HOT TIP: The Event on C4

Wednesday, 20 October 2010 10:27

The news just coming out from the USA is that the NBC network has just given a full season order to what has been one of the most anticipated new series this year, The Event. Which is good news for Channel 4, who are wheeling the show out in a prime time slot, from 9.00pm this Friday 22 October. It’s already been sold to over 200 territories, and the PR puff suggests it’s doing well wherever it is being screened. Inheriting the NBC slot at 9.00pm Mondays from Trauma, which tanked big-time Stateside, it’s more than doubled the audience for NBC.

Already there are comparisons of this show with Lost, but as usual this can be put down to the gimmick of having flashbacks to fill in the history of the various cast members. Aside from that we have a group of 93 individuals being holed up in Alaska, not allowed to mix with the rest of the world, a President trying to do the right thing and seemingly being undermined by covert operatives within his own security services, people disappearing off cruise liners, and impossible occurrences being hastily covered up.

 

The Event comes to Channel 4 just a month after the USA

 

The producers of The Event have obviously tried to learn lessons from FlashForward, which suffered from having an intriguing pilot which then refused to give any answers for several weeks. The Event scores highly on putting cards down very quickly during the first quartet of episodes, and turns the trick from Lost of having these then make us further embroiled by these leading to further questions. Coming to the UK just a month after its debut Stateside, we are sure to catch up very quickly, given the propensity for network pre-emptions of series, which means that much of what is revealed will not be spoiled by online chat from across the pond.

Blair Underwood (Jonathan Rollins in L A Law) plays the President, Elias Martinez, a thinly disguised version of Obama, although there’s not a teleprompter in sight. Jason Ritter (Kevin Girardi in Joan of Arcadia) is Sean Walker, the everyman of the format, a computer wizard who finds things go very awry while on the cruise of a lifetime with his long-time girlfriend Leila Buchanan (Sarah Roemer – Carly in “Fired Up”).

Meanwhile, President Martinez decides to announce the release of a group of detainees led by Sophia Maguire (a change of pace for Laura Innes, who for 250 episodes played Dr Kerry Weaver in E R). In the most fictional element in the format, this is despite the disapproval of his Director of National Intelligence, Blake Sterling (Zeljko Ivanek – Emile Danko in Heroes and Ray Fiske in Damages). Like the President of the USA can actually make his own decisions ...!

It’s actually very hard to tell you very much more without placing a huge mass of spoilers in front of you.  The conclusion of the first episode sees the utterance of the title of the segment, “I Haven’t Told You Everything”, coming into full focus and will mean you simply have to watch the second episode – good on Channel 4 for appreciating this by putting the first two instalments back to back!

Is this going to be a long-running ‘must see’ experience that gains a cult following and fame and notoriety within its audience? The amount of flashbacks in the first episodes actually does get a little grating, and confusing, but once it settles down certainly the next three episodes are far easier to follow, and you do get the sense that this is a show that knows where it’s going, and is very keen to take its audience with it.

FlashForward proved to pundits that you have to be cautious with demanding storylines such as this, just in case their tease and foreplay doesn’t deliver the goods fast enough. On its showing out of the gates, it looks like The Event may well have legs to finish the course, and with it guaranteed a complete first season, the pressure is on for the producers to keep viewers happy and gain a second season. 

Jeffrey Reiner, one of the Executive Producers of Trauma, is actually an Executive Producer on The Event, so it must be spooky getting a new show in your old show’s previous time slot! Fellow Executive Producer Steve Stark was a long-serving Exec Prod on Medium.  Evan Katz, meanwhile, was a long-time Exec Prod on 24. And James Wong, he of The X-Files, Millennium and Space: Above and Beyond serves as a Co-Executive Producer and writer. So, the production certainly has the pedigree to succeed.

The Event begins on Friday 22 October at 9.00pm on Channel 4 and Channel 4 HD, with a double episode. E4 will repeat it on Tuesdays at 10.00pm, beginning 26 October.

Last modified on Thursday, 10 May 2012 16:37

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