'Flash Forward' ABC sci-fi series in 2009

The new ABC series FlashForward certainly sets us up with a hook. It’s 'Flash', not 'FastForward,' which would mean something else. The series is created by David S. Goyer and Brannon Barga. This pilot needed to be a full two hours, like a “movie” – watching this pilot was a bit like going to the movies anyway. Officially, the series is distributed by ABC Films (that is, Walt Disney Pictures) and 'Five'. The premise is intriguing enough, inasmuch as it takes the public some time to figure out what the question is. On October 29, 2009, everyone in the whole world (except for one cloaked figure in Commerica Park in Detroit – no wonder it made Sports Illustrated) blacks out and loses 137 seconds of their lives. Carnage ensues, with massive auto wrecks (on a two-way traffic bridge in LA which I do not recall ever driving over). Los Angeles is in shambles, and for a while the authorities go through the usual suspect possibilities: dirty bomb, EMP, coordinated attack. It’s a little while before people realize it happened all over the world, and then they start building “do tell” websites for people to compare the visions that they experienced, to match up exactly what will happen on April 29, 2010. (Will Tampa Bay be playing in Boston’s Fenway Park and sweep a series on the road? Only MLB knows now. It’s funny that some of the foreshadowing in this series involves baseball, so far.)

Joseph Fiennes is the strongest character as a tall, thin vigorous Charlie Banford; John Cho suspects, from the absence of vision, that he will be dead. Do can we change the future without the usual paradoxes? With a mystery like this, one wonders how the media would cover it. AC360 would be a good start. Of course, the question is 'why?' Is it an aberration in the fabric of space-time? Is it the kind of scenario that the History Channel Universe series says could destroy the planet? My own dreams recently seem like visions, and I certainly won’t identify anyone in them (at least not within the purview of Internet search engines). But in one dream I was trying to get into a Minneapolis-style skyway that seemed to be on another planet, with the problem that the outer tunnels did not connect to the inside, that seemed to be in a parallel universe, across branes. And then I gave in and enjoyed a barbecue brisket breakfast, and read a critique of my websites, blogs and films (that according to the dream I had succeeding in making, finally). The reviewers felt like I was living in my journaling (even if English teachers encourage the activity) rather than really living, as if then the writing had no purpose, as it could not support any specific person. Everyone was left behind.
Then another vision was a bit like “Stagefright”. I’m walking on a movie set where the actors are rehearsing a street mugging, maybe even looting as after the 'FlashForward' mayhem. I am captured, as if I am an actor in the skit, perhaps an audition. One of the players pierces my chest with a needle, and it goes into my heart. I realize that the robbery is “real”, not just an act, that I am to be expropriated. I wake up from rem sleep. The heart rate slows down after I walk around. In the show, however, the people just come to, into mayhem if they were out and about, especially driving. Think about texting for 137 seconds while driving. In my own experience, telepathy may become the next technology. I sit, eating a burger in an ESPN sports bar, before going to a Landmark Theater next door for a movie, and think of a particular person. I look up at a particular college football game on the flat plasma screen, and there he is, in the crowd. There is a bizarre scene in Detroit's baseball park. The Tigers won only 43 games in 2003. Look how good they are now. There is hope for the Nationals yet! The show had just one episode after Thanksgiving, and resumes March 10, 2010.

Tonight two scientists from a plasma laboratory in Palo Alto, CA said that their experiment could have caused the blackout (no, they weren't from Facebook!) But then EMP towers in Somalia, photos taken in 1991, need to be explained as the scientists say they started their work in 1992. Were they hacked by the people in Utah and Commerica Park? Did they get their technology from aliens? Will there be a second blackout if too many people "change the future" as Joseph Fiennes's character did in Hong Kong tonight.

The premise is certainly intriguing!Third picture: no, not an EMP tower in Somalia; a cell phone tower in DC's Shaw Neighborhood, not too far from the Town DC.

FlashForward” goes on, with a particularly interesting episode April 28 called Goodbye Yellow Brick Road directed by Nick Gomez.

