FlashForward is almost good, and tonight’s reason reminds me of the X-Files at their best. The genius is the episode formula: it starts when a proof of some recently discovered, horrible, usually monstrous, evolutionary hiccup, mutated murderer comes to the surface, and the mystery of him is solved and explained and the story being at least resolved with his being abducted by aliens, and then… the best episodes always ended with a cliffhanger reveal of something even more horrible, and menacing, and usually SECRET! And GLOBAL! that was happening unbeknownst to the heros on the other side of the globe. OOooOOOoooo! *clapclap* This last episode of FlashForward ended with the discovery, in the desert of Somalia, by a young shepherd boy, you dig, of a factory around which all birds died, their corpses encircling it in a black ring, and the final shot was of the exhaust tower, which was puffing out white clouds, puffing — literally puffing it out, like a cigarette, like god forbid we don’t understand what’s going on if they showed a realistic, steady flow of exhaust coming out of it. Like we wont “get it” without their help, so they decide to resort to the Bugs Bunny cartoon version of what a factory looks like to better draw attention to the exhaust — and I’m totally falling for it, like: “omg what are they putting in the air omg" — which, I’m sorry, would freak out any moderate to extreme environmentalist watching the show, although it made the Somalian context kind of… like a creepy George Bush, passive-aggressive racist thing, but touche, demographics — and this is, like, the third episode? Where does it go from there? Space? How far will this conspiracy reach??!?! OOOoooOOOooooo!
I love that device where that dude is going to die, and presumably be shown dying, on March 15, 2010. With five months of build its own hype! Who’s not going to watch that episode? I have a dream… I imagine it’ll be the Roland Emmerich version of the last episode of Twin Peaks… can you imagine? So awful and campy and wrong, and yet so, so awesome. And all the people trying so hard to make up for Joseph Fiennes’ overwrought performance are playing it as straight and intense as they can. There’s this scene where the police commissioner has come to give Harold instructions and Harold is all: “my head’s just not in the game, sir” and the police commissioner looks down on him and says “Look at me” and Harold does and the police commissioner says, with heavy pauses. “Get it… IN…. the game” and walks off like, like he shouldn’t be ashamed of taking this part in the first place, they should all be ashamed. But despite the lines, the police commissioner is smizing like Tyra taught him; he is intense, and this is important, and I need you here, Harold, god damn it! And Harold is smizing with all he’s got: “Well I’m sorry dude for being distracted but I AM GOING TO DIE ON MARCH 15TH OF NEXT YEAR” and they are just… whew. An earnest attempt of an actor trying to redeem one of the sorriest screenplays ever written, second, perhaps, only to The DaVinci Code. I mean, good try, guys. It touches my heart, right here. It’s a lost cause, but points for effort.
But anyway, having thankfully not read the book, which the always completely accurate online reviews have led me to believe is a bunch of barely concealed, passive-aggressive religious dogma (see how this just gets worse and worse?), and I really do not like that genre, I think I can say the television show has developed its own charms, it’s own level of fantastic, above and beyond the core story. The parts they get right are a joy of giggles and wonder, and the parts they get wrong they get so wrong that it’s a wonder to behold, a generator of smug self-satisfaction. But don’t get me wrong, I’m deeply ashamed to be watching it.
I’ve set up a Season Pass. It’s only on episode 6 — they’re showing episode 1-5 at hulu.com