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The Event

The Event doesn't start in the US until tomorrow.... but TV Tonight already has the skinny on whether it lives up to expectations or not.

It was Hollywood producer Irwin Allen who perfected the disaster genre in the 1970s with movies like The Poseidon Adventure and The Towering Inferno. It was Lost that kicked it up a notch on the small screen, opening out the storytelling, ramping up the location work and giving audiences a mystery they either bought into or abandoned out of sheer frustration.

A number of shows have followed Lost, literally: Heroes, FlashForward and now The Event. Coincidentally, all four are Channel Seven acquisitions.

The Event is promising not to make the “mistake” of some and drag out its big turning points. And by the looks of the first episode they have pretty much struck the right balance of action, fun, character and even a WTF? moment.

The first episode revolves predominantly around Sean Walker (Jason Ritter), a likeable young man who is about to propose to his girlfriend during an ocean cruise.

But in a trick of fastforward and flashback we also see him caught up in a plane heist. Nine years to the month after 9/11, its impact is now inspiration for drama.

How Walker came to be in such a predicament helps drive the intriguing plot of the premiere episode.

We also meet President Elias Martinez (Blair Underwood) – another African-American President (thankyou 24)- and Sophia Maguire (Laura Innes), an enigmatic figure and leader of a mysterious prison group, and Director of National Intelligence Blake Sterling (Željko Ivanek).

Innes looks like she will be this show’s answer to Mary McDonnell (Battlestar Galactica), while having Ivanek is a casting coup. Look out for the 9/11 copycat moment involving the President while he is on tour in Florida.

Unlike others in the genre, this doesn’t feel like too many disparate characters ambitiously placed across a broad landscape. In fact there are chapters designed to focus on specific individuals, central to the action. With the sympathetic character of Walker, a nice guy swept up in a bigger masterplan, it makes the most of a good entry point into what will surely be a vast, conspiratorial, and occasionally scifi, story.

But high concept dramas like this also need to do more than just create sympathetic characters. They need a sequence (usually driven by special effects) that delivers a “wow” moment. Flashforward opened with that but left little else to back it up with. The Event jump-cuts from moments of jeopardy and high stakes to the personal, and even throws in moment that will leave you stumped -and wanting to tune back in.

Just what the “event” of the title is remains to be explained.

While it’s hard to imagine 6 seasons rolling out after the “event” is eventually disclosed, nobody embarks on a project of this scale without having mapped out big story arcs. You get the feeling even the revelations of the first episode are merely a jigsaw piece in a more convoluted labyrinth.

At first glance The Event doesn’t look like it will quite fill the gaping hole left by the complex, cinematic Lost, but it’s a great alternative to an abundance of procedural dramas on the small screen and it kicks off with just the right amount of fun.

Fasten your seatbelts. We’re in for a ride.

The Event airs 8:30pm Monday September 27th on Seven.

28 Responses

  1. Do you know why Channel 7 appears to have taken this program off air? I watched this week’s episode, but the show does not feature in the next TV guide. As usual, Ch7 kept moving it’s programming time further back (which usually indicates that it will soon disappear!) but nothing has been said. Why do they do this? They must know that lots of people have been watching and will want to know what happens next, and why it isn’t being shown any more. Maybe they could re-run it during the non-ratings period, but is it too much to ask for Ch7 to tell us?

  2. I really think this is the next big show to come out of the US. Flashforward also promised this type of precedence and i did watch every single episode of that too but The Event looks like something different and something that will fill the void of Lost, Flashforward and 24. I hope it does well.

    I cant wait till Monday night.

  3. I must be about the only one who liked most of Lost, Heroes and watched all of FlashForward. FF was a little disappointing but gathered pace as the season/series came to an end. Lost was great I didn’t mind the ending, looking back you could see it coming. Heroes changed over the years and I liked following the changes.

    I’m looking forward to The Event after all the hype.

  4. Hi David, can you please tell me when these 3 series may feature on Australian TV? Firstly, the new HBO series ‘Boardwalk Empire’ which started overnight in America with the first of 12 episodes directed by Martin Scorsese and featuring Steve Buschemi in a 72 minute long pilot…the next show is ‘Undercovers’ an NBC spy drama which begins in America on Wednesday by JJ Abrams…then in January on HBO David Milch and Michael Mann team up with the series ‘Luck’ which features Nick Nolte, Denis Farina, John Ortiz and Dustin Hoffman. Michael Mann directed the hour long pilot episode and I am really looking forward to his return to TV…if you can let me know wether channels like Showcase and Movie Extra are likely to get Boardwalk Empire and Luck, and which channel is likely to get Undercovers, and when those shows are likely to air here it would be appreciated…two other things, do you think the new series of Californication in January will be fast tracked on Ten, and which channel in Australia currently holds the rights to Michael Mann’s Miami Vice series? Is it still TV1? I would enjoy seeing it air regularly here. Hope you can get back to me with info to any of my questions. Thanks.

  5. “Innes looks like she will be this show’s answer to Mary McDonnell” – I thought exactly the same thing! Mid-fifties, vaguely hippie, apparently soft exterior, hard-as-nails inside. They even look similar. Presumably she will be the foil for Ivanek’s character.

    Less than 180 hours to go…

  6. i too have noticed how little promotion there has been. for a show 7 are trusting with a Mon 8:30 slot i’d expect much more. This is the type of show that you overhype. the viewers you get for the premier is probably all you will ever get and it will only be downhill from there. this time last year everyone was talking about FlashForward or atleast knew when it was on. now everyone i have spoken to hasn’t even heard of the The Event.

    i trust it will be a good show, but i think it will flop.

  7. I saw the ad for The Event on Seven with the rectangles and squares. It looked good, and will be interesting to see how it fares.

    Does anyone know what the piano tune that was playing behind the ad for The Event was called?

  8. I don’t see how Lost’s disappointing ending could have been planned from the beginning.

    Flash Forwards opening was pretty epic but the concept had to many contradictions.

    Heroes was a mess after a great first season. They got lost in all the time travel and rebooting of the stories.

    Still, I’ll give this a go.

  9. I gave up on Lost after ep 1 of season 2, Heroes somewhere in season 3, and Flash Forward after about 6 eps. I doubt I’ll give this a go. I think I just need my shows to be a bit more reality based.

  10. I’m a big fan of serialised dramas, finding them much more interesting than episodic shows. As such, I’m really looking forward to The Event. So far it appears to have an excellent cast, great production values, and what will hopefully be an intriguing premise. Can’t wait!

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