Flash Forward

Instead of continuing my Jury Duty saga — which I *will* get to, just as soon as I change all the names so no one involved can ever Google it and yell at me or (worse?) add me to facebook — I’d like to talk for a second about the television show “FlashForward.”

This entry will be chock full of spoilers if you’re not up-to-date, which you should be, ’cause this show has promise, legs, moxie, it’s going places. I really, really want it to be everything I want it to be and fill the LOST-shaped void that is sure to be in my heart next May, and like the show LOST, I’m very scared it could go places that make me roll my eyes.

Here’s my thing. I was hooked before it started. The first time I saw the commercial before it aired, I gripped Tyler’s arm and demanded that we set the DVR right then. Time passed and I considered purchasing the book because I was so excited, but then I remembered what a let-down “Darkly Dreaming Dexter” was. Okay, maybe “let-down” is too strong a word, but let’s just say I’m happy “Dexter” the TV show went in the direction it did.

So, when the show started off in the midst of the mayhem, doing the whole “four hours earlier” thing after the teaser that I LOVE because I enjoy getting the chance to say to myself “What the hell is going on?” And, actually, truth be told, it’s almost never to myself — it’s very much out loud, to anyone sitting around me, having paused the show and ruining the flow of the story for them, who then instruct me to just watch the show, and I’ll find out. I *like* that. I like wondering what’s going on and being fed the answer piece by piece.

Which is why “FlashForward”‘s penchant for flashbacks is so irritating to me. In the pilot episode, I was just immersed in the story, on the edge of Melli’s comfortable couch to see what happened next. Then…about 3/4 of the way through, after a commercial break, a character actually utters something along the lines of “Hey, so remember when we all lost consciousness for 2 minutes 17 seconds? Well, look at this tape!” What? Dude, it was a commercial break I just sat through, not a fortnight. It would have been like watching a movie about the Holocaust where, at the very end, Hitler turned to Himmler and said, “Say, so do you remember all those Jewish people we just killed?” Yes, I, an audience member, remember the premise of the show.

This habit continued into the next few episodes. Mark Benford, the protagonist, would think about his flashforward, and in it, he would see several clues that, while they don’t make much sense to us, we get them. Dolls, bracelet, D. Gibbons. Then, one scene later, his kid hands him THE BRACELET, oh my god, awesome reveal…w-what’s that? A flash…back…to the flashforward…where we see the bracelet clue again. Thank you, Network Execs, for assuming I am a moron.

I sort of get it. People complain about being lost in LOST (wocka, wocka), but that’s part of its allure. I think people like watching reruns and catching clues they’d forgotten, or discussing it around the watercooler. But I sort of thought it was trying to be the next LOST.

Okay, but here’s the thing. Aside from a scene two episodes ago that was flashed back to IN THE VERY NEXT SCENE, I love the show, and I will continue to watch it. It’s an awesome premise, and there are a lot of potential mysteries I want to be revealed to me. (Don’t even get me started on what *better* be resolved on LOST before it ends. The Magical Comic Book that Walt had? The Adam and Eve skeletons in the cave? LIBBY IN THE ASYLUM WITH HURLEY?!?)

Here’s my honest-to-goodness question, and feel free to tell me to shut up if it’s just your run-of-the-mill timeloop inconsistencies that I’m supposed to suspend my disbelief and look past. I love Back to the Future, but sure, there are a few things you just have to ignore. So answer me this, and I will be completely FlashForward’s biggest fan.

Okay…we know that when the flashforward happened, the future that everyone saw was a future that INCLUDED the blackout, right? We know this because Mark Benford saw himself SOLVING the whole blackout/flashforward mystery, or at least on his way to it. I think I know something about why he’s drinking, but everyone else in the world knows the exact date and time…even people who may not be wanting to do what they allegedly end up doing, such as Mark’s wife, Olivia.

Now, if you flashed forward to a specified day in the future, wouldn’t all the headlines when that day actually came be like “HEY, TODAY’S THAT DAY WE ALL SAW!” Wouldn’t you want to wave to yourself and leave a note — “Hey, apply for that job, your secret baby daddy is ____, don’t get shot!” You wouldn’t see yourself doing something random; you would probably want to show yourself something. So, are they forcing themselves to do just exactly what they saw and no different so as not to create a temporal distortion that destroys the space/time continuum?

Yeah. Probably that.