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Five Things You Need to Know About the Return of 'The Event'

by Maureen Ryan, posted Mar 7th 2011 1:15PM
'The Event' started out with a promising pilot, but it ran into the same cluster of problems that so many genre-tinged dramas have encountered in the last few years: Inconsistent plot movement, painful flashbacks, a number of characters who seemed irrelevant or downright annoying.

The NBC show returns Monday with a two-hour episode that airs at 8PM ET, and you may be wondering, has 'The Event' fixed what ails it? Not entirely. What's frustrating about Monday's return is that about half of it works pretty well, but about half of what transpires is fairly clunky.

So should you tune in? That's up to you. But before you decide whether to check in again or not, check out the Five Things You Need to Know about 'The Event's' return:

1. You don't need to have seen all the fall episodes if you want to check back in. 'The Event' dropped out of my viewing rotation a few weeks before it ended its fall run, but there's plenty of expository dialogue among the characters that establishes what happened before the show took its long winter break. Of course, exposition doesn't make for scintillating drama, but you can't fault 'The Event' for wanting to get everyone up to speed. (If you really want to get caught up, there's a refresher video at the end of this post.)

2. There's a new character in the Washington, D.C., storyline. Virginia Madsen plays a politician from Alaska who begins asking questions about strange things going on in her state (as you may recall, the detainee center for 'The Event's' alien visitors is in Alaska). The scenes featuring Madsen and Blair Underwood as President Martinez are merely serviceable, but at least they're much better than the painfully rote scenes between the president and his wife that aired last year.

3. The most painful storyline by far is that of Sean and Leila, the couple inadvertently caught in the middle of various 'Event' conspiracies, plots and lies. Despite being at the center of various story threads, the plight of these two characters gets less interesting by the week. Jason Ritter, who plays Sean, is at least an appealing actor, but Leila, who is played by Sarah Roemer, is blandly written and even more blandly played. As is the case on 'V,' at this point I'm rooting for the crankier cadre of aliens to take out several boring human characters, and Leila's at the top of my 'Event' list. The one saving grace in the Sean-Leila story line is Scott Patterson as Leila's father, Michael, who's deeply implicated in various 'Event' shenanigans. Eliminate Leila and give Michael and Sean interesting things to do and this aspect of the show may stop giving me a migraine.

4. The best parts of Monday's episodes are events that occur in Alaska. I won't say more for fear of diminishing the tension in that story line, but as alien leader Thomas, Clifton Collins Jr. brings real presence and chemistry to the proceedings. And Željko Ivanek is, as always, terrifically nuanced in his role as a tough-as-nails presidential security advisor. Now, what Thomas cooks up in Alaska in Monday's episode is something of a one-off story line, and I'll be perfectly frank: If next week's episode doesn't have a similarly resilient, energetic plot at its center, I'm most likely going to bail on this show. Because...

5. 'The Event' works as long as its mechanical plots move forward in a relatively brisk fashion. If the action slows down, it becomes apparent how threadbare and creaky most of the character development is. I'm interested in actors such as Ivanek, Patterson, Collins, Laura Innes, who plays another alien leader and Hal Holbrook, who plays a mysterious character with an unknown agenda. They haven't, as yet, been given truly interesting characters to play, and that's a waste of really good actors. So far these performers are doing their level best with the material they've been given, but they shouldn't have to carry the show -- the writing should.

I want there to be a science-fiction drama on a broadcast network, but it's time for me to stop grading shows like 'The Event' and 'V' on a curve because of my geeky tendencies. If both shows can't step up their games and marry truly solid character development to more thoughtful storytelling, then I'm not going to shed a tear if they both die on the vine. There are plenty of supernatural-flavored shows in development for fall, and I may just have to wait for one of those shows to sate my need for otherworldly drama.

At the moment, the fact that half of 'The Event's' return was moderately exciting earned the drama one more week from me. We shall see then if the drama is worth a further investment of my time -- or yours.

