I really wanted to like Flashforward. It's a great idea, certainly--people fall unconscious for a minute or so and see the future. The lead character, a guy named Mark Benford sees himself in the future as being under attack--and drinking again (hes a recovering alcoholic---and an FBI agent.) His wife, Olivia sees herself with another man. In their home (cue cheesy Guiding Light organ music.) Dimitri, another FBI agent doesn't see anything at all. Not because he's asleep on the designated day, but because he's--he's--gulp--dead(!) maybe.
Bottom line, seeing the future ain't no picnic. Okay. We're all down with that---should be a great show---right? Well, it was---then the badness took over: cardboard characters, rapidfire language, 2.5 second emotion "takes," Gray's Anatomy-style romantic angles, over-the-top action bits and gobs--no mountains of heavy-duty scene chewing. Fiennes never met a set he couldn't swallow whole and actually digest-- and he displayed that gastronomic skill this evening with admirable gusto. In one pivotal (aren't they all?) scene, he kept getting moodier and darker until at one point I thought he was going to rip a hole in my LCD set and pull in the surrounding pixels. There is no question that the studio has hired a professional Photoshopper just to select Mr. Fiennes' character and remove all light and color from him. Okay, the actor probably had less than a minute to convey depth, so he did what he could. Unfortunately he did it so well that by the end of the scene he was looking like a candidate for the local exorcist.
Then there was the haunted house scene--where the show actually circled the shark pack (Hollywood sharks swim in packs.) For reasons that are probably unclear even to the actors, the Dimitri character followed a skeleton hand decal to an abandoned and blood-spattered house. With corpses. And one of them had a blue hand (all who understand this plot point, raise your metacarpals.) WE know what happened: somebody at the table with serious clout said, "hey! Let's do a Halloween show! We can smooth it into the plot! Yeah! Some bad guys with blue hands and blood spattered on the wall, yeah!" Eyes rolled, but the writer had clout, so what the hell. Halloween it is. This is television.
I know, BFD, SFW. But it was cobbled together, and showed all the signs of a classic foulup. Proof: To explain the significance, the audience was given a flashforward to a scene that showed a blue hand notation on a bulletin board. Except. . .it was agent Benford's flashforward and NOT Dimitri's. So if the script referred to Benford's flash foward, how come Dimitri saw it? Yes, I know that Hemingway routinely violated the Point of View, but back then nobody knew what POV was all about and really didn't much care. Today, that kind of slip just makes the audience think something isn't right---and also makes screenwriters look bad.
Sleepless writers and Bigfoot Producers dominating a script session can result in this kind of flub, but it takes exceptionally bad choices to lift an entire show, cast, crew and kleig lights over a moving squalus. And boy did this show EVER sport a bad choice.
Remember LOST's cute, cuddly Charlie? The guy who drowned saving his buddies? Guitar player, devoted stepfather, ex-druggie, favorite character to bazillions of preteen girls--and he drowned in what was effectively a caisson near an island where science didn't work so good(you see, the water would have risen to the level of the porthole and there still would have been an air pocket at the top. . .um, never mind.) That Charlie. Played by actor Dominic Monaghan. . .who shows up in Flashforward. . .as a bad guy. A naked bad guy in a scene that looks as though it takes place as an interlude amidst some serious boinking. On a train (tip of the hat to North By Northwest, yeah, yeah.) And then later hiding in the backseat of another lead character's car. I wanted to think: "What if he got the wrong car? What if the driver had decided to get a late dinner somewhere? There's Dominic Monaghan all curled up in the back seat, rehearsing his lines. . .
Never mind the mind-rattle that many Lostie's probably experienced seeing Charlie---er, Whatshisname hiding in a back seat or boinking on their current Lost Replacement television show--he's doing it as a bad guy. . .who might be partly responsible for the flashforward in the first place! Behold the Great Piston of Quality pushing Lovable Charlie down to the level of Ernst Stavro Blofeld---without the white cat.
But, gentle reader, even THAT is not where this show jumped the shark. It happened when he started talking about Shrodinger's Cat--a concept familiar to most serious science geeks and smartass cat owners. But then Monaghan's character actually blurted the two most terrible words ever heard (or written) in science fiction: "Quantum Mechanics." It's the scifi equivalent of "if you can think it, then it must be true," aka "this plot may be nonsense, but we want you to believe it because it's all based in "quantum mechanics."
Shark looks up---sees entire cast, crew, trailer, promos, set and refreshment bar SAIL overhead.