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FlashForward: The Complete Series by Various Directors
Review by Charles Mohapel
Date: 28 August 2010 List Price $59.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK

Links: / Wikipedia - FlashForward (TV Series) / FlashForward (Book) / Wikipedia - FlashForward / Show Official Info /

Loosely based on the 1999 novel FlashForward by Canadian Science Fiction writer Robert J. Sawyer, FlashForward, the 2009 TV series from ABC-TV is far more than simply the show's producers paying Sawyer for the rights to use the name. Not only did Sawyer visit the set during shooting of the show's pilot episode, he also had a brief cameo appearance and I understand he has continued consulting on the show. In the book the FlashForward is centered at CERN in Switzerland and is triggered when the Large Hadron Collider accelerator is being used to perform a search for the Higgs boson (also known as the "God particle") - the jump into the future is approximately 21 years. The time frame in the TV series is different as the FlashForward is triggered by unknown means and the jump into the future is approximately 6 months to 10:00 P.M EDT on April 29, 2010. But the questions remain - who are the people who triggered the FlashForward and how did they do it? We'll just have to watch the entire season and find out for ourselves.

Creators: Brannon Braga
David S. Goyer
Based on the novel FlashForward by Robert J. Sawyer

Series Cast:
Courtney B. Vance... Stanford Wedeck
Joseph Fiennes ... Mark Benford
John Cho ... Demetri Noh
Zachary Knighton... Dr. Bryce Varley
Peyton List ... Nicole Kirby
Brian F. O'Byrne... Aaron Stark
Sonya Walger ... Dr. Olivia Benford
Christine Woods ... Janis Hawk
Jack Davenport ... Lloyd Simcoe
Dominic Monaghan... Simon Campos

I really liked Episode 1: "No More Good Days" because it opened a giant box of mysteries, riddles, and enigmas, but only a tiny bit at first. In Episode 5: "Gimme Some Truth", the MOSAIC investigation is compelled to appear in front of a Senate Intelligence Committee, after which Deputy Director Wedeck and Agents Benford, Noh, and Vreede are attacked by an SUV full of black clad Oriental assassins, while Agent Hawk is gunned down by another pair of would-be Oriental assassins. Episode 6: "Scary Monsters and Super Creeps" deals with the immediate aftermath where Agent Hawk recovers from her gunshot wound but her ability to have children is in doubt. The MOSAIC team are puzzled as to who is out to stop the investigation at any cost.

Another episode I liked was Episode 10: "A561984", where Agents Benford and Noh fly to Hong Kong against the express orders of Deputy Director Wedeck and attempt to track down the Iranian woman who phoned an anonymous warning to Noh. My favorite segment of Episode 18: "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road" was where Aaron Stark takes matters in his hands and goes after the head of 'Jericho' at the latter's opulent home.

Finally, I liked Episode 20: "The Negotiation", Episode 21: "Countdown, and Episode 22: "Future Shock" since they answer many questions, tie up many (but not all) loose ends, and still left the door open if ABC had renewed the show for a second season.

"Creating Catastrophe: The Effects Of A Global Blackout" with David S. Goyer (Co-Creator / Executive Producer / Writer / Director), Danny Weselis (Stunt Coordinator), Brannon Braga (Co-Creator / Executive Producer / Writer), Jessika Borsiczky (Executive Producer), Allen Hall (Special Effects Supervisor), Michelle Latham (Location Manager), Kevin Blank (Visual Effects Supervisor), and Ken Niederbaumer (Special Makeup Effects).

This very cool featurette deals with the intensive preparations needed before shooting of the opening sequence of the pilot episode and some behinds the scenes footage. Imagine shutting down the 110 Harbor Freeway in Los Angeles -- the producers did just that. Both Shakespearian actor Joseph Fiennes and actor John Cho underwent intensive training in police procedures and Krav Maga before shooting began.

"FlashForward: A Look Ahead" gives you a well-timed sneak peek into what is coming up in the future, nicely interspersed with deliberately grainy sepia-toned flashbacks. After watching the first ten episodes of Season One, I realized how many subtle nuances and hidden clues I missed in the heat of the action, but this short featurette has me eagerly anticipating the show's return on March 18, 2010.

