Category: The Event

'The Event' recap: That was pretty good; I'm not losing my mind, right?

NUP_143455_1366 I'm going to resolve to say only nice things today because that was a pretty good episode of "The Event." It had action-packed stakes. It had the grand, epic sweep the show has been going for. It had characters that behaved mostly rationally. It had stuff going on in both major plots that was interesting. If the show hadn't been such a mess on the way to this point, this might have felt like a huge midseason episode, one that legitimately changed everything and set us on the inevitable course toward the season finale. The various factions have become crystal clear, and the show has for the most part believably set them at war with each other. Maybe not everything works here, but "Face Off" is the episode "Event" fans would have been waiting for in the alternate universe where "Event" fans were really into this show. It reminds me of that pretty cool "FlashForward" episode near the end of that show's run, when we learned the big secret behind the giant conspiracy and it was worth the wait, for once.

Anyway, here's where all of the characters stand: Sophia, Thomas and the other alien-type folk are holed up in a church in Los Angeles, trying to figure out a way to process the bad news about the imminent death of their planet and a way to escape the government forces closing in around the church. Meanwhile, President Martinez and the gang behind the scenes at the White House are trying to capture or kill every alien type within that church, the better to keep them from bringing an invasion force to Earth. Sean and Vicky, after fleeing from the dinner where they accosted the vice president, have made their way to France to search for Dempsey. He's there digging around in the ground, searching for evidence of the alien types, and when he finds it, he dubs them the guardian angels that pop up in every major human mythic tradition. There's a healthy dose of "24" here, a healthy dose of goofy alien invasion movies, and a healthy dose of "Raiders of the Lost Ark" for good measure. That's a mixture I'd be more than happy to watch week after week.

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'The Event' recap: Something finally happens!

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What are these? Are these actual stakes in the world of “The Event”? How can such a thing be? Didn’t this show resolve to just frustrate us for a full season before giving us what can only be a halfway-satisfying cliffhanger? Granted, this turn isn’t the greatest story turn ever, but in the world of “The Event,” it’s a step up.

At last we have some sort of ticking time bomb: If Thomas doesn’t evacuate everyone off of his home world they’ll all die within the year. The star their planet orbits is about to go supernova, and that, of course, is going to be a bad deal for all involved. Now, I’m pretty sure stars don’t just GO supernova (and maybe the show has been preparing us for this for a while with the notion that the world Thomas’ people come from is a dying one), but at least there’s some tension here. 

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'The Event' recap: What is 'the event'? Please answer this time

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Well, “Event” fans -- you punishingly small number, you -- the numbers from the show’s long-awaited return are in, and they’re … not good.

The show’s midseason premiere last week attracted a ridiculously small number of viewers, indicating that the huge audience that sampled the premiere in September fell off through the fall, then lost interest when the show was gone for several months.

The tack fans usually take in situations like this is to blame the network for letting the show be gone so long. And, yeah, NBC certainly didn’t help by taking the show off the air for all of December, January, and February.

But we’ve also got to face facts. This was a show that had every advantage in the world -- great promotion, great ratings for the premiere, a stellar cast, an intriguing premise -- and it squandered every single one of them.

The show has even apparently given up the ghost on its bizarre, goofy cliffhangers. Where once we had old ladies in place of little girls and Hal Holbrook’s morphing face, Monday night we got what felt like a solid minute of Blair Underwood staring at the camera while menacing music played.

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'The Event' recap: Same stuff, different year.

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There are few more action-packed shows that are still seemingly designed to lull viewers to sleep than “The Event.” After being gone since November and seemingly having every opportunity to fix what’s wrong with the show, the series’ producers returned with a two-hour midseason premiere that resolutely refused to do anything to patch up the series’ problems. This is pretty much the same show we had last fall, the show that only has one or two compelling characters (none of whom are the regulars), an abundance of not terribly compelling mysteries, and a lack of believable character motivation. As I complained about last year, this is a show where I have absolutely no idea what anybody wants, and, sadly, “And Then There Were More” and “Inostranka” do absolutely nothing to clear this central question up. There’s no effort made to explain why we should care, and without that effort, “The Event” simply becomes a lot of repetitive noise. And repetitive noise is easy to fall asleep to.

