The Event: Haven’t We Seen This Before?

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Last night’s premiere of The Event demonstrated two things: Firstly, that networks will do anything to find “the next Lost,” and secondly, that apparently the makers of The Event have decided to only hire actors that I have seen in other things. How else can you explain the fact that Lauren Graham’s last TV boyfriend (Jason Ritter, fresh from Parenthood) is now the boyfriend of the daughter of Lauren Graham’s earlier TV boyfriend (Scott Patterson, who will always be Luke from Gilmore Girls to me. Sorry, Scott)?

It wasn’t just the faces onscreen that seemed so familiar during the show’s first episode, “I Haven’t Told You Everything” – captions in Battlestar Galactica font, ridiculously confusing cross-time storytelling (“Okay, we’re starting here! No, it’s 23 minutes before then! No, it’s eight weeks before that! Now it’s eight weeks ahead, but not the 23 minutes before, it’s before that, like maybe 10 minutes before that? Now it’s eleven months earlier! Now it’s a couple of minutes after the 23 minutes before bit, but still not where we started! Okay, now it’s eighteen months before!” and so on, and so on – I like the the episode kept cutting between storylines and giving us lots of backstory, but it seemed scattered in the way that it was doing it) a la Lost on steroids, and a last minute WTF moment that seemed like a refugee from Fringe all added up to an ongoing sense of deja vu that lasted all hour.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not as if I wasn’t drawn into what I was watching, but even that seemed… I don’t know, forced, perhaps? It felt unearned; more than anything, I felt as if the show had teased me into being interested by teasing apocalypse with those opening seconds and then cutting back, every now and then, to almost apocalypse without actually revealing anything until the end of the episode. But it felt falsely mysterious, as if it were playing for time for that reveal at the end of the episode and was just throwing stuff on screen until the plane vanished through the mysterious portal that the Doctor from er wasn’t telling everyone all about. As much as I wanted to be interested in the backstory and the explanation, I just… wasn’t. It was weirdness for the sake of weirdness, it seemed, a spectacle without anything to back it up.

More than anything, the show reminded me of FlashForward: Diverting enough, but too determined to be something else, another show that you’ve seen already, to be completely addictive in its own right. Maybe it’ll become something else – I hope it does – but on the evidence of this first episode, it’ll have to do so quickly if it wants me to stick around to find out.

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