"Could", the 91-second featurette, had me scratching my head in confusion and the only reason I can imagine it being separate from "FlashForward: A Look Ahead" is that "Could" gives you a sneak peek into the rest of Season One, while "FlashForward: A Look Ahead" covers only Episode 11.

Watching Episode 11 & 12: "Revelation Zero: Part 1 & 2" with Commentary by Actor Dominic Monaghan and Executive Producer Jessika Borsickzky was excruciatingly painful. Ms. Borsickzky was mildly entertaining but to quote my British friends, Monaghan was a spoiled prat and the 15 minutes of commentary I watched was 14 minutes too long.

"Architects of Destiny" with Robert J. Sawyer (author of the novel FlashForward), Jessika Borsiczky (Executive Producer), David S. Goyer (Co-Creator / Executive Producer), Brannon Braga (Co-Creator / Executive Producer), Joseph Fiennes ("Mark Benford"), Jack Davenport ("Lloyd Simcoe"), Sonya Walger ("Dr. Olivia Benford"), Christine Woods ("Janis Hawk"), Zachary Knighton ("Dr. Bryce Varley"), Michael Ealy ("Marshall Vogel"), Dominic Monaghan ("Simon Campos"), Brian F. O'Byrne ("Aaron Stark"), Courtney B. Vance ("Stanford Wedeck"), Timothy J. Lea (Writer / Co-Executive Producer), Marc Guggenheim (Writer / Executive Producer), John Cho ("Demetri Noh"), Peter Coyote ("President Dave Segovia"), Peyton List ("Nicole Kirby"), Ian B. Goldberg (Writer), Nick Gomez (Director), Lee Thompson Young ("Al Gough"), and Lisa Zwerling (Writer / Co-Executive Producer) (20:07).

They begin by showing the cast and crew on the day FlashForward premiered and go right up to Episode 22: "Future Shock". One of my favorite vignettes was where Timothy J. Lea says "Consider the character determining Destiny - on FlashForward, Destiny determines character". I just loved the scene were they awarded the "lucky cat" figurine for that week's shooting to Lee Thompson Young on his last day on the show.

Listening to the actors speaking directly to the camera, they come across as being more intelligent than the stereotypical actor. By far this was my favorite featurette.

"FlashForward on Set"
* Tempting Fate: Secrets of the Blue Hand Club with Aaron Goffman (Assistant Property Master), Russell Bailey (background actor), Ian Goldberg, Jules Sylvester (Scorpion Trainer), Edie McMullen (Scorpion Trainer), Lee Thompson Young, and Callum Keith Rennie ("Raynaud"). (5:19)
This is the scene where Al Gough fearlessly plays Russian Roulette with a faux pearl-handled snub-nose .38 revolver. Looking at the patrons of the club, they appear to have come direct from Fangtasia.

* When Nature Calls with Craig Pinckes (First Assistant Director), David S. Goyer, Nelson Cragg (Director of Photography), Brannon Braga, and Courtney B. Vance. (2:13)
It's funny in an ironic, not quite scatological kind of way.

* Emergency Operations with Robert J. Sawyer, John Voght (Set Costumer), Katherine Dover (Set Costumer), Rob Hinderstein, Zachary Knighton, Sonya Walger, Sam Pollen (Special FX), and Christine Woods. (3:02)
This shows the scenes in the Veterans Affairs Hospital in Los Angeles following the original FlashForward, as well as when FBI Agent Janis Hawk is being operated upon following her being shot.

* A Day in the Park with Michael Rymer (Director), Lisa Weselis (Assistant Stunt Coordinator), Derrick Davies (Stunt Performer), Kevin Zelman (Production Assistant), Kris Kolpek (Production Assistant), Jeremy Morgan (Picture Car Coordinator), Andrew Cone (Key Assistant Location Manager), Perry Willard (Special FX), and Keith Woulard (Stunt Driver). (3:33)
Watching the detailed process of setting up and choreographing the Los Angeles Urban Transit Authority bus crashing into the lake in the middle of MacArthur Park was cool.

