Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The Event - "To Keep Us Safe"

The President (Blair Underwood) wants some answers.
Photo Credit: NBC
Review by Paul Steven Brown

'The Event'
Season 1 - Episode 2
"To Keep Us Safe"

This will probably be the last review that I write about 'The Event', because "To Keep Us Safe" will most likely be the last episode that I watch. After two hour-long episodes, the creators of this show just haven't done enough to retain my interest in it. It lacks originality and the storytelling is clunky.

So the detainees are aliens after all; or should I say "not of terrestrial origin". They look just like us, but age much slower and they are only different genetically by 1%. Kudos to the writers for pointing out that humans and chimpanzees differ by about 2%. I do so like it when sci-fi shows actually manage to use some real science once and a while.

Am I (and maybe a good deal of viewers) so jaded that the idea of "aliens hiding amongst us in plain site" just feels woefully unoriginal? ABC is doing the same thing with 'V', which is of itself a remake of a show from the '80s. I finally gave up on the new 'V', but at least they had the lizard thing going for them. 'The Event' also has the non-human terrorist angle that has been done in 'V' and more effectively on 'Battlestar Galactica'. I just don't get the feeling that 'The Event' is going to do anything new with it, or at least be as edgy as 'BSG' when dealing with the idea. Even though it got out of control at times, the whole "government/alien cover up" bit wa way more entertaining on 'The X-Files'. I like Zeljko Ivanek, but he's not Cigerette Smoking Man. Hell, he's not even a Horned Rimmed Glasses (yes, that was a 'Heroes' reference).

Then there's the flashbacks upon flashbacks. This is not 'Lost'. At least when 'Lost' used this device, it usually only focused on one character per episode. It's all over the place on 'The Event', which could make keeping the timeline straight a headache. I don't find it confusing as much as just plain annoying. At least with 'Lost' the flashbacks gave us additional insight into the minds of the characters and would usually tie into the stuff on the island thematically. On 'The Event' it's mainly used for exposition dumping and revealing secret allegiances, when having it all happen in real time would have been more beneficial and exciting.

This episode we get a flashback of how Sean and Leila met. Well aren't they cute (though Jason Ritter does actually do a good job in his clumsy/shy advances). I still think that the main reason for this scene was to establish that Sean went to MIT and he's really good with computers. I'm not against some bread crumb laying, but it felt a bit obvious.

I honestly don't think that 'The Event' is going to make it past the first season. After a sizable chunk of the viewing public that invested six years into 'Lost' and were disappointed by the finale, plus the failure of wannabes like 'FlashForward' to offer up a competent replacement, a winding mythology show has to be really strong coming out of the gate. At least 'FlashForward' had some engaging characters. 'The Event' has only attempted to make us care about Sean.

So, I'm sorry NBC, but I'm going to have to say no. The concept is stale and the execution sloppy. You couldn't grab me coming out of the gate. As a result, I'm going to have to walk away. Think of this as retribution for keeping 'Heroes' on for four seasons and cancelling 'Journeyman' after only thirteen episodes.

1 comment:

  1. After finally catching up with this show, I'm starting to agree. I might continue to watch for a little while longer (since I'm only investing the 45 minutes to watch, not that and the additional time to write about it), but I've a feeling that even if I enjoy it, it's going to get sacked after this first season (if it even makes it that long).

    Also? As annoying as the constant flashing-back is, what REALLY annoys me is the use of that generic slightly-techy looking wide font for all of the captions, when the treatment of the title sequence is so much cooler.