The Event (2010)

When do you give up on a TV show? When I did my least essential guide to the new fall season a little while ago, I said I’d give The Event five episodes. Well, I’m ready to bail. This semi-review contains spoilers from the first two episodes. It’s okay, seems like the producers are intent on spoiling their own mysteries anyway.

The strange prisoners in episode one are aliens. Big whoop. It was the most obvious answer and the one I hoped wasn’t true. V is already sucking up the airwaves. It just seems lazy. I guess it’s nice we’re getting answers, but answers without new mysteries is not a very good story-telling technique. The characters aren’t compelling enough to warrant ‘why’ as the primary mystery. Breaking Bad and Mad Men are ‘why’ mysteries because we’re interested in the why of the characters actions mores than the actions themselves.

So, what is The Event? I guess it was a plane disappearing into thin air at the end of the first episode. The plane was going to crash INTO the president. Uh-huh. Wow, that’s, um, awesome, great flying. Where’d the plane go? Oh, it’s in Arizona (after disappearing in Miami). OK, mystery solved. And what about the passengers? Oh, they’re all dead except for Jason Ritter, our mechanical emotional ‘soul’ to the story. Really, it’s like every other character has zero emotional depth and is there as plot device. But Jason Ritter is trying to find his fiancée. So, every atrocity he commits is okey-dokey as he tries to find his girlfriend. But he was framed for murder. But, his crazy acts are okay because he’s looking for his fiancee and some bad guys have her because…? They’re real dumb? She’s in the credits and can’t die yet? Do not care.

But he loves her because of the multiple flashbacks show him meeting her and falling in love. You know, I’m gonna go out on a limb and say that since she’s HIS FIANCEE, he loves her. No need to kill 10 minutes of show on the flashbacks.
Oh, how did the passengers die? The aliens killed them and they saved the plane to save the passengers. Uh-huh and killed them because….Hey, an actual mystery left over. Too late.
By showing how Jason Ritter met his girlfriend, the show is really just admitting that the audience can’t fill in ONE SINGLE BLANK. About anything. That’s a problem in a show that traffics in mystery.

Also, the show uses the real edgy jump around in time story-telling technique made popular 18 years ago in Pulp Fiction. And there’s no reason for it. None. A few flashbacks would work just fine.
I watched the second episode while goofing around on my iPad the whole episode (something that annoys me if I see Shells do it when we watch TV. Me=hypocrite). I missed nothing because they repeated the key points several times throughout the episode. An engrossing mystery should not be laundry-folding TV. It should be, um, engrossing. I put the iPad down once when President Hunk (Blair Underwood as a Black/Cuban US President, see Sci-Fi) was trying to get answers out of the head alien (Laura Innes, actress wasted in emotionless role). I want back to the boring farming game on my iPad after the second (of three) times she said she couldn’t say anything, but was good.

I might stick with The Event longer if Shells was watching with me. Then I could goof on the show like I used to do with 24. I got Shells to watch a few seasons of that show and goof on it’s ridiculousness. Nad TV shouldn’t be watched alone. I ended up watching the last season of 24 by myself and it wasn’t as good. I make this comparison because The Event more resembles 24 than Lost. It has many reality-denying action sequences and a focus on plot over characters. Shells said she wouldn’t watch The Event because of the way Lost burned us with it’s non-mystery solving ending and spiritual cop-out. I see that. I agree. The Lost producers said they had answers for every mystery they presented. They didn’t. The Event has the opposite problem, they have answers before the mystery is even fully allowed to blossom. I mean, it’s only been two episodes.

The Event should entertain on an acting level, but it doesn’t. The show has a bunch of decent character actors and TV show staples, but gives them no emotional depth or even hints at character shading. They’re card board cut-outs at this point, only to serve the plot.

See the man in the picture above. That’s character actor Zeljko Ivanek. He’s been in almost every TV show I’ve liked for the last ten years. And he’s died in each one of them. He even earned an Emmy for his best death in Damages. He was great in that as he is in everything he’s in. (oh, he did die in Big Love, right?) So, I thought I’d watch The Event until Zeljiko died. It should happen soon. He’s not an above the title listing in the cast. He’s in the ‘With…’ section which, if 24 (where he died) is any indication, this is where guest stars go to eventually be killed.

But not even the the thought of character actor Zeljko Ivanek’s awesome death can’t keep me watching. And that’s a low bar.

Also, I just learned Fox cancelled Lone Star, the one show of the new season I decided to champion. The second episode expanded their universe while keeping the plot tense and adding more depth to the characters. But now it’s cancelled. Booo, Fox. The Event is on NBC, but I’m taking out my anger on that because, well, I don’t know.
It’s a mystery greater than any on The Event.

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