The best thing that one might be able to say based entirely on the pilot episode for THE AFTER is that – so far as production and storytelling goes – it didn’t suck. Granted, there was very little learned about the world these various characters live in – apparently, it’s the End of the World as We Know It and not everyone feels fine. However, there’s a plot twist to the last half that smacks entirely of creative invention; that isn’t to say it’s a bad thing, but rather it’s to say that based entirely on this episode there’s no way to know with any degree of certainty whether or not the last-stage development plays into a potentially greater mythology to a program.
That said, there’s a handful of things going for it. First, it’s basically filled with a cast of good looking characters, enough so that it wouldn’t be hard to tune in from week-to-week to see what they’re up to. The production qualities are mostly very good, though (again) that assessment is only based on the 50 minutes provided – it could certainly go downhill from there. Still, Carter has proven that he has the smarts to make something work even on a relatively limited budget as THE X-FILES in its infancy made a lot of ground out of very little effects-driven work.
If anything, THE AFTER has a solid vibe going for it – the kind of sense that the big reveal is lurking just around the corner in the next episode. Narratively, it ‘feels’ like a cross between ABC TV’s LOST done by way of FLASHFORWARD but on a vastly lower budget. Again, that isn’t necessarily a bad thing considering this was basically a ‘pilot’; we’ll see if it’s given legs, though I’d have to wonder if it might be cost-prohibitive for an outlet as limited as Amazon.com. (Maybe a joint production?)
As it’s coming from Chris Carter, my guess is that he has some game plan in mind, but if THE X-FILES is any indication I suspect there’s no “end game.” For what it's worth, it kept my interest up until about the last ten minutes, when the story turned into a less cohesive 'adventure' involving gunplay, the usual suspects (a gang incident), and taking it on the lam. Sure, I get that this was all a set-up for the final 'twist,' but as there's no possible way to evaluate the strength or weakness of that 'twist' based on what we're given here that ends up being little more than an academic execise ...