Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Do NBC's Promos Make You Think 'The Event' Will Be Event Television?

Is anyone else worried by the new promos for The Event on NBC?

During the upfront ceremonies back in May, only one of NBC's new fall dramas "spoke" to me even a little bit. Labeled the second-coming of Lost, mixed with a little 24, The Event centers on some giant unknown potential conspiracy/potential terrorist or otherwise cataclysmic attack. The pilot is full of mystery and questions; no one is who they seem; and one of the most insensitive images in recent TV history takes place as an extremely low-flying plane bears down on the White House. Unfortunately, the promos are making it seem much more...shall we say, "been there, done that" than "new and exciting."

The events of The Event, so to speak, are split into two parts: what goes on with the supposed lead, Sean Walker, and what goes on within the White House with art-imitating life in Blair Underwood's take on a president. Laura Innes is a government advisor who knows some things she refuses to share, even with the so-called leader of our so-called free world. It's an interesting statement to make now, years after the liberal media (and entertainment industry in general) called out the Bush administration for being the puppetmaster's behind his strings.

Taking a break from playing the cute English teacher on Parenthood, Jason Ritter is Sean, the young, seemingly average man who boards a plane and takes it hostage in The Event. But as he points out to the air marshal who draws his own gun on him when he attempts to get into the cockpit, things are not what they seem and he's not the bad guy here. Well, at least we're sure of the former part of that statement. See, he is an average guy who "stumbled" into some huge event, the likes of which this country and this government supposedly have never seen before. But we don't know if it's a "good" event or a "bad" one. And therefore we're really not sure if we should root for him to get into the cockpit.

Let's backtrack a bit, though, shall we? Because the pilot does. Told in a non-linear fashion, we see Sean on a tropical vacation with his girlfriend Leila (Sarah Roemer). They enjoy drinks, the ocean, even some outings with another young couple. All the while Leila checks in with her family and seems to be the nice girl-next-door. But when Sean returns from one outing to find he can't get into his room, things go awry. The desk clerk tells him they have no record of him even staying there. He calls Leila's cell phone and gets a disconnected message. He convinces a bellman to take him up to the room only to find another couple in there. His things-- and his girlfriend-- are gone.

This begins to make much more sense when we see that her father Michael (Scott Patterson) is the pilot of the plane that Sean hijacks. But of course this revelation doesn't come until so far at the end of the episode it's just another "WTF?" moment. Is it an act of something supernatural or a big government conspiracy? Or is it even really the jumping off point of events or in actuality the end, and the series post-pilot will jump backwards to tell the tales leading up to that climatic moment.

If the current promos NBC is running every act break of every scripted show they are airing are to be believed, it is the former. Take the example promo I posted above: how does that say anything but alien/robot race? Innes (and others, apparently) may be different, but they claim they are not really threats. And clearly they've been walking among the "regular people" for quite some time now.

And is it just me, or didn't NBC already do this-- only to be bested by ABC-- with V? I guess only time will tell where this series goes. But if it doesn't go somewhere quick and actually answer some of the many, many questions being raised by these short promos alone, no one is going to stick around for the ride!

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