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Featured TV on DVD Review: FlashForward: Season One, Part One

February 18th, 2010

FlashForward: Season One, Part One - Buy from Amazon

Every year, the fall brings with it many, many new TV shows. A lot of these shows generate little to no advance buzz. "Another police procedural? Yawn." FlashForward was one of the exceptions. With a massive cast and a hook that was more than just a little intriguing, it was called by some as the heir to Lost. Does it live up to the hype? And, if so, is this two-disc DVD worth picking up?

The basic plot for the TV series has the world experiencing an event which causes everyone to blackout for 2 minutes and 17 seconds. During this time, everyone experiences visions of a day six months in the future. Some people saw great futures, most did not. Some saw nothing at all. We follow a group of FBI agents, led by Mark Benford and his partner Demetri Noh, who are investigating what (or who) was the cause of the blackout, why it happened, will it happen again, and various other questions. Benford is central to the investigation, because in his Flash Forward he saw himself looking at a board with all clues that they had collected over the next six months. This is the kind of Time Travel paradox that you have to get used to for the show to work. The show follows these two FBI agents, their colleagues, their friends and family, the colleagues of their friends and family, etc. as they all try to come to grips with what they saw of their future and how that will affect what they do now.

This show is very much like Lost in a number of ways, including the huge cast, the multiple connections between characters... and the total inability to talk about the show without entering unacceptable spoiler territory. Even the rather vague plot description above might be too much.

This two-disc set includes the first ten episodes, which were all that aired before the show went on "hiatus". (I'm putting "hiatus" in scare quotes, because usually when someone says a show is going on hiatus, they don't expect it to come back. The second half of FlashForward begins airing in March.) However, I don't think the original plan was to have the show split into two volumes, because the series builds up the mysteries, and builds, and builds, and builds... and then just ends. I watched these ten episodes in one marathon sitting and when it ended I was thinking, "That's it?" It's an incredibly frustrating end to what was an otherwise riveting show. Granted, not all of the threads are equally compelling. (For instance, the marriage woes / possible love triangle between Benford, his wife, and the scientist wasn't as interesting as the overall mystery.)

Extras on the two-disc set are limited to a featurette on the making of the opening shot, a 5-minute clip of the next episode, and a 90-second ad for the last half of the season. That's not a whole lot on the discs themselves, but the DVD does also come with a $15 coupon for the complete season, which comes out on DVD and Blu-ray in August.

The Verdict

FlashForward is a great show, but this two-disc set is terrible. However, if you missed several of the episodes, then it is absolutely worth checking out. At the current price on Amazon and taking into account the coupon for the complete Season One, it only costs $5 to buy (likely cheaper than it would cost to rent). At that price it is even worth a blind buy.

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