Let’s get the good things out of the way first, though: Blake Sterling’s storyline in the second hour of tonight’s double-length episode was pretty awesome. It shows just how well things can work on this show where we know a character pretty well and know what they’re trying to do. Blake is someone we’ve gotten to know in flashbacks, and while he’s not the most original character in the history of television, his adventures here are smartly conceived and in keeping with what we know of the man and what he’s been up to all this time. In particular, any time you put an aging government agent with a wound leaking blood into a situation where he’s trying to retake an elaborate prison complex with only one man for backup, you’ve got a recipe for awesomeness, and Zeljko Ivanek is just the guy to play out this miniature riff on “Die Hard.”

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2010 Top Scripted TV Huh? Moments

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We appreciate all of the hard work writers put into their TV shows. Here are some of the moments that left us wondering a bit.

1. "Lost": They're all dead and waiting to go to heaven. Depending on who you are, this was either a very good head-scratcher or a very bad one. We loved it, even though we're sad about what it means.

2. "The Walking Dead:" Zombies unseat vampires as the coolest non-humans on TV. It's not their fault they're zombies which makes us feel for them, though they freak us out.

3. "Mad Men:" Don Draper proposes to Megan. Whoa, Don! A little foreshadowing next time, please?

4. "Breaking Bad:" Walt goes from meek chemistry teacher to big-time drug dealer to murderer. Walter, you scare us. But you're never boring and for that we love you.

5. "Glee:" Mr. Schue kisses Coach Beiste. Enough said. 

6. "Sons of Anarchy:" Jackson and his half sister are discovered half-way down the incest road by their respective mothers. Double ick.

7. "True Blood:" Bill and Sookie break up. Again. Can't we all just get along?

8. "Dexter:" Someone accepts Dexter for all that he is. How nice. We like this one.

9.  "The Event:" Aliens. Really?  All that pre-game hype and they turned out to be aliens. Possible to start over?

10. "The Good Wife:" CBS goes all sexy on us in a surprising oral sex scene between Alicia and Peter. It sure made us blush -- and they didn't even show anything!

--Yvonne Villarreal and Maria Elena Fernandez

twitter.com/villarrealy

twitter.com/writerchica

Photo: A scene from the "Lost" series finale. The castaways are waiting to go to heaven. (L-R) Ian Somerhalder, Elizabeth Mitchell, Josh Holloway, John Terry, Matthew Fox, Evangeline Lilly, Sonya Walger, Henry Ian Cusick and Emilie de Ravin. Credit: ABC

'The Event' recap: Aliens in America

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I don't mean to turn this into the weekly "Comparison of sci-fi shows 'The Event' is worse than" column, but I can't help but think some about the mid-2000s remake of "Battlestar Galactica" while watching Monday night's episode of "The Event." "Everything Will Change" is predicated around a pretty big revelation at the end, a revelation that suggests a character we've known since the first episode is one of Them, and yet the revelation is utterly devoid of any excitement or emotion. "Galactica," of course, featured the murderous robots, the Cylons, as its villains, but one of the great entertainments of the show was trying to guess which of the many characters actually WAS a Cylon. When it was revealed at the end of the miniseries that launched the series that fighter pilot Boomer was a Cylon, it was a terrific moment because it revolved around a character who was interesting and created a twist that built anticipation for what was to come. When we find out this character is one of the aliens (or whatever they are), it doesn't register at all, for a number of reasons.

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'The Event' recap: Whatever Sophia wants, Sophia gets

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Not far into its first season, "The Event" continues to try to figure out a formula that will work for it. Monday night, it mostly got rid of the flashbacks and stuff, choosing instead to tell a story that's about as straightforward as a story leaping among four or five wildly divergent storylines can be.

The aliens have a meeting in a hotel somewhere! Sean and Leila run around in a cornfield with one of the old-face girls! Hal Holbrook (the evil version) does some stuff! The vice president wakes up, and everyone wants him to talk, but then his wife is all, "Don't do it, man!" None of these storylines seems to have anything to do with the other and, indeed, seem to take place in different fictional universes. (My reviewer pal Josh Alston pointed out last week that the two major storylines were meant to be parallel but were also taking place at night and day.) But, hey, it was all right, right?

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'The Event' recap: What do you want?

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In my continuing quest to figure out just what it is that doesn't work about "The Event," which has put together a couple of pretty fun scenes and at least one enjoyable episode but remains a disappointment, I've come up with a new theory: It's virtually impossible to boil down into one sentence what anyone on this show WANTS. Take a look at some of the other shows in the same basic genre as "The Event" (the "weird stuff happens" genre, for those of you playing along at home). On "The Prisoner," Number Six wants to escape. On "Twin Peaks," Dale Cooper wants to find Laura Palmer's killer. On "The X-Files," Mulder wants to find his sister (and to do so is trying to prove the existence of aliens). On "Lost," everybody wants to get off the Island. Say what you will about the relative quality of these series, but once they got away from their central missions, they became more and more unsatisfying for more and more people.