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Lipsmacken

Return the Event it is a great show this writter is dumb.

July 03 2011 at 8:10 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
envymluvme

Canceling The Event would not be in the best interest of NBC. For the LONGEST NBC has needed a HIT and now they finally have one. I've never watched this station until The Event aired. This show is GREAT. So much better that Lost. I was Lost watching the confusing show. In fact they Lost me after the second season. The Event is filled with action, suspense and very realistic. Each character has there own identity and is well played. Please reconsider and do not cancel the best thing that's hit NBC.

May 25 2011 at 2:12 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Blessed Geek

I wrote somewhat similarly in my blog ...

It seems to have received poor reviews from current day media critiques who would (if they were honest) no longer enjoy Alfred Hitchcock's, old episodes of Twilight Zone or The Outer Limits.

Every episode is phenomenal. The Event is a classic.

If you enjoy multitasking, capable of parallel programming, capable of thinking in multiple threads of thoughts simultaneously, and have mental capacity with high functioning orders and degrees of freedom, this TV series is for you.

It is not for people who enjoy watching a show and then walking away forgetting about it, just for an hour's tryst with their TV (or their hulu screen). This show makes you think and reflect every character's motives.

Every character is well-played. Realistic and not over dramatic. Not overacted or underacted like in Days of our Lives. The story line is sufficiently complex and well developed, unless you do not have the mental capacity to perceive it that way. The twists and turns are alluring. The show makes you love characters that you had earlier hated and then hate characters that you had earlier loved. It provides you with characters about whom you have a sense of ambivalence.

Not an ordinary show of clear distinct colours - with clear distinct lines drawn between good and evil, the good guy and the bad guy. The shows that critiques hate because it does not provide avenues where sidekicks and characters are directed to overact just to draw those distinct lines. This relegates the responsibility of drawing those lines to you, the audience. No wonder the critiques hate it. They have no idea who the good and bad guys are. They have no line to draw between good and evil.

May 06 2011 at 1:55 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
BJ Ackerman

Dont let this show get cancelled! Join facebook group called Don't Cancel The Event

May 02 2011 at 9:17 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
hydrastation815

I have to admit I was about ready to give up on this show, but in the last 4 or 5 episodes it's really picked up and caught my attention. Now I can see it having promise. It finally brought in the "creepy factor" which is what made showed like LOST, X-files and Fringe so good. They also got rid of Thomas who I found annoying and not believable. The only real weak link now is Leila. The acting is not good. The strongest link is the bald cabinet dude with the glasses (sterling?) can't remember his name. But he's great! I also like Vickie. She's kept things rolling too.

April 21 2011 at 10:10 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Thomas

OK, I watch and enjoy Fringe, so I'm glad that is renewed. I recorded "V" for vapid, but that really turned out to be an epic fail in my opinion. And then "The Event" returns on "V"s heals...and I just can't believe how unbelievably bad two networks can simultaneously be attempting to script a decent sci-fi show. Now, I had 4 episodes backed up on my DVR, including the spring premiere, and it took about 25 minutes for me to pull out my laptop and search for confirmation that this show is going to be cancelled. Thankfully, all signs at this time point to yes! This show is just horribly written, and I hate some characters--Thomas, Sean and especially Laura Innes's Sophia--but Sarah Roemer is really beautiful and about the only thing I enjoy on the show is watching her. And it's not her fault the material she's given by the writers is so awful. Her acting is fine (I think she's a star), but what are you gonna do?

Now, this last episode--Face Off--had to be the dumbest sci-fi television (excluding any Syfy channel movie-of-the-week, which I'm pretty sure are INTENDED to be insulting to my intelligence) I've EVER seen. Case in point--there is a military helicopter blowing up buses, and after the first one goes up, what do the other two do? Do they stop and have everyone run for their lives? No, they keep barreling down the road at full speed, seemingly quite aware that they are sitting ducks, and play this inane game of leap frog! You've got to be fraking kidding me!!! Who is writing this crap??!! They should be fired yesterday; but eventually, when sweet, sweet cancellation comes for this dumpster fire, those responsible will be out of work. LOOK--if you can't write a show with 19 other people sitting around a table brainstorming your best alien invasion, secret society, ancient astronaut techno-thriller-drama, then get out of Hollywood.

