Remote Patrol: "FlashForward"

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

It must be stressful to be touted as The Next Lost. You know, the show that inspires rabid online debate from superfans and also pulls in respectable ratings thanks to casual viewers still waiting to see if Jack and Kate end up together.

That's the plight of FlashForward, the new drama ABC is pushing as the fall TV show "everyone is talking about."

The setup: Everyone on Earth blacks out for 2 minutes and 17 seconds at the exact same time, and during that time they experience a snippet of their life six months in the future.

So there's an intriguing premise - what would you do differently if you got a glimpse of your life six months in the future? - plus the underlying mystery of who or what caused the blackout, and why? So far, so Lost-like.

Not even accounting for shared cast members Sonya Walger (Penelope) and Dominic Monaghan (Charlie), the pilot borrowed heavily from Lost's. The chaotic, fiery aftermath of the blackouts closely resembled a certain plane crash, and Joseph Fiennes' FBI agent quickly takes charge as a Jack-like flawed hero. (At least they own up to it by sticking an Oceanic billboard in the background.)

Unfortunately, I also got a few hints of Heroes, NBC's failed attempt at capturing Lost's magic. The two shows share the gimmick of characters getting a peek at the future then trying to stop it from happening, plus both have little girls haunted by visions of bad guys. There's also some Heroes-style laughable dialogue here.

Let's hope FlashForward manages to keep us guessing rather than groaning.


8 p.m. Thursdays, ABC

Grade: B-