem a harsh judgement only one episode in, but I expected more from it. This is a recurring theme throughout the series, with few episodes raising the pulse-rate. The problem is that the writers had a great initial concept but few ideas/subplots to keep the audience interested. The sub-strand of Cho/Fiennes is good, along with the continuing idea of predestined fate and whether these visions would be true or not. Nevertheless, in some episodes it seems that the writers drag out plot reveals endlessly, after fearing they might run out of material later in the series.

FlashForward’s sudden cancellation is consequently no shock, and in all honesty, it seems unlikely that the cast and crew were shocked either. With a strange mid-season break for no apparent reason, it interrupted the audience’s interest-level, leaving behind only the dedicated. The average TV series takes a lot of dedication, and so a series that declines in quality and often bores at times is never going to be a ratings success. Furthermore, Guggenheim and Goyer departed the series after episode 10, and from this point on, the series fell into even steeper decline.

In terms of acting, everything is adequate. Personally, it’s good to see Jack Davenport getting more screen time, and he does a good job playing the wise academic. The best of the cast are Cho and Monaghan, who provide extra depth, and are interesting throughout. However, Fiennes never truly shines, and it is hard to connect truly with our protagonist,  since he doesn’t have the requisite humour or depth to engage us. The large cast and ambitious plot seem to suggest that ABC were looking for a Lost replacement. Despite this, most of the cast are never given enough to really shine.

As the series reaches its finale, those who have remained would have hoped for a much better pay-off. The final reveal is frustrating, and the producers were clearly yearning for another season, meaning that we will never get closure for this one. Furthermore, the big budget spent on the first episode had clearly evaporated by the finale. The desperate hope for a next series fell on deaf ears, and perhaps deservedly so. FlashForward introduced a brilliant premise, but in the end proved a disappointment, and one that should have concentrated on securing a solid character-base and setting up irresistible intrigues for future seasons instead of shifting ground in the fading hope of season renewal.

Extras

Architects of Destiny
This focuses on the premiere day of FlashForward, with all the cast fully pumped and excited, but it’s surreal to see them act like there is a second season coming. Nevertheless, hearing the actors and crew talk of the dilemma of “free will vs. pre-determination” makes for interesting viewing.

FlashForward on set
The usual look behind the scenes. Nice, if nothing special.

Interviews from the Mosaic Collective
Enjoyable little vignettes, but it doesn’t last very long and would have been better-used if integrated into the overall series.

Meet Yuko
A worthwhile insight into the actress's first American role. But again nothing more. She does seem lovely though.

Kangaroo?
Rather pointless, and doesn’t explain the purpose of the Kangaroo.

Creating Catastrophe: The Effects Of A Global Blackout
This little extra – coming in at 7 minutes – shows how the pilot episode's massive beginning happened, and it is impressive to see how visual effects and real footage combine to create what you see in the final result. It made me slightly sad, as the effort put into this faded away notably in the final episodes.

Indeed, there’s a lot of talk time from all involved, and their enthusiasm makes you feel sympathetic for the FlashForward case. However, the extras don’t answer any of the lingering questions that remain, and continue the tone of the TV show itself: bewildering and frustrating.

Extras:

 

3 stars

Show:

3 stars

FlashForward - The Complete Series is out now.


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