The high-budget ABC sci-fi less-than-thriller known as Flashforward has been canceled, and by a few accounts, it’s a tragedy. By many more accounts, however it’s a good thing, and here are just five of the biggest reasons why that’s actually the case.
Read the followup to this article, Thirteen More Reasons I’m Glad FlashForward Was Cancelled.
Reason 1 – Still reeling from the massive disappointment that was Lost with all its years of creating threads that could never be tied back in, viewers can’t be expected to sign on to another multi-year quasi-drama with a non-existent storyline, and we can’t be expected to so quickly forget it when so many of the cast members are the same.
Reason 2 – Story arc was weak, weak, weak. Some of the biggest mysteries from the first four episodes were wholly dismissed by the end of the first season in favor of new, more exciting plot twists… This assures us viewers that the writers honestly have no idea what the hell they’re doing.
Reason 3 – We all survived 9/11, so get real. The whole “oh honey, why are you working so much” nonsense when the subject is on the task force to unravel the global mystery rings so hollow it’s absurd. Even in the wake of 9/11, which was infinitely smaller, no spouse asked why they were gone from home so long, or where they’d been all day. We knew where they were, they were trying to solve the damn mystery.
Further, why didn’t 90% of people just quit their jobs? This logic-gap is perhaps better exemplified by putting a gun to your own head, which made exactly no sense at all. If he knew he was going to die, why would he try to take his own life? That could have been his moment of death (and should have), according to prophesy. Only those with a FlashForward would have taken that risk, not those who knew they were already dead.
The plot holes are one thing, but the absurd gaps in logic are quite another.
Why was it that everyone had a fascinating, plot-relevant FlashForward? Most of ours would just be us sitting on the couch watching TV, or more accurately, since we knew it was coming, sitting in groups looking around at our friends like it was Super Bowl Sunday.
Reason 4 – Religion simultaneously underplayed, overplayed and non-played. If a global blackout ever happened, every religion would claim it as their own, and a hundred thousand new cults would spring up claiming it was theirs. They touched on it early, saying attendance at mass had risen, but never really addressed it. If the world really is 90% faithful, as the radical Christians love to say it is, the groundswell in favor of faith would be second to none.
Reason 5 – Budget to Vision ratio imbalance. If you’re going to try to tackle something as big as this, you just have to dedicate the budget to bring it to reality. Otherwise, what’s the point? It just falls flat. The real bummer is that the show had a budget on par with most Hollywood action flicks, but they chose to pocket the surplus rather than reinvesting it to make television history.
I could add to this list lesser complaints like the fact that almost all principal cast members were non-Americans, and they played it fairly poorly, or that that it took a federal agency weeks to create MOSAIC, when it would have already been running in minutes thanks to Blogger, Wikipedia, or any number of other organic entities. I can even complain that Gough’s suicide would have already been executed by a thousand others, or that the discrepancies between FlashForwards would have been noticed within a single day.
I won’t go in to any of that. I’ll just say that a strong, solid storyline is critical to telling a story, and that trying to supplant it with a smoke and mirror routine was ruined by, well, a smoke monster. I think his name was Locke, but I could be mistaken. Hollywood writers have either gotten so lazy that they think we’re all suffering from head injuries, or, more likely, they are themselves suffering from them.
FlashForward was officially cancelled, and I say good riddance. If you want to tell a story, have the whole thing figured out from the beginning. That’s why the last Lord of the Rings installation made more money than the first, and why the last Matrix made less money than the second (despite a higher budget and rabid following).
This tale doesn’t spell the end of television as we know it, it just hopefully spells the end of terrible television, and that’s a good thing.