NBC's anticipated high-concept sci-fi show bowed tonight, beginning what NBC hopes is a long mystery that will entrance the whole world. So, now that it's here, will it be the successor to Lost that NBC hopes it will be?
The Set up: It's all very mysterious. The show jumps in time and skips from character to character, showing the perspective of a few different people at certain points surrounding the "Event," the climactic moment that bookends the pilot. We follow the President of the United States, a regular guy, his would-be father-in-law and an operative of unknown credentials. And, of course, they're all connected. How and why forthcoming, if at all.
At the center, is Jason Ritter's character Sean Parker. He's just an average guy who loves his girlfriend and is about to propose to her while they're on a cruise together. He shows his valor by saving a drowning stranger, obviously villainous, in a scene set on a rock cliff that looked exactly like where Jack and Locke had their final stand in the finale of Lost. He's also the one who's the most at a loss, as shown in the classic "we have no record of you" scene where he begins to realize that something is afoot.
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Cringe Factor (out of 10): 5. The Event isn't terrible. There's obviously a lot going on and some of it comes off all right, like the twist of the father-in-law being a key element to the climax. But one gets the impression that the show is trying really, really hard and that makes certain moments kind of laughable - the terrible "stop that plane" scene between the agent and an "I picked the wrong day to stop drinking" air traffic control guy was particularly bad. But then again, the moment of the "Event" was pretty well done, but constructed in a way that it could mean anything the writers need it to mean.
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The assumption is that there's some sort of alien involvement here - ER's Laura Innes plays a mysterious woman named "Sophia" and don't all alien invaders go by one name - V's Anna or Klaatu, of course. The intermingling of government and alien is really X-Files-y, but it's been a while since there was a good show about aliens, so I guess that's not so bad.
Over/Under for Cancellation: One season. NBC has obviously staked on a lot on this show and isn't gonna give up on it too easily. However, if the only way it can provide suspense and mystery is to keep deepening its mythology and promising answers, it will probably fail miserably and bear the brunt of the grudge that most of the world holds against the finale of Lost. Especially if they keep having characters tell each other "I haven't told you everything" any time something interesting happens.