FBI agent Janis (Christine Woods) tells her backstory (two years before, in 2007), of her tough physical training at Quantico with Demetri (John Cho) doing ropes and low crawls, to her recruiting two years before as a double agent. Why? Well, her apparent lesbianism is given as one reason. She’s supposed to delve into the issue of “the Ring”, a quantum computer (looks like a wedding ring) that protects the wearer from the space-time singularity that leads to the FlashFoward.  (Just two people, one of them at a baseball game in Detroit, were wearing it on Oct. 6 and stayed awake.) Inside is a Tron-like device that looks like a miniature astrolabe. It can compute all kinds of dates, one of which is Oct. 6, 2009, the date of the first FF. There is this woman running a fish shop who provides her contact. She supposed to destroy all copies of the design, so she fries the circuitry in an office building to cause all connected computers to burn up. I’m not sure that makes sense if you have a UPS devices.

The week before 'The Garden of Forking Paths' Mark (Joseph Fiennes) tracks down the missing Demetri and saves him from a Saw-like trap on the Ides of March, changing the future.

The series seems much more compelling to me than "Heroes" on NBC, which has a somehwat comparable premise.

Tonight (May 6, 2010), the episode Course Correction, directed by Leslie Libman, of the hit series FlashForward on ABC brought back memories of the New Line movie franchise 'Final Destination'. It seems that the people who did not have 4/29/2010 flash forwards but survived and “changed the future” are getting tracked down and, well, eliminated. Demetri Noh (John Cho) will have to spend his life “watching his back”. There was another interesting concept, about the ability to identify and recognize people with absolute accuracy visually from facial measurements, in this case the physics professor Simon (Dominic Monaghan) seems to have been in both Toronto and in Commercia Park, Detroit at the same time, and seems to have evaded the blackout. There are discussions of the universe being in balance – sounding like the law of karma. Maybe everyone is getting transported to another universe without knowing it. We have seven unused dimensions according to string theory.'FlashForward' has a real hook. I really wonder where the writers will ttake this. Will there be another blackout?

Recently multiple media outlets announced that ABC had cancelled Flash Forward for the 2010-2011 season. The season finale ('Future Shock') will occur May 27, and apparently has been rewritten to bring the series to a close. The May 20 episode tonight was called 'Countdown' and showed us some of Simon’s formula. There was the bizarre concept of a “tachyon wipe”, which seems to refer to a theorem from the 1970s that information (but not matter and energy) can transcend the speed of light and emerge from a black hole into a new universe. The idea had been promoted in a 1978 book by Jeffrey Mishlove, “The Roots of Consciousness”.

In the closing scene of the episode, Mark Benford (Joseph Fiennes) is walking through a 'FlashForward Day' celebration in LA, which looks like New Years Eve for 2000 in Kathryn Bigelow’s movie “Strange Days,” a similarly styled film where brother Ralph Fiennes plays a cop who watches specially coded disks of people’s memories of crimes – a similar concept. Mark takes a drink from a stranger, a mistake, and gets into a brawl in a bar. He has been told that in all visions he will die soon.

The media reports that ratings for the show had dropped with the Spring return. Critics didn’t like Joseph’s acting. I think about other series. “Smallville” was very strong the first three seasons but then got silly. (They should have had Clark go to college and stay.) 'Everwood' held my interest until Ephram blew off the Julliard audition. FlashForward is a great concept.(I think there should be another blackout.) My life began to drift after 2000 (especially after 9/11) because I had no 'flash forward' as to what my life should be like in my 60s. I wound up having to pay my dues. NBC will cancel the original 'Law and Order' but apparently SVU will continue.

Flash Forward: finale: There indeed was another blackout on 4/29/2009, pointing to March 2011. So, there was another blackout after all, at 10:14 PM, PDT, in the finale (“Future Shock”) of ABC's FlashForward. The second flash forward date is in March 2011. In an improbable finish, Mark Benford (Joseph Fiennes) escapes masked thugs trying to guarantee that the 'mainframe computer' will start the blackout.

Then we see it, we go beyond the event horizon. I suppose we could wind up in another universe, maybe a weakless one with no elements heavier than iron. Such a universe could still support life.

There are all kinds of urban legends of how particle accelerators could produce strangelets that could infect and destroy the Earth.

Curiously, the ABC website link for the final episode doesn’t work.

Since the season was cancelled, but the conclusion is so intriguing, I think a sequel theatrical movie (probably from Touchstone pictures, belonging to Disney) is in order. It needs to come out by March 2011. I suppose that the thrid FlashForward date would become Dec. 21, 2012.