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'The Event' Review: 10 Things to Know and Intel from the Show's Creator

by Maureen Ryan, posted Sep 20th 2010 12:15PM
'The Event' is a new conspiracy-mystery-thriller-adventure ensemble drama that kicks off its own brand of mythology 9PM ET Monday on NBC. Opinions vary on whether America is clamoring for another one of those.

If my opinion on the drama (which is below) isn't enough for you, I've also gotten some intel on 'The Event' from creator Nick Wauters; exclusive video and casting news follows. Wauters explained how the show will progress and evolve, how it will be augmented with online content, and how he and the show's writers plan to avoid making viewers feel like Charlie Brown after Lucy has pulled the football away.

Ten Things to Know About 'The Event':

1. My mini-review: I thought 'The Event's' first hour was compelling; it kept my interest and it made me want to see more, which is all I can ask of any pilot. The show has an extremely appealing lead in Jason Ritter, who plays Sean, a vacationing good guy who gets caught up in a terrifying mystery. So if you're having 'FlashForward' anxiety attacks, just know that Ritter is far more endearing than Joseph Fiennes ever was in that arcane and off-putting ABC show. 'The Event' was a well-paced hour that played skillfully with time, and if the characters were a little thin, well, it's a pilot -- it'll take time to give characters shading and dimension.

2. The cast is swell, especially Laura Innes as the mysterious Sophia Maguire, Blair Underwood as President Elias Martinez, Scott Patterson as avuncular dad Michael Buchanan and Zeljko Ivanek as presidential advisor Blake Sterling. As Michael Ausiello reported, Hal Holbrook will be featured in a multi-episode arc. Guest stars Paula Malcolmson ('Sons of Anarchy,' 'Caprica,' 'Deadwood'), D.B. Sweeney and Clea Duvall will appear on 'The Event' as well.

3. 'The Event' creator and co-executive producer Nick Wauters knows the characters in the pilot need to be fleshed out if the show wants to build an audience. "It's all about the characters. That's been my focus since I wrote the pilot," Wauters said. "Ironically, there was not a lot of time to spend on who these characters are in the pilot, but that's what the show is going to be about. There's going to be a lot of action, adventure and plot but it's going to be how these people act and react in this world we've created."

4. After the pilot, the show will continue to have flashbacks, but they'll usually be more character-based. "They'll be used more to give people more information and highlight something in a character's past more than to play on plot points," Wauters said. "For example, we'll see when Sean met [his girlfriend] Leila for the first time."

5. You're not the only one who was nervous about taking on another mythology-based show. So were the actors. "I think some of the actors were a bit reluctant at first," Wauters said. "Once they knew we had a plan and they found out more about that plan, that sold them."

6. 'The Event' producers know you don't want to hear the words "Trust us." "When I said that at TCA [a press event in July], I regretted it the second I said it," Wauters admitted. "I know it's been said in the past by other writers on other shows. I had the same reaction as the [TCA] audience when I said it." In any case, "the only way you're going to know if the show is right for you is to watch it and see if it captures you. We just want people to give us a chance."

7. The plan is to pay off mini-arcs within the season every five or six episodes, and answers will not be held back for inordinate periods of time. "There will be big reveals and big clues in each episode," Wauters said. "It will be a balance between a mystery and a thriller and a character piece, and there's always a little touch of sci-fi. But that's one of many elements. Sometimes you'll forget it's there until something weird happens again."

8. If you do give 'The Event' a chance and like it, there will be a host of online extras that may enhance your experience of the show. Characters from 'The Event' are already tweeting about their lives (you can find those twitter accounts here and here), and those tweets may offer additional information about what's going on. "Some of their tweets seem innocuous right now and don't mean anything, but after you watch the pilot, they will enhance your understanding and experience of the pilot" and beyond, Wauters noted.

9. Look for a Web site called truthseeker5314.com, which will have supplementary videos and information about the mysterious events that begin to unfold on the show (you can also follow @truthseeker5314 on Twitter). The idea behind the Web site is that the intel is coming from a character on the show -- someone that viewers meet early on (though the real identity of TruthSeeker5314 will be shrouded in mystery for a while). "It's someone who has access to top-level, top-secret information. The site is written as if that character really exists and is gathering all these clues and different pieces of information together," Wauters said.

