Warning, there be major spoilers ahead. And be warned, I wrote this somewhat hastily as I was watching,
“The Event” is being touted as NBC’s answer to show’s like “Lost” and “24.” According to an interview with star Jason Ritter, the show’s mythology and entire storyline is planned out perfectly to last for five seasons. My primary reason for watching the show happens to be Ritter, as I enjoyed him immensely in both CBS’s “Joan of Arcadia” — which was canceled way, way before its time — and “Freddy vs. Jason,” one of my favorite guilty-pleasure movies. Expect separate blog entries about both sometime in the near future, as I’ve intended to write about them for some time now.
I never watched “24” or “Lost,” despite my love for JJ Abrams. “24” just never appealed to me. Decent concept, but it was taken way too far. And “Lost” was, from what I’ve heard, far too confusing. Story on top of story being added without wrapping anything up until, apparently, the finale.
I’ve watched shows with strong mythologies before — “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and “Alias,” to name a couple. “Buffy” remains one of my favorite series to this day, from start to finish. “Alias,” on the other hand, lost me after the first couple of seasons, and I never watched the final season at all. Where “Buffy” succeeded, for me, was in its self-contained seasons. Each season had an overall arc that was generally wrapped up by the end, leading into the next season’s “big bad.” “Alias” started out as an incredible spy series with fantastic action and compelling characters. Sydney Bristow is absolutely one of my favorite heroines, and Jennifer Garner played her superbly. But unlike “Buffy,” “Alias’s” mythology was, in my opinion, its weakest point. “Alias” wasn’t quite sure what it wanted to be — a spy series or a supernatural one — both of which I enjoy — but in its attempt to marry the two, it weakened both.
So I’ll start with “The Event’s” weaker points. For me, that primarily lies in its jumpy timeline. Scenes go from now to 23 minutes earlier to months earlier, back to now, and then back to days or months earlier once more. I am by no means a stupid person, at least not in my opinion. But trying to follow the jumps in time is a bit confusing. I have no doubt that I’ll get used to it, but it will take a little time. I guess I’m a linear person. Perhaps another weak point — though far less annoying to me — is the plot’s slow unraveling. There’s plenty of action to keep you interested, but according to Ritter in an interview, several episodes into filming, due to secrecy, he isn’t yet actually aware of what The Event is, though at least one of his co-stars is. Which makes me wonder how long it will be before we, as the audience, are made aware.
The strengths outweigh the weaknesses, for me. As I already hinted, I think Jason Ritter is star material, which only makes sense, given the fact that he’s the son of the incomparably fantastic John Ritter. It’s really unfair to compare the two, though, because the younger Ritter’s talent clearly stands on its own, unlike some other children of well-established stars. Laura Innes — you probably remember her from “E.R.,” but for me, she will always be the recurring character of Bunny Mather on “Wings” — plays the mysterious Sophia, some sort of prisoner — one of 97, it seems — whose existence is about to be made public by recently inaugurated American President Martinez (Blair Underwood, who happened to make the commencement speech at Carnegie Mellon University the year my cousin graduated, and I attended).
The announcement is interrupted by an airplane, which appears to be on a collision course with them. One of the passengers is Ritter’s character, Sean Walker, who had been trying to stop the plane when he was mistaken by the Air Marshal as a terrorist. Shortly after the marshal stops Sean’s seemingly crazy attempt to stop the plane, a gunshot rings out from the cockpit. Earlier scenes show Sean on vacation with his girlfriend, Leila (played by Sarah Roemer), where he seemingly saves the life of a young woman and makes friends with the girl and her boyfriend. Not sure yet how this ties into everything.
And then there’s Simon Lee (Ian Anthony Dale), who makes an unsuccessful attempt to stop the plane himself from the ground. And Leila’s family, targeted by a group of people dressed in black near the end of the episode. Leila’s younger sister is kidnapped, and her father then boards the very plane that is seen later barreling towards the ground. Blackmail, you think? Especially since we find out in flashback that Leila’s disappeared, and record of her and Sean’s presence on their cruise ship has vanished, with another couple now in their suite acting as though they’ve been there the entire time. And Leila’s cellphone has been disconnected. Cut to a view of Leila’s house, where a hand is seen in a pool of blood on the floor.
The final moments reveal the plane once again barreling toward the ground, seemingly in an attempt to prevent the President’s press conference, Sean pleading with Mike not to crash this plane. Suddenly, an energy vortex opens in the sky, swallowing up the plane, and it’s gone. Sophia, now with the President, comments, “They saved us,” and President Martinez wants to know who.
And I’m left desperately wanting to know where the plane is and who took it. The obvious guess is aliens, but I think that’s too obvious. I have no problem whatsoever with obvious, though. I just want to know what The Event is. And I will definitely be tuning in to find out. I’m not quite ready to say I’m hooked, but I am incredibly close.
I don’t plan to review every episode of the series, as I will usually be watching it on my DVR from the treadmill. I just happen to have Mondays off this month. I will likely tweet about it, though, so follow me if you want to keep track of my opinion.
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