Thursday, March 4, 2010

FLASHFORWARD - PART 1, SEASON 1

Loosely based on a novel by Robert J. Sawyer, FLASHFORWARD is an ABC television series produced by David Goyer (writer of several comic book movies, including the BLADE films and BATMAN BEGINS) and Brannon Braga, veteran of several STAR TREKs. Obviously inspired by the cult success of the same network's LOST, FLASHFORWARD is a sprawling, ensemble drama revolving around a catastrophic event and the conspiracy behind it.

The premise is this: a mysterious event caused virtually every single human being on Earth to lose consciousness for 137 seconds, during which time, everyone seems to have experienced visions of their lives six months in the future - but only that 2 minutes and seventeen seconds of it. During that "flashforward," millions of people died in accidents, so a team of FBI agents, led by Special Agent Mark Bedford (Joseph Fiennes, SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE) begin an investigation into its cause. Of course, everyone reacts to these glimpses of their future - some positive, some profoundly negative - in different ways, and much of the show's drama is built on those reactions.

This DVD release only includes the first ten episodes, and so far, I'm going along for the ride. The writing is pretty sharp, the characterizations are sound, and the cast is compelling. In fact, it's made up of a lot of faces familiar to genre fans, including John Cho (STAR TREK, the HAROLD & KUMAR films), Dominic Monaghan and Sonya Walger of LOST, Jack Davenport (BBC's COUPLING), and many others. The overall mystery is intriguing, as is seeing how the various "visions" of the future seem to be coming true, and so far, the producers/writers are keeping the surprises and revelations coming at a satisfying pace.

The ABC Studios DVD set is just fine, with the ten episodes divided between two discs. The image quality is perfect, and the episodes are presented in 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen with Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround sound. There are two bonus features: a featurette on the filming of the premiere episode's "blackout" and the special effects employed, and a tease of future episodes.

I enjoyed the show, and the DVDs are nice. But I believe all ten episodes are also available online for free, and I'm guessing there will be a complete season set later down the road, once the entire year's episodes have aired. If you haven't seen the show, and want to check it out, the DVDs are one option. If you're already a fan, you may want to wait a bit for a more complete release.

BUY: FlashForward: Season One Pt.1