10. Each week, a video called Deconstructing 'The Event' on the show's NBC site will give viewers extra information about that week's episode. But Wauters said the show's team would not go overboard with the additional content. "The online stuff will be about complementing the world of the TV show. It's just extras for people who want more clues, and hopefully we'll even have additional stories that parallel what's on the show."

Freaked by anything that occurred in 'The Event's' first hour? Wauters and executive producer Steve Stark will answer questions on Twitter immediately after the show's premiere. Come back to TV Squad Monday night for a recap of the episode, and check out Stay Tuned in the morning for exclusive information from Wauters regarding what you can expect next week on the show.

Follow @MoRyan on Twitter.

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I've often found your reviews reliable in the past Mo, so I'll try to sit through another 1 or 2 Episodes of this show. But I have to say that the 1st Episode struck me as amazingly bad.

I came away with zero interest in any of the characters. I'm usually able to find at least one or two sympathetic in any program, but I couldn't connect with any of them here. So I was uninterested in the rest of what was going on, and had zero interest in trying to follow the constant jumping around in the timeline. The result was that I watched the majority of the show as if it was linear. I had no problem when Lost did them. I could follow FlashForward's well enough, so it's not that I couldn't have followed them, it's that I didn't see any reason to try to bother.

The show felt like it combined the worst elements of FlashForward & Lost and actually made me reminisce a bit fondly for Heroes. That's pretty incredible as I truly loathed what Heroes had become by the end.

September 24 2010 at 2:37 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I have to disagree with you about the lead -- he seems just sort of weasely to me, not appealing at all. I was hoping he went down with the plane and the focus would shift to the President as lead, until the last few minutes dashed my hopes.

September 23 2010 at 9:10 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I thought the pilot was pretty good. I find the jumping around in time a little annoying, though. I hope that isn't used too much, or I will probably lose interest. Loved the cast so far.

September 21 2010 at 7:47 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Mandyjane's comment

The lead secret service agent, shaved head...has had as many, if not more, movie and television appearances than the rest of the cast. However, all his movies begin after 10:30pm on Cinemax...if you catch my drift.

September 22 2010 at 5:56 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I was intrigued with the show, up until the last 5 minutes anyway. I can accept the idea of an airplane disappearing into a mysterious black hole thing for now, but the idea of the Secret Service rushing to evacuate the President only to get him in his car and just SIT THERE watching the plane approach is ludicrous. If there is no meaningful explanation for them not even making an attempt to flee, then it seems this show is very poorly written and lacks continuity. With all the hype it's been getting, I was hoping for something with a bit more intelligence. Time will tell...

September 21 2010 at 4:56 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

there are times when I don't want to work so hard watching television...

September 21 2010 at 4:07 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Lisa's comment

Spoken like a true American.

Love this show!

October 11 2010 at 11:23 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Mo Ryan

You were right about the misnumbering of the items. That's been fixed. Sorry, it's already been a long week!

September 21 2010 at 11:25 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

No WAY will I watch another series with a jumpy timeline. I didn't finish watching the pilot after bebopping back and forth thru time barely halfway thru the pilot -- it's like listening to a 5 yr old tell a story.

September 21 2010 at 9:27 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

This show sucked! Not enough information to leave us wanting more. Just annoyed. We waited for the first episode, but will not make the mistake of losing any more time on it.

September 21 2010 at 1:28 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Web sites and shows to explain the show? Sounds like work to me, as well as a significant time suck. Nope, too much for me, thanks, plates already pretty full, TV wise.

September 20 2010 at 9:15 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I'm giving it half a season. If things aren't moving along and start drifting into Lost territory I'm out. Can't stand wasting my time on hour long dramas if shit ain't happening. I watched too many people frustrated with the likes of Lost and Heroes and I'm not getting sucked into that again.

September 20 2010 at 1:40 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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