The Event is a new television series that is being touted by many as the “Next Big Thing” that will surly replace Lost in the hearts of viewers who want fantastic twists in the midst of inexplicable plots. The pilot episode claims, “The series premiers with a conspiracy of both national and global proportions.” With opening episode billing like that, this show has a lot to live up to.
What happened in the pilot? I have just watched it for the second time and, frankly, it is hard to say. Where Lost employed flashbacks for the first few seasons, and then introduced the flash-forward (which turned out to be flashes-sideways?), The Event starting off with loads of flashbacks to various eras pre-dating the “present” events. The confusion factor is greater, however, because we do not yet have backgrounds on the characters involved.
So, what happened? At the core of everything, we are dealing with a guy who might or might not be crazy who is trying to hijack an airplane. Through flashback we discover that his girlfriend disappeared whilst they were on a cruise some weeks earlier. In fact, not only did his girlfriend disappear, but all record of the crazy hijacker, we’ll call him Sean from here on in, disappeared too, and there is another couple well entrenched in their stateroom when he goes to get back into it.
So, meanwhile, back in the present, he is hijacking an airplane. He manages to get on board via the bathroom and smuggle a big gun on in his pants. No, no euphemisms employed in that sentence. So he smuggles this whacking great pistol on board the airplane, and, once the plane is rocketing down the runway, he decides to stop it from taking off by brandishing the pistol at the stewardess. The stewardess is all, “Oh, dear, he has a gun,” or some such, and then an air marshal shows up with a remarkably similar gun, telling Sean that he will blow him to smithers if he does not surrender his pistol and subject himself to some beating, or something like.
Then Sean, always game for a good beating, it seems, says, “Alright, then, but we need to get the pilot in on it.” Touched by his sincerity, the marshal says something shouty to the stewardess, who works the combination to the cockpit, which, surprisingly, does not work.
Meanwhile, the President of the United States is busy at some sort of a party, complete with some flashbacks of his own. There are some mysterious prisoners involved and a secret mountain base in Arctic Alaska, and some sort of Really Big Secret that one of the prisoners knows about.
Then there is a shot heard in the cabin of the airplane and it is plummeting into the President’s party! That was unexpected, wasn’t it? The Secret Service is shouting all sorts of official sounding gobbledygook, and hustling the President and other Persons of Influence to safe places – in the case of the President the safest place is what appears to be a Suburban, which, frankly, I have trouble arguing with.
And then the plane disappears. There is a spiraling blue sort of blueness where the plane used to be. Then, following a brief but dramatic pause, all the neatly placed chairs and tables blow over, as though the aircraft had just flown over!
Now for my opinion. I am not ready to discount this show just yet, but the opening was rather dull and expected. No big characters have emerged and the soup of inexplicable events are all hackneyed. Unlike my high-school English teacher, I do not believe that any evidence of stereotype immediately undermines any value that a narrative might have, but when it layers on in this way, my confidence begins to waiver.
I will admit, I am a huge fan of Lost. In the beginning, Lost was truly amazing. It started with Doc Shephard waking up in the jungle, deaf and stunned, and soon viewers were plunged into the excitement and chaos of a plane wreck. Pulse was pounding from the first moment of the show, and it was incredible.
The Event, so far, does not have any of that. It does seem scattered, as Lost did on occasion, and they are obviously going to work the conspiracy theory angle, as Lost did. While I was not riveted by any characters in the seminal episode, I liked the characters, and the actors appear to be competent.
I am not looking for a new Lost – that plane has flown. Twice. I am merely pointing out strengths of the initial episode of Lost versus the weaknesses of the initial episode of The Event. I sincerely hope that the show overcomes the failings of the pilot, and that it grows into a great show.
Come back next week for my humble opinions on Episode 2!