Flash Forward

I just caught up with that show, and wanted to add a quick addendum to my previous blog which covered the rest of current telefantasy in a little detail: FF is very promising. The 'ask every sensible question' approach to storytelling continues, which feels almost Arthur Clarke in its SFnalness. (Oh God, is that a word? If I just made that up, sorry, it's very ugly.) We have a black shouty boss, but he's one with tons of humane humour, and, in that his subordinates are happy to take the mickey out of him a little, he feels more like a real workplace boss than any other black shouty boss on TV. And we have the marvellous Demetri Noh, a very personable Korean lead. This shouldn't be a big deal, but the genuinely multi-ethnic ensemble (not just loads of white blokes and their one or two very nice black friends) only arrived in telefantasy with Lost, so it's still worth celebrating when a non-white character gets such screen time. The ecological niche Flash Forward is occupying is that of Heroes: if it's about one big understandable and interesting shift in the real world, then mainstream folk will love it too. And that big change can take you round the world, which was the real innovation of Heroes, that effects could now make audiences accept that they're in Munich or the Sudan. I'm genuinely interested in the storytelling challenge the show has set itself, and it's running at it like it's got plot to burn. Plus casting Jack Davenport, a man with previous in the matter of charismatically nicking other peoples' shows out from under them as a character who's going to do the romantic equivalent of exactly that is genius. (But there is a Coupling mashup video waiting to happen.) I do wonder why nobody in their flash forwards is yelling 'hey, this is then, this is that moment!' And I hope those who've read Rob Sawyer's book will refrain from spoiling the big reveal of what's doing this. But again, another bold new telefantasy show. Great stuff. Cheerio!

13 Response to "Flash Forward"

  • Stuart Ian Burns Says:

    And in an "interesting" twist Davenport who of course played Steven Taylor in the British "Coupling" appeared in the flash forward of Sonya Walger who played Sally in the US version.


  • Josh Says:

    You mention Heroes in this blog but I'd really like to hear any more thoughts you have on the show.


  • frankwales.com Says:

    My understanding is that the plot of the book is sufficiently different from what's been seen on-screen so far in FlashForward that the cause in the novel couldn't reasonably be the cause in the show.


  • Laurie Mann Says:

    I actually think Fast Forward feels much more like Lost than Heroes. That is good news to me as I gave up on Heroes last year and doubt I'll go back. Lost had a rough second year but rebounded, for the most part.

    It resembles Lost more because of its randomness - the kangaroo jumping a few minutes after people "woke up" around felt very much like the polar bear in Lost. The complete chaos. The only thing that seemed unreal to me was the speed with which the hospital "got back to normal" after everyone whoke up. The hospital would be a disaster area for weeks or months to follow.

    Still, a well-cast, compelling piece of work.


  • lubkin Says:

    Probably no harm if those who've read the book reveal anything in it. Rob says, beyond the premise, the only substantive link to the book is thematic.

    My biggest gripe about the show so far is the Tuckerism of lead characters named Benford and Varley. Every time they're mentioned, I'm yanked out of the story.


  • smithkingsley Says:

    Great review, thanks! I must confess I started watching the show for Jack Davenport, but I'm hooked on to the whole concept by now.


  • Paul Cornell Says:

    Thanks for that, Stuart. Makes the video easier! Josh: gave up halfway through season two, sorry. Laurie: you're spot on about the kangaroo. A deliberate Lost signifier if ever I saw one, an alienation moment designed, oddly, to make us feel more at home! I actually feel there might be *less* chaos. Every single building seems to have been hit by a plane! But they've thought about the real so much they get the benefit of the doubt from me. Lubkin: yes, but those only yank for SF readers.


  • Anonymous Says:

    I barely even registered Varley and Benford. It's a lot less noticeable than naming your main human villain 'Alfred Bester' as Babylon 5 did.

    - Rob Hansen


  • Paul Cornell Says:

    That's true, Rob.


  • The Sword Is Drawn Says:

    I'm loving Flash Forward, so far.

    Although, every time I hear a reference to "D. Gibbons" it conjures up the image in my mind of DAVE Gibbons, running amongst the sleeping people in that sports stadium, screaming "IT WORKED ALAN!! IT WORKED!!"

    D. Gibbons is a bad man. ;D


  • Paul Cornell Says:

    I think that what's happened is that the little girl was being shown the naughty pages of Watchmen in her flash forward.


  • Anna Flaa Says:

    Loving FlashForward so far. I admit, it reminds me moreso of Lost than Heroes. Following clues, mysterious characters claiming to know more about the grand scheme of things than anyone else, the flashforwards themselves...a concept that is very similar to Lost's 4th season, except that the characters are experiencing them instead of only the audience this time...

    All in all, good show. Looking forward to seeing how they make the premise last for several seasons without it getting old, though...


  • Paul Cornell Says:

    I love the fact that we'll get to the flash forwards themselves at the end of the first season.