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Featured TV on DVD Review: FlashForward: The Complete Series

August 28th, 2010

FlashForward: The Complete Series - Buy from Amazon

FlashForward was being sold as the next Lost, the next must see TV series that you absolutely have to tune into every week. ... Since this five-disc set is being sold as "The Complete Series", it's obvious that things didn't work out as planned. After a strong start and a critically praised pilot, the show never seemed to reach the same heights and halfway through the first season it was clear the show was in trouble both creatively and in the ratings. However, was the show destined to fail, or did it deserve better?

The Show

I reviewed the first DVD release back in February, so there's little need to go over the same ground. The basic setup is still the same and any of the details that have changed are hard to discuss without major spoilers. So I think it's best to just discuss what works and what doesn't work.

I was really drawn in by the sci-fi mystery aspect of the show, although I did have some issues with the QED / Magic Ring, which seemed out of place. I was half-expecting Frodo to show up and say he had to take the ring to Mordor. Yes, I understand suspension of disbelief and all of that, but anchoring one's consciousness? Also, I like dichotomy between "Destiny / Fate" and "Free Will". At different times we are led to believe that the visions of the future are set in stone, while other times we are led to believe there will be slight variations, or possibly completely different outcomes. If we know the final destination of all of these characters, then it makes telling a compelling story a lot harder. Knowing how they got there could still interesting, but leaving open the possibility of surprises is important.

There's a good news / bad news situation with the cast. On the one hand, the cast is uniformly impressive. On the other hand, it is far too big. There are major characters that are introduced in the first episode that we get to see so infrequently, that when they are seen / mentioned, I forgot who they were. The number of characters and relationships results in a few storylines that are too similar to one another. (Did we really need two love triangles? Or three, if you count Demetri Noh / Zoey Andata / Janis Hawk. On a side note, I'm a little puzzled at Zoey's attitude towards Demetri and Janis having sex. Yes, he was technically cheating on her, but he was doing it for noble reasons. (That makes more sense in context.) Janis was a lesbian, so it's not like she and Demetri were going to run away together. On a related note, I'm also a little puzzled at Mark Benford's reaction when he learns Janis Hawk is working with the CIA. He treats the CIA as if it is an enemy organization and not on the same side.

As for the series finale, it is clear to me that the writers were not expecting it to be a finale, as it ends with nothing but cliffhangers. Even storylines that have resolutions set up another cliffhanger. It's a very frustrating end to a show that started off with so much potential.

The Extras

The extras on the first two discs are the same as the previous release. On disc three we have an audio commentary track with Dominic Monaghan and Jessika Borsiczk, who is a producer. They speak on "Revelation Zero", which is the double-part episode that began the show's post-hiatus run. The rest of the extras are found on disc-five, and are mostly featurettes. Architects of Destiny is a 20-minute behind-the-scenes featurette that features many interviews with the cast and crew. FlashForward on Set are five shorter making of featurettes on specific scenes (the Blue Hand club, Stanford Wedeck's Flash Forward, the bus crash, etc.). Meet Yuko is a 6-minute featurette on Yûko Takeuchi, who plays Keiko Arashida. Interviews from the Mosaic Collective has four 2-minute faux-interviews with people about their visions. Kangaroo? is a 2-minute featurette on the kangaroo that made an appearance in the pilot and a couple other episodes. Next up are 10 deleted scenes with a total running time of 12 minutes, and finally there are 3-minutes of outtakes.

That's not a bad selection for a show that only lasted one season.

The Verdict

There was a lot of advance buzz surrounding FlashForward and the pilot earned excellent reviews, drawing 12.47 million viewers. However, it couldn't maintain its high quality and live up to its potential. The ratings fell as well, and by the end it was only being seen by about 5 million people. It's a shame that the show didn't work out, but given its decline in ratings, it is not a surprise it was canceled after just one season. The Complete Series DVD release is good value for the money, but the way it ends is rather frustrating due to the lack of resolution. If you caught a few episodes and were intrigued, then it is worth checking out, but I don't think it has the replay value to be worth picking up.

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