Flash back 13 months, now forward 10, on a cruise ship--then the plane goes through a portral ...
Sep 22, 2010
The Event is the latest Lost rip-off, and so far as I've seen the best since Fringe. It piles on mystery-and-twist after mystery-and-twist, a move that screams, "You think that [i.e. Lost--ed.] was twisty? You haven't seen anything yet." Lost's twists felt like they redefined my vision of life. Their connection to the characters rendered them earth-shattering. The Event uses twists like grenades, and although the premiere episode doesn't bomb--close as it comes--it seems foolishly scatterbrained.
Call it the antidote for the apparently many individuals disappointed, enraged, or just plain sickened by the end of Lost. Most of these individuals didn't recognize Lost as the character drama it was, their sense of the series' purpose overwhelmed and confused by its trademark mind-boggling twists--which, in the end, as in the beginning, were just a storytelling device (how's that for a twist?). The Event is their answer, thus far nothing but 45-minutes-or-so of twists and non-linear narrative. It spends one minute in the present before jumping back 13 months, leaping forward 12 months and 22 days, stepping back another two weeks, jumping forward to 7 days in the past, showing what was going on at the same time somewhere else, showing what was going on 10 minutes ago, going back one week, revisiting what was happening 10 minutes ago, and so on. The episode is all over the place. The storytelling should be too scatterbrained to create any kind of emotional anchor inspiring viewers to watch it again next week, but somehow they pull it off.
I don't know how. Nothing about The Event seems fresh. Mysterious detainment centers in the wilderness, government conspiracies, a rookie moralistic president, secret organizations, a hijacked plane: we've seen this stuff before. The characters don't feel well-rounded or real to me, with two exceptions thanks to good acting: Jason Ritter, the everyman lead, and Scott Patterson, see Gilmore Girls, who is always a pleasure to watch. Lost was so compelling because the characters seemed as real as any in television, let alone in the real world. They had heaps of personality, something which all but the aforementioned actors are unable with which to instill their characters.
The series' appeal lies entirely in its twists. That's why anyone will be tuning in next week. No series has ever thrown so many twists at its audience, and The Event aims to hold that record. Mental reasoning disconnects and one is left with the pure intellectual kick of being made to continuously realign one's ideas of the series. It's a kick, sure, but an increasingly shallow kick as the wave of twisty series continues. No show can make it if the characters don't matter. So far two characters--maybe one a half--matter to me. One can only run so long on twists for the sake of twists. Twist too much and a series winds up like a criss-crossed Slinkie. It happened to Heroes, and I think it'll happen to The Event, too. But something about this episode's confident bravura and off-the-wall bonkers sci-fi pulp storytelling makes me wonder. Which is why I'll be tuning in next week.
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About the reviewer
Tom Benton (TomBenton)
Aspiring high school English teacher with dreams of filmmaking and a strong taste for music.