FlashForward is winning me over. This ABC serial drama has an interesting premise, reasonably compelling plot, and a story line that's not too convoluted. My enthusiasm is mildly dampened by the twist at the end of tonight's episode (don't worry, no spoilers) which seemed a bit too contrived but the show is good enough that I'll let it go.
The premise of FlashForward is that one day, everyone, everywhere in the world suddenly past out for 2 minutes and 17 seconds. While the were passed out millions died as suddenly out of control cars wrecked, 800+ airplanes crashed, and similar problems popped up when people who operate machinery were as unconscious as everyone else.
But people weren't quite unconscious. They actually saw 2 minutes and 17 seconds of a date 6 months in the future. People saw where they were and what they were doing. They ended up with a memory of the future. When they woke up, they corroborated there stories with one another.
So now the show is about how people deal with this glimpse of the future and the investigators who try to figure out what happened.
I've seen a lot of Star Trek in my time (I know -- shocking, isn't it) and time travel is often badly done with temporal loops and figure 8s that just leave me scratching my head. Heroes has just gotten awful in its time travel stuff (I'm pulling for Hiro Nakamuara to succeed at what he wants but he's got to stop with the lousy year jumping -- it was a cructch for the show that has atrophied the leg.)
But FlashForward is getting it right so far.
You can debate whether this is a time travel show or not.I find is most interesting as a meditation on predestination.
Now that you know what your future holds, what do you do? If you don't like it, can you do things now to make sure that future doen't come to pass or are you stuck with it regardless of what you do? If it is a future you want, can you consciously do things to bring it about? Or since you know the future, can you not worry about doing things to bring it about because it will happen regardless?
If it's not the future that you want, you may try to change things. But is it possible to change things and alter the future at all? Or will all attempts to avoid an outcome?
When people know the future, are they compelled to do things they might not otherwise do just to ensure that future comes about?
In that sense, it calls to mind some of the ideas from Bad Monkees -- Omne Mundum Facimus or "We all make the World."
These are the questions science fiction often tries to answer regarding time travel. FlashForward is asking them the right way.
So did April 29, 2010 happen the way it did, or did it happen differently than it did? I imagine we'll get some answers before then.
I can see them coming.
Oh, and be sure to visit The FlashForward Experience and connect with Facebook. It's pretty trippy.