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Entry updated 10 November 2023. Tagged: TV.

US tv series (2009-2010). Phantom Four Films for ABC. Created by Brannon Braga and David S Goyer, based on the novel Flashforward (1999) by Robert J Sawyer. Producers include Braga, Goyer, Samantha Thomas, Jessika Borsiczky, and Vince Gerardis. Writers include Braga, Goyer, Sawyer, Lisa Zwerling, Scott M Gimple, and Seth Hoffman. Directors include Goyer, Bobby Roth, Nick Gomez, John Polson, and Constantine Makris. Cast includes Joseph Fiennes as Mark Benford, Sonya Walger as Olivia Benford, John Cho as Demetri Noh, Courtney B Vance as Stanford Wedeck, Christine Woods as Janis Hawk, Brian F O'Byrne as Aaron Stark, Zachary Knighton as Bryce Varley, Peyton List as Nicole Kirby, and Jack Davenport as Lloyd Simcoe. 22 one-hour episodes.

Loosely adapted from the novel by Robert J Sawyer, FlashForward was positioned by ABC as a successor to Lost (2004-2010), then preparing to air its final season. As in the novel, the show's story begins with the entire population of the world blacking out for more than a minute and glimpsing their future – in the book, twenty years ahead; in the series, six months – in the process causing untold destruction and loss of life. Though the book immediately revealed that the blackout and Precognition were the unintended consequences of a Physics experiment, in the series it is deliberately caused, and FBI agent Mark Benford sets out to discover the perpetrators and learn whether they plan to act again. Like Lost, FlashForward amasses a large cast of characters whose lives are complicated and thrown off course by their glimpse of the future, but though some of their stories are interesting – Mark's partner Demetri sees nothing and fears that he will die in the next six months; his AA sponsor sees his daughter, believed to have been killed in Afghanistan – most are overshadowed by Mark himself, a self-righteous, heedless bore not at all brought to life by Joseph Fiennes's stiff, blank performance. Though in its later episodes FlashForward begins to delve into the questions of free will and predestination begged by its premise, it never overcomes Benford's character, nor does it manage to build a head of story that makes compelling, Lost-style appointment television out of its premise. It was cancelled in May 2010. [AN]


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