The new show I’m most excited about for 2009 is FlashForward, which will be premiering at 8:00 p.m. EST on Thursday, September 24, 2009. I love serialized dramas and Lost is one of my favorite shows, so if FlashForward is even half the show that Lost is, I’m going to be hooked. With all of the new information out there, I thought it might be worthwhile to summarize what we know about the show.
FlashForward is based on the book of the same name by Canadian author Robert J. Sawyer (yeay, Canada!). I’m a fan of sci-fi, so when I heard about this show, I went out to buy the book. The novel centers around an experiment that goes wrong at the CERN research facility in Switzerland (click the link to read more about CERN, because the work they do there really is interesting). During this experiment, everyone in the world blacks out for a little over two minutes. During these two minutes, they all experience a flash of their future, 20 years ahead in time. Some people, however, experience nothing but blackness, which most people quickly assume means they die at some point in the next 20 years.
The novel focuses on the experiences and futures of a group of CERN scientists, including one of the scientists who tries to piece together how he dies in the future. What is really interesting is that two scientists start a project on the internet called the Mosaic Collective, which gives people an opportunity to post about their flashforward and allows humanity to see a true, complete glimpse of the future by combining people’s experiences. ABC has started up a site called the Mosaic Collective that allows users to input what they saw during the “what did you see?” promos ABC has been airing. We’ll have to see what the network does with this website.
So that is the novel. The series, however, will be a bit different. The main characters, playied by actors like Joseph Finnes and John Cho, are actually FBI agents, not CERN scientists. In the show, a mysterious global event will cause everyone in the world for black out for a little over two minutes, where they will have a flash of themselves only 6 months in the future. The question, like in the book, is whether these futures will definitely occur or whether they can be changed. Of course, like in the book, many people are left dead after the event, as planes have dropped out of the sky, cars have crashed and the like.
Joseph Finnes plays FBI agent Mark Benford, who tries to figure out what happened during the blackout. He and his team also create a Mosaic Collective in order to piece together what happened to different people. Other actors to appear include John Cho (Star Trek) who plays Mark’s partner, Sonya Walgar (Lost) who plays Mark’s wife, Jack Davenport (Pirates of the Caribbean), Dominic Monaghan (Lost) and Courtney B. Vance (Law & Order: CI).
While it takes most of the book for the scientists to piece together the flashforward, the showrunners say that each season of the show will be self-contained mystery.
According to Televisionary:
Producers of ABC’s upcoming sci-fi series Flash Forward say that the series will offer a complete plot in its first season and will reveal answers in the first season finale. “We know exactly … what season one is, with great specificity, because at … the outset, we had to plan the entire season,” showrunner/executive producer Marc Guggenheim told SCI FI Wire. “The first season ends with our characters’ catching up to their futures. So you can’t do that on the fly. I mean, I suppose you could, but I don’t think it would be a very satisfying viewing experience for anybody. We made the commitment at the outset [to] plan out the entire first season before we start breaking episode two. So the very first thing we did, apart from … figuring out character backstories and [all] that–when the time came … to actually start breaking story, it was, ‘OK, how are we going to move the characters from where they are in episode one to where they are at the end of the season?'”
I really liked the book and was very intrigued by the free-will versus destiny debate of the flashforwards. Could people change their fates? The book ultimately assumes yes, since someone who experienced a flashforward ends up killing himself, thereby altering his own glimpsed future. I wasn’t too crazy about the ending of the novel (which I will not spoil for you), but the premise of the book and the way it played out was very interesting. Overall, I am most definitely looking forward to this show. The cast is a great mix of strong actors who should all bring their considerable talents to the series.
Below are two promos for the show. The first is the mysterious “what did you see?” promos that ABC first aired during an episode of Lost and which presumably showed glimpses that people saw of their futures. The second is a nearly 3 minute promo that shows more of the characters and the blackout.