16 September 2009

Media Idea: Flash Foward Momentum

Guess I was too busy shopping the New Release aisle at Best Buy (Hmmm, should I drop my Ulysses S. Grant on Heroes Season 3 or Smallville Season 8?) to notice that the new fall television season has already begun. If network re-runs haven't had you glued to your TV set, either...what's wrong with you, friend?!?
What's in a name? If you're one of ABC's two new candidates on TV's increasingly competitive genre-show ballot, a lot. The only way to sum up the future of their Defying Gravity, set in a near-future where American audiences watch live as eight astronauts embark on a six-year mission, boldly going where no one has gone before -- to the outer reaches of the solar system -- and suffer dire consequences from an encounter with a mysterious force with a mad-on, is grave.
Why? Even though ABC tried to get a jump on the new schedule by beginning Gravity's season back in August, the one-hour drama still couldn't win its 10pm time-slot on Sundays, coming in fourth after repeat episodes of Fox's The Simpsons and Family Guy and CBS police dramas Cold Case and Without a Trace. The result? ABC grounded Gravity's shuttle early, ending its first "season" September 13th. Look for the box set before Christmas.
It's a different speed all-together for Flash Forward, the prime-time front man for ABC's Thursdays. For this show. the race is already looking good. Despite almost no-hype beyond the big push the show received at this summer's San Diego Comic-Con, Forward was one of only two genre shows to be represented in a recent Nielsen poll of early audiences' top new intent-to-view programs this fall.
It's easy to see why the Nielsen peeps 'flash-forwarded', too. Here's why we think so:
(1) Nifty premise. A whole bunch of people experience a large-scale event that, for two minutes, gives them all a peek into their lives six months down the road. Their two-minute time-out passes, and that same bunch of people get back on real-time only to find everyone else that didn't 'flash forward' has dropped dead. Or, in other words, if you can't bring the people to the island, bring the island to the people. Which isn't obvious if you're not paying attention or watching that other show called...
(2) Lost. ABC's top-rated cult fave finds its final season in 2010, and I've got to imagine the powers-that-be don't want to lose their ratings momentum. Flash Forward, by premise and by population, has quickly moved into the first-place successor spot over at the alphabet network. 

(3) Men in Motion. The show's based on a novel by Robert Sawyer, who also has his hands in the shows creative direction. But Flash Forward was developed for television by two of sci-fi's best men: Star Trek: The Next Generation's Brannon Braga and former comicbook writer (Justice Society of America) David Goyer, who also happens to be the guy who wrote a little movie called The Dark Knight. Ahem. Yeah, Goyer is golden. And if Braga's Forward even comes close to his former TNG counterpart Ronald Moore's Battlestar Galactica, I know where I'll be on Thursday nights. 
(4) Enterprising Actors. Forward's got the star power of prime-time supernova. The series stars the very pretty and popular Joseph Fiennes (Shakespeare in Love, Enemy at the Gates) in the lead role, with the #2 position going to John Cho. Yup, the same John Cho who cemented his own place in pop culture's Pantheon by appearing opposite Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto as Hikaru Sulu in last summer's Star Trek ret-con. Your kids will know who he is. Trust me.
(5) It's name. Unlike the dismal destiny that seems to await Gravity, Flash Foward's success seems to be built right in to the show's title. A literary device of foreshadowing to enable readers to gain predictive knowledge, Flash Forward's fate will be written in stars. And probably a few Emmy's, natch. Words are magic. We swear.
Flash-Forward is shaping up to be a powerhouse. But keep your peepers peeled, abbracadabblers! ABC's pitting their pilot up against Fox's own heavy hitting F-word, Fringe. Ratings are unforgiving and only one of these guys is gonna walk away. It'll be a close one, folks. Still, we're pretty confident to predict one thing: Thursday nights are going to be F-ing crazy this Fall. 
Media Idea: Get set to get F-ed up with a few of your closest friends for the season premiere of Flash Forward, beginning Thursday, September 24th at 8pm.

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