DAVID BIANCULLI

Founder / Editor

ERIC GOULD

Associate Editor

LINDA DONOVAN

Assistant Editor

Contributors

ALEX STRACHAN

MIKE HUGHES

KIM AKASS

MONIQUE NAZARETH

ROGER CATLIN

GARY EDGERTON

TOM BRINKMOELLER

GERALD JORDAN

NOEL HOLSTON

 
 
 
 
 
Lots to Cover: The New TV Season, New TVWW Writers, and the Newest Student Blog, Reviewing NBC's "Event"
September 20, 2010  | By David Bianculli
 

Busy day -- for the networks, and for us. The 2010 TV season begins officially today, and we have new stories, new summaries, and even new TV WORTH WATCHING writers on board. Plus we have our first Student Blog of the term, assessing whether NBC's new Lost-like drama really IS an Event. So welcome, and come dive in...

Welcome, at long last, to the official start of the 2010-2011 TV season. We have a new banner, and fall banner, for the occasion -- and also have some new writers on board.

One of them, Ronnie Gill, is a former colleague of Diane Werts' at Newsday, who for years generated her own popular blog covering reality TV shows. Now she's doing it for us, in a new column called Altered Reality -- and she starts today, just in time to take the temperature of the phenomenon known as ABC's Dancing with the Stars. Check out her take, and her observations and complaints, HERE. Glad to have you aboard, Ronnie!

(The other one is Mike Donovan, who will make his debut later this week -- so I'll welcome him then. And not a minute sooner...)

--

Boardwalk-Empire-Buscemi-be.jpg

As for my own take on the fall season, the easiest thing for me to do (so that's what I'm doing) is to point you towards today's Fresh Air with Terry Gross on NPR, where I'll be delivering a summary of the fall 2010 offerings, and which ones are worth adding to the Must-Watch list. (Okay, I'll give you a hint: HBO's Boardwalk Empire. And another hint: HBO's Boardwalk Empire.) Listen to it today on the radio, or visit after about 5 p.m. ET to read and hear it online HERE.

(And while you're there, you can read and hear my review of Boardwalk Empire, which Fresh Air broadcast last Friday. One-stop shopping...)

Also, please check out our fact-filled, show-filled, and punch-line filled TV WORTH WATCHING FALL PREVIEW, a special section featuring most of our correspondents, chiming in on the new offerings. Visit HERE... and come back often, because we keep adding stuff.

--

And finally, this is the sixth time in three years that I've showcased the writing of one of my college students from New Jersey's Rowan University. I'm interested in what young people think about TV, and I KNOW the networks share that interest -- so here is one of my students, who's written here before on anime and on Fox's Sons of Tucson, offering his opinion of NBC's The Event, which premieres tonight at 9. The rest of today's column is all his...

 

STUDENT BLOG #6: In NBC's "Event," More Fizzle Than Fireworks

By Rich Greenhalgh

event-plane.jpgAfter another dismal season, NBC needed something big this year to remind people that it used to be the network of "Must See TV." One might even say they needed an "Event." A show was chosen, people were cast, and the fuse was lit. But after seeing the first episode, I have to say it's like watching the fuse sparkle on a fireworks display... and have it NOT go off. Based on the opener, The Event, premiering tonight at 9 ET on NBC, is a dud.

This is only the first hour, though, and perhaps they need a second episode to seal the deal. Lost needed a two-hour opener, and look how it exploded. The problem I have with The Event, though, is with the use of its one-hour format.

The Event begins intriguingly enough, dropping you right into the action, then going backwards days or hours to show what led to what you just saw. It even prints times, places and character names to identify what you’re watching. But after an hour of all this, you need a payoff -- what I call "the Cookie."

Instead, you get a "revelation" that you already knew 20 minutes ago. This revelation is so weak, I can tell you what it is without spoiling anything. It's a line of dialogue saying, "I haven't told you everything, Mr. President."

That's all you get, by way of explanation, for the hour you just sat through. There is a big surprise moment that occurs prior to this line being uttered, but like the President in this series, you're just as dumbfounded as the credits roll. No Cookie!

After one hour of NBC's Heroes, you knew the deal, and that people had powers. In ABC's FlashForward, you saw the blackout and knew people had to deal with it. The Event starts off looking like footage from the 2008 movie Cloverfield, with people wigging out over some impending unseen nastiness. But it ends up... where?

event_hijacker.jpg

The structure of The Event reminds me a bit of another 2008 movie, Vantage Point, when action is repeated from various points of view, with details changing depending upon the perspective. As The Event begins, Sean Walker, played by Jason Ritter, appears to be a nervous airline passenger, then a hijacker.

Later, we're introduced to Sophia Maguire, played by Laura Innes of ER, a woman who is a detainee at a secret North Pole version of Gitmo. She is the leader of the mysterious prisoners there, and has been granted rights to tell the President what she knows about the prisoners. We don't know -- but neither does the Prez.

At this point, I'm already guessing that The Event is about Area 51, aliens, captured time-travelers, or secret people from other dimensions. (Hey: why not all of them?). All I'm going to say is that when the meeting with the Prez and Sophia happens, it leads to a big "What the hell just happened?" moment -- to which Sophia simply explains she hasn't told the Prez everything.

That's all you get? They light a fuse for an hour of TV, then it almost pops and you're left still wondering what happened. Is the "Event" coming? Did it already happen? Is it ongoing?

After the last few dramas and seasons it's had, NBC does not have the right to be this pretentious.

 

1 Comments

 

sarah said:

I am not sure about The Event? After Lost, and getting hooked on Heroes and Flashforward, and both not having a real ending, I don't think I can allow myself to get involved in another series that has more questions than answers.

Back to the new season and TV premiering tonight. At first I wasn't sure about a Hawaii Five 0 remake. Don't get me wrong I love Alex O'Loughlin and have been rooting for him since Moonlight, but I was like, really? Remakes haven't done so well so was this really going to work? Then the good review came in and I became more excited. Then, a few weeks back, Spike TV decided to air the original and I gave it a try (This TV enthusiast likes to check out the originals). By the time the week was over I was convinced had I been alive and being who I am I would have been a fan. In other words I am looking forward to tonight and hope it's the hit everyone says it going to be. Who knows maybe 12 years on and 30 off is the secret.

* throwing confetti* HAPPY NEW TV SEASON!!!

Comment posted on September 20, 2010 2:26 PM
 
 
 
 
 
Leave a Comment: (No HTML, 1000 chars max)
 
 Name (required)
 
 Email (required) (will not be published)
 
YHEEC
Type in the verification word shown on the image.