Artificial Continuum

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Lost craeted a vacuum in television. Revolutionary in its expansive mythology and serialized storytelling, the ending of Lost's six season journey has left millions of viewers stranded without a series to follow. It also leaves room for a new contender to pick up where Lost left off, and carry on its mantle.

Enter NBC's The Event, a serialized science fiction drama that first entered the public consciousness this summer with a crushingly oppressive marketing campaign. The Event had potential to be big, and the corporate brass behind the series recognized this.

The Event follows several different characters as they struggle to cope with a massive government conspiracy surrounding a mysterious prison in Alaska. The President struggles with the revelation and moral implications of such a facility, and Sean Walker and his future father in law Michael Buchanan struggle to find his girlfriend.

The Event wastes no time in creating tension and mystery. It begins with a pump of adrenaline and intrigue and continues almost full steam to the episode's end. Perhaps the show's most interesting and frustrating aspect is its style of storytelling. The Event is told in a series of out of sequence scenes that must be pieced together by the viewer. While this gimmick is originally jarring and incredibly frustrating, it is oddly effective. You want to figure out the mystery as much as the characters in the episode, which is a plus for a show whose major focus is its mythology.

While The Event is great at creating tension and mystery it utterly fails in creating interesting and genuine characters. While empathy and depth may grow over time, the show's cast of characters are all incredibly dull or cliched. While we are given apparent motives for the characters seen, they do not feel genuine. What shows like The Event fail to realize is that shows such as Lost did not succeed solely on their mythology. They told interesting character stories as well as a compelling mystery.

Despite its flaws, The Event is still attention grabbing television. One that will certainly merit another weeks viewing.

Score: B