Thursday, March 10, 2011

What happened to "The Event"?

I watched, like a giddy six year-old, as the first moments of “The Event” played out on NBC last September. I had seen promos for about five months prior and knew that this show was either going to be huge or an immediate flop right out of the gate. The first episode was amazing. It felt like a half year’s worth of development had been packed in to 44 minutes of screen time. There were intriguing characters, intriguing happenings (a plane-swallowing wormhole?!?) and the promise of more to come.

Another item that gave me hope was a cast featuring relatively new faces on TV. Sure Jason Ritter (as Sean Walker) and Sarah Roemer (as Leila Buchanan) have had movie roles before but never in a straight-up starring role. The fresh faces, to me at least, allow me to more easily digest the roles these characters are portraying. I’m not remembering previous roles they had on other series and I find it easier to accept the story as a whole because I have no preconceived notions about this actors’ previous performances.

As I said, the first episode was epic. It proved that action and science-fiction still had a place in our relatively dumbed down television entertainment culture.

But then it started to go downhill. The show’s pace slowed. It got bogged down in details that seemed to matter little to the overall story. (Those fucking aliens are up to something!) Not to mention that there were plenty of elements (even for a sci-fi themed series) that were too far-fetched (and I was a die-hard “Lost” fan) to believe.

“The Event” rapidly lost its initial momentum. It’s almost like the writers had originally penned a two hour movie and now found themselves having to fill the time between parts one and two with an additional 20 hours of writing. They, not unlike me, seemed to have landed a television series without a firm plan on how to create captivating episodes to cover a season. It became obvious that the character lacked depth. The acting became almost painful and I was as close to throwing in the towel as ever. But after hanging on through most of November’s episodes I rationalized that I had committed too much time to “The Event” to give up at this point. The show eventually went on a three month hiatus and, as its return on Monday, March 7 proved, the writing staff had finally found their groove.

The action was back and the pace was fast. It was almost to the point that if you missed one scene you’d have some serious catching up to take care of. The alien story came back and sort of tied in those seemingly pointless details which seemed to be filler in previous episodes. But the rating seemed to indicate that a three month hiatus was too much for many viewers to take. “The Event” had been shedding viewers from the very first episode but when a “Spring premiere” fails to produce any sort of an increase, the writing’s on the wall.

I guess the one positive of watching a series whose cancellation seems to be a nearly sure thing is that it won’t drag on for endless seasons. Maybe that’s best for serialized dramas like “The Event”. In any case, “The Event” is back on my watch list but only because I have a lot of time invested and its end is near. If it was to drag on for even one more year I’d probably get off the couch and find a hobby.

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