Pilot Watch: 'The Event'
by Joel Keller, posted Jul 20th 2010 3:03PM
From now through August, we're going to be taking a quick look at the fall and mid-season pilots that the networks sent to critics after their upfront presentations.
Keep in mind that in each case, our opinions are based on a pilot that could be completely recast and reworked between now and the fall.
Show: 'The Event'
Timeslot: Mondays, 9PM ET
The lowdown: Usually in this space, I give a canned description of the pilot -- and, by extension, the series' -- general premise. But 'The Event' is a hard one to pin down. The story flashes back and forth in whatever increments it needs in order to explain what's going on in the present. What we know is that in the span of eleven days, Sean Walker (Jason Ritter) has gone from a happy guy who's about to ask his girlfriend Leila (Sarah Roemer) to marry him to a desperate man who pulls a gun as a plane is taking off from Miami. In the meantime, the new president (Blair Underwood) is finding out about an Alaskan prison run by the CIA, whose mysterious prisoners are led by the equally mysterious Sophia (Laura Innes). By the end of the episode, an event happens which might very well affect the fate of mankind.
What we're saying: For some reason, NBC decided to fill the timeslot vacated by the confounding 'Heroes' with a show that has the potential to be equally confounding. Just like every show of this ilk, where something big happens in the pilot and the rest of the series is spent either explaining it, going back in time to set things up and reveal clues, or both, 'The Event' can go one of two ways. Either it'll go on and be compelling and a must-watch roller-coaster ride like 'Lost,' or it'll plod along and never capture the excitement of the pilot until it's too late, like 'FlashForward.'
The oddest aspect of the pilot was that, to be honest, the story didn't do much for me right up until "the event" itself. The characters weren't very compelling, and the timeshifting method of storytelling was becoming more grating than anything else. Through most of the pilot, I was mostly wondering how Scott Patterson could possibly be playing the father of Roemer's character, who's likely in her mid-20s (he can, by the way... he's 52, shockingly enough). But once "the event" happened, I was hooked... at least for another episode or so, which is usually all these serialized shows get from audiences, who no longer have the energy or patience to follow another 'Lost' or 'Heroes' unless they think it's going to last.
Here's a preview:
Tell us what you think. Are you willing to invest in another serialized show?