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'The Event' recap: A new, horrifying meaning for the phrase 'forever young'

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If there's one thing I always say -- and I do always say this, and you should ask anyone who knows me -- about TV shows, it's this: "If you can't end an episode of your TV show with a little girl entering a mysterious apartment full of what appear to be other little girls but are actually some kinda weird old people in little girl drag, then your TV show is a complete failure." The list of shows which this old maxim could be applied to is incredibly long, including such illustrious series as "The Wire," "Mad Men" and "The Dick Van Dyke Show," and tonight, "The Event" joins their ranks, as Leila's little sister, whose name I haven't bothered to learn just yet, is ushered into an apartment that looks more like a library in an ancient country house, then confronted with the fact that all of the little girls there look like old women. (And some look like old men!) Cue the end of the episode.

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'The Event' recap: This show is about the wrong characters

NUP_141915_0394 For reasons too boring to explain here, I had occasion to watch the entirety of the run of “FlashForward” last year. That show, one of the first on the list of shows with intriguing premises that fell apart because there was absolutely no attention paid to the characters (a list “The Event” is in danger of joining), had a lot of problems, but one of the problems only gradually revealed itself as the series went on. The show, for lack of a better phrase, was about the wrong people.

It wanted to be about a bunch of regular folks whose lives were changed by the fact that they got wrapped up in a global cataclysm, wherein everybody saw the future. But their visions of the future were often ridiculously prosaic and based on stuff nobody cared about. Who cared if one boring woman cheated on her boring husband with another boring man? So much more thought had been given to the overarching story than the characters that the soapy details of the characters’ visions just didn’t matter.

But lurking around the edges of that show was a whole host of fascinating characters. They were the people behind the global blackout and the visions of the future. And as the season went on, it became evident that they were doing this because one of them had discovered that the world was going to end and wanted to figure out a way, using the many-worlds hypothesis, to jerk our universe over onto a pathway where the world DIDN’T end. The few times we saw these people, they registered as fascinating characters. They had an agenda. They had terrible things they were willing to do to realize that agenda (like kill millions of people). They arguably had the best of intentions. And, more importantly, they were smart enough to realize that the problems of two married people weren’t worth a hill of beans when the world was about to end.

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'The Event' recap: Impossible choices and stories that make sense

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"Casualties of War" has a couple of things that put it ahead of every other episode of "The Event" so far: a sense of purpose headed forward and a central question that puts its characters through something like the wringer. It's the best episode of the show so far because it slows down to tell something like an actual story, not just a long collection of events. And it centers that story on the two characters who actually make sense as characters at this point, Sean Walker and President Martinez. To be sure, most of the reason these characters are compelling has to do with the men playing them, not with anything the writers have done with them. But that doesn't mean that this episode isn't a fine showcase for the work of Jason Ritter and Blair Underwood, all the same.

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NBC picks up 'The Event,' 'Outsourced,' and 'Law & Order: Los Angeles' [Updated]

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Good news for fans of conspiracy thrillers, cop show spinoffs, and Indian novelty shop employees: NBC has picked up “The Event," “Law & Order: Los Angeles” and “Outsourced” for a full season.

“We are pleased with the quality of ‘The Event,’ ‘Law & Order: Los Angeles’ and ‘Outsourced,’ and feel they are an important part of helping to re-build our schedule and our studio pipeline,” said Angela Bromstad, NBC's president of primetime entertainment, in a statement Monday. “We believe in these new series and the creative auspices behind them.”

In case you're not one of the few million viewers watching the Peacock's new shows: "The Event" follows Sean Walker (Jason Ritter) as he investigates the disappearance of his fiancée, Leila (Sarah Roemer), and accidentally exposes a major government coverup. “Outsourced” takes place in the India call center for Mid America Novelties, a catalog-based company. And “Law & Order: Los Angeles," well, does this refresh your memory? Buh Buh. Duh duh duh duh duh.

Will more rookie shows get picked up? Right now, NBC remains mum, but we're pulling for you, "Undercovers."

-- Melissa Maerz

[For the record, Oct. 19, 6:33 p.m.: An earlier version of this post stated that "The Event," "Outsourced" and "Law & Order: Los Angeles" were picked up for another season. They were picked up for a full season.]

Photo: Sarah Roemer, left, as Leila Buchanan and Taylor Cole as Vicky on "The Event." Credit: Adam Rose /NBC

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