"V" and "The Event" have made me long for the days of "Flash Forward," and make me appreciate more with each passing fraked up network season after network season, the inspired brilliance that was "LOST."

BTW--I deleted the backed up episodes on my DVR. The only reason I saw Episode 15: Face Off is because I found out it was supposed to be the "game changer" where they attack Washington (boy do I wish I had that 42 minutes of my life back). So, note to advertisers: no, I'm not even watching your commercials at even 4x speed on my DVR when this show is so stupid it rates an Series Delete on my remote control.

March 30 2011 at 12:20 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
Thomas

OK, I watch and enjoy Fringe, so I'm glad that is renewed. I recorded "V" for vapid, but that really turned out to be an epic fail in my opinion. And then "The Event" returns on "V"s heals...and I just can't believe how unbelievably bad two networks can simultaneously be attempting to script a decent sci-fi show. Now, I had 4 episodes backed up on my DVR, including the spring premiere, and it took about 25 minutes for me to pull out my laptop and search for confirmation that this show is going to be cancelled. Thankfully, all signs at this time point to yes! This show is just horribly written, and I hate some characters--Thomas, Sean and especially Laura Innes's Sophia--but Sarah Roemer is really beautiful and about the only thing I enjoy on the show is watching her. And it's not her fault the material she's given by the writers is so awful. Her acting is fine (I think she's a star), but what are you gonna do?

Now, this last episode--Face Off--had to be the dumbest sci-fi television (excluding any Syfy channel movie-of-the-week, which I'm pretty sure are INTENDED to be insulting to my intelligence) I've EVER seen. Case in point--there is a military helicopter blowing up buses, and after the first one goes up, what do the other two do? Do they stop and have everyone run for their lives? No, they keep barreling down the road at full speed, seemingly quite aware that they are sitting ducks, and play this inane game of leap frog! You've got to be fraking kidding me!!! Who is writing this crap??!! They should be fired yesterday; but eventually, when sweet, sweet cancellation comes for this dumpster fire, those responsible will be out of work. LOOK--if you can't write a show with 19 other people sitting around a table brainstorming your best alien invasion, secret society, ancient astronaut techno-thriller-drama, then get out of Hollywood.

"V" and "The Event" have made me long for the days of "Flash Forward," and make me appreciate more with each passing fraked up network season after network season, the inspired brilliance that was "LOST."

BTW--I deleted the backed up episodes on my DVR. The only reason I saw Episode 15: Face Off is because I found out it was supposed to be the "game changer" where they attack Washington (boy do I wish I had that 42 minutes of my life back). So, note to advertisers: no, I'm not even watching your commercials at even 4x speed on my DVR when this show is so stupid it rates an Series Delete on my remote control.

March 30 2011 at 12:20 AM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply
UrpoW

I liked this show better when it was the x-files. Yells of "Scully!" And "Mulder!" were more interesting than "Sean!" and "Leila!". Aliens among us blah blah blah. The blog even calls itself "Truthseeker" as in "The Truth is Out There".

March 16 2011 at 3:03 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
majgic123

The Event may have poor acting, direction and sub par writing but although it is predictable and boring you must admit one thing... it's annoying too. I have made every effort to try to watch it but I can no longer continue to endure the torture.

March 14 2011 at 10:28 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
SlickR

you have no idea what you are talking about do you?

If they were to speed up the plot and tell you everything that is going on it won't be a thriller and there won't be mystery to it, now would it?

So shut up as people are laughing at your so called "points" about the event.

March 13 2011 at 8:26 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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