Big hype surrounded NBC’s The Event, promoted as what the name says — a cross between Lost and 24 in its mythology, conspiracy, government intrigue, large cast of characters, and fractured narrative. I was more than willing to give it a chance, despite having been burned plot-wise by Lost in its final season and to a lesser extent by fellow ABC shows The Nine and FlashForward not going beyond a first season.
One reason why: Event’s showrunners promised both that answers to smaller
mysteries would be rolled out gradually and that they had an early endgame in position if the series wasn’t renewed. Another: Really good television is never a waste of time even if it’s not allowed to reach a conclusion (which, just to spit in Lost’s general direction again, may be preferable to reaching to a poor conclusion or, more to the point, giving up on large parts of the story in creating one). Yet another: I figured I’d
be able to ditch The Event if it truly became unsatisfying and, until that point, have a potentially exciting show to dissect with friends.
I wasn’t prepared for how
of the gate in its time-tossed presentation. But I’ve found Jason Ritter an appealing protagonist in projects from the underrated Joan of Arcadia to ensemble indie Happy Endings, and he helped ground the 24-at-its-most-ludicrous twists in his part of Event’s overall tapestry. I also enjoyed the enigma of the refugees being held in Alaska — visitors of some kind; aliens or time-travelers, it seemed — led by Laura Innes’s Sophia, who had a rapport with Blair Underwood’s President Martinez that shifted
from testy to tender and back.
… For a while. You know the joke about why TV is such a successful medium? It’s not exactly rare and it’s seldom well done. The Event felt increasingly to me, for all its aspirational intricacy, like a mundane, mediocre television show, one that I wanted to care about but didn’t. And there’s no excuse for that, or at least for me watching it, when not only Lost and 24 but Fringe, Mad Men, Breaking Bad, and even How I Met Your Mother have pushed boundaries through quality drama, thoughtful fantasy, and innovative production. My time is too valuable. So I dropped The Event for a week to see how it felt and haven’t blinked.
Just because The Event didn’t work for me doesn’t mean it didn’t work for you, so feel free to leave a comment either way.
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Verge • Out of the Pantheon, Into the Fire