Tuesday, September 28, 2010

On NBC's "The Event"

I watched NBC's "The Event" last night. I had an idea of the first episode from Wiki, but a friend came over and we ended up watching the second half of the first episode and then the whole new, second episode.

Interpretation #1: "NBC Desperately Attempts to Maintain Hold on Former LOST Viewers"

This one's pretty straightforward. Stark, bold title cards and font, lots of mystery, non-linear story telling, strange populations of "others," no one ever explains themselves, sci-fi elements pop up unexpectedly and no one's sure if they're ripping off X-Men, V or The 4400. Also, there's a plane in the first episode. It'll be real important later, but for right now it's blown up 4,000 miles from where it should be. Buzzwords in the first two episodes include, "The plane," "You're the only one who can save her," "Tell me the truth," and "electromagnetic radiation."Theory #2: "Reality Bites Era Ethan Hawk Was So Cool We Should Have Made Him An Action Star. Like That Terminator Kid."

Seriously, I couldn't follow the plot. Not because it wasn't told chronologically, that was fine, and not because the story itself was a convoluted Gordian Knot of secrecy, cover-up, lies and intrigue, that too was incredibly easy to follow. In fairness, I have an English degree and I watch sci-fi like it's my job. I mean it will be my job, as soon as my book gets published, but that's off-point.

No, what I can't deal with is watching creepy-ass John Ritter's creepy-ass sketchball of a son being confused on camera in every scene, looking so much like 2001's Ethan Hawke that I keep waiting for Winona Ryder to pop out and hit Ben Stiller with her car. Never mind the fact that Kurt Cobain has been dead for 16 years and Hollywood is still biting his style.

"Is that a fucking bear?"

Theory #3: "It's the Same Show We've Been Watching For Eight Years"

The government lies to us. It is run by unscrupulous bureaucrats who cover up domestic disasters and human rights violations by removing them from the jurisdiction and eyes of regulatory powers, ever hiding behind the idea that they know what is best and what is damaging to the country they claim to serve, but rather administer.

Laymen save the universe. The universe being far grander than we ever imagined, except for all the other times we imagined semi-immortal humans from the future/past/outer space came and couldn't talk to us without poluting our time period/civilization so we imprison them. Except there's more of them than we knew, and they've interbred with our people, creating hybrid capable of wondrous things, one of whom just happens to be the protagonist. And everybody would just get along if they were willing to sit down and talk with each other, but the only one willing to do that is the naive, newly elected black president.

Guys, we have a black president. Black presidents aren't futuristic any more. They're not sci-fi. Morgan Freeman popularized that, and it ended with the black president on 24. Both of them. Apparently, now having black president means "hopeless idealism you will have to compromise in order to get anything done, because the government is actually administered by a bunch of war-hawking, paranoid conservative holdovers with a Cold War mentality.

Honestly, at this point I find it insulting. I'm tired of "thinky" shows that are nothing but the same material a thousand times over that only takes so long to pan out because no one uses specific verbs or nouns.

Take the first season of this show and splice it back into chronological order, then replace all the dialogue with useful information like, "We can't interfere with your civilization, but can you please let us live quietly in the Amazon somewhere? We promise to not be assholes about it."

Swear to God, it'd take like four episodes to finish.

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