* Crash Forward with Jessika Borsiczky, Nikolai Lovekis (On-Set Dresser), Lena Georgas ("Celia"), Jeremy Morgan, Craig Pinckes, Danny Weselis (Stunt Coordinator), Eddie Braun (Stunt Driver), and Heidi Pascoe (Stunt Double). (4:27)
This is the scene where Raynaud goes after another person would did not see a FlashForward.

"Meet Yuko" with Yuko Takeuchi ("Keiko Arahida"), Marc Guggenheim, Hitomi Farell (Translator), Michael Nankin (Director), and Eijoro Ozaki ("Jiro"). (5:49)
Not only is Yuko Takeuchi very beautiful, but she comes across as a genuinely sweet, bubbly person - Michael Nankin calls her the Japanese Audrey Hepburn. David S. Goyer presented her with the "lucky cat" figurine, which she says is called Maneki Neko in Japan, a sculpture that brings good luck. This was another great featurette.

"Interviews from the Mosaic Collective
The first one in Tokyo was the best, followed by the second one in London, but the two American interviews were uninspiring.

"Kangaroo?" with Joseph Fiennes, David S. Goyer, Jessika Borsiczky, Jack Davenport, Marissa Schweirjohn (Animal Handler), and Brannon Braga. (1:59)
The kangaroo will be back, but you have to pay close attention as to where, when, and why then.

Deleted Scenes
* From The Heart (0:58)
Too bad it was cut since it showed an introspective side of Stanford Wedeck.

* Future Forecasting (1:28)
I wish this had never been cut since it posed a frightening possible rationale behind Lloyd Simcoe's kidnapping

* I Like Charlie (1:39)
Mark Benford meets his newborn daughter Charlie for the first time, but since I don't know which episode this scene was excised from, I can't say if cutting it advanced the story or not.

* Feelings (1:03)
Lloyd Simcoe confronts Olivia Benford about their mutual FlashForward. Once again, I'm not certain if this scene should have been cut for the same reasons as above.

* Promises (1:27)
I'm ambivalent about this one, which indicates to me it was probably right to cut to advance the story.

* Gabriel's Apartment (0:50)
This gave me the same feeling as above.

* One of Those Days (0:47)
We see the softer, gentle side of Wedeck, thanks to a visit by his wife Felicia. I'm really undecided as to whether or not showing a kinder, gentler Wedeck would be a good thing or a bad one.

* What Simon Wants (1:07)
Simon Campos demands help from Janis Hawk - at gunpoint. This was a good scene and shouldn't have been cut due to what it showed us.

* Olivia's Advice (1:25)
Olivia gives advice to Nicole Kirby - this was a good scene with Charlie joining in.

* The Variables (0:38)
Featuring Lloyd Simcoe and Dylan, it felt a bit too contrived for my tastes.

Blooper Reel (3:13)
While the verbal mistakes of Courtney B. Vance and John Cho are funny, it is Cho's crash during a chase scene on foot and the 'inability' of Joseph Fiennes to use the parking brake of his SUV that are the best scenes.

My understanding is that ABC's decision came down between two shows on the bubble last June: FlashForward versus V. I thought that FlashForward was handicapped by the fact that it had a season long story arc as opposed to having self-contained episodes, but the biggest factor was the month long Olympic break. It is obvious that many people don't suffer from Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), otherwise shows like Lost and 24 wouldn't have lasted for six and eight seasons respectively. When ABC chose not to renew FlashForward, I had some hopes that HBO, who had originally commissioned the series, but sold the option to ABC, would pick it up. As late as July 23, 2010, rumors circulated that Starz were considering buying the rights to the show and possibly renewing it for a second season, but that failed to materialize. As much as I loved the show, I can't see it being revived with the same cast in the foreseeable future.

I really wish that ABC Studios had released FlashForward: The Complete Series on Blu-ray instead of as a 5-DVD set, but I'm sure that the decision was made in order to be financially prudent. Since the only choice is DVD, the 5-disc set is still a must have for loyal fans of FlashForward: The Complete Series. I know I enjoyed watching some episodes repeatedly in a short time as I prepared for this review and there are some scenes that you'll want to watch again and again and again.

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