Unless you’ve been living in a box for the past few months, you will most certainly have been bombarded with NBC’s non-stop promotion of The Event. With Lost now off the air, NBC is no doubt setting The Event up to take its place in the hearts and minds of viewers. With the manner of which NBC is consistently promoting this series, one has to wonder whether viewers will be intrigued or completely turned off. Especially since the pilot doesn’t serve to answer the question that have been beckoning every television and radio commercial – what is “the event?”
Setting aside the poorly written ad-copies, viewers should now know (thanks to Lost) that whatever “the event” is, it will never be as entertaining as watching the characters’ journeys throughout. Of course, if six seasons of questions and five episodes of answers isn’t your type of series, you’ll be happy to hear that the producers have no plan to withhold what exactly “the event” is.
… just don’t expect to find out in The Event series premiere.
Preview (courtesy of NBC)
The Event premieres with a conspiracy of both national and global proportions. Sean Walker (Jason Ritter), stumbles into a national conspiracy after his girlfriend Leila (Sarah Roemer) mysteriously disappears from a Caribbean cruise. Elsewhere, President Elias Martinez (Blair Underwood) is scheduled to announce the release of a group of detainees led by Sophia Maguire (Laura Innes) — despite the disapproval of his Director of National Intelligence, Blake Sterling (Zeljko Ivanek). Their futures are on a collision course in a global conspiracy that could ultimately change the fate of mankind.
Like Lost or, dare I say, Flashforward, not much is revealed in the pilot about what this ominous “event” is. Therefore, this review is based solely on the talent of the main cast, the intentions of the producers and the future potential of the series. Unfortunately, many viewers may not be able to look at the series the same way. With NBC promoting The Event every chance they get, many of those who tune in will be disappointed to find that the appearance of some kind of “event” only occurs in the episode’s final moments… and even then, it’s only minimal.
Until those final moments, viewers will no doubt be confused and/or annoyed with the way in which the producers chose to convey the initial plot of the series. Instead of a single, coherent storyline, the producers chose to jump around from various moments of the past, to present day events (not the event – and it’s not time travel. Think Damages). While any other series would be crucified with this poor choice in storytelling (especially since it’s done somewhat poorly), one has to give The Event a little leeway because in this television environment, it’s not easy to capture an audience with this type of ambiguous series. I have a feeling that once more information regarding “the event” is revealed that the poorly realized time jumps will be lessened, as in the pilot they only serve to create artificial excitement and a sense of intrigue; Something that I hope will be replaced by actual excitement and intrigue as the series progresses.
Much of what will make this series work is the cast. Jason Ritter, Blair Underwood and Zeljko Ivanek are all great in the pilot and with the addition of Clifton Collins Jr. (he’s not in the pilot), they certainly have the talent to support an amazing story. In the beginning, much of the story revolves around Jason Ritter’s character, Sean Walker, and his girlfriend Leila Buchanan, played by Sarah Roemer as they go on a Caribbean cruise. If you’ve seen any television in the past ten years, you will be familiar with this type of premise. Their initial storyline is more or less a means by which the writers can unravel their intriguing storyline. While the first reveal of “something’s not right” isn’t as exciting as one would have expected, the subsequent events and thought-out subplots certainly help sell it.
Of course, there’s no way such an “event” could happen without some kind of government cover-up. Since government cover-ups aren’t exactly something new to television dramas, The Event needs to be able to separate themselves apart for the rest. Fortunately, Blair Underwood as President Elias Martinez serves as an apparent surrogate to the audience. In this sense, the cover-up does not start from the top as the President is one of the last people to learn that the CIA has a secret prison in which they keep people that are connected to “the event.” Unfortunately, the audience isn’t let in on what exactly is going on as the President is eventually brought in on the cover-up.
With Zeljko Ivanek playing as Director of National Intelligence, Blake Sterling, NBC couldn’t have picked a better actor to play the apparent “bad guy.” With Sterling holding all of the information to “the event” and the CIA cover-up, it’s truly a joy to watch the back and forth between the President and Sterling, as the President wants to know and see everything and Sterling is forced to comply.
After a quick trip to the Arctic prison, the President meets with those connected to “the event” and decides that it’s time for the nation to know. While those watching will no doubt be excited to see this particular event unfold, it’s quickly interrupted by a full-sized passenger jet flying straight towards the president.
As the series comes to a close, we are waiting to see the giant airliner crash into the President’s vacation house and the scene of the press conference. Although, in the pilot’s last moments, something happens and the plane somehow disappears. While the episode ends before anything else can be explained, viewers are left knowing that what just happened has something to do with “the event” and that “they” helped save the President from an airplane assassination.
The series premiere of The Event is the textbook definition of potential. With a great cast and somewhat intriguing plot, if any series is going to make this ominous, ambiguous type of storytelling work following Lost, this certainly will.
The Event airs Monday’s @9pm, on NBC
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