The Event Shows Promise And Cause For Alarm

21 Sep

This is a crucial stage right here – deciding whether or not to get on board The Event – and I am perched squarely on the fence about it.

There’s no doubt it’s trying to follow in the footsteps of LOST, and to me that’s a bad thing.  If I knew six or even three years ago what I know now about LOST, I never would have watched it, plain and simple. 

LOST is like an abusive, long term relationship in my past – it may well have ruined any posssibility of a healthy relationship in the future.  I was absolutely in love with LOST and absolutely appalled by the ending.

I’ve found a lot of people who feel the same way, and a lot of people who feel differently, and I do know this much – there are smart examples of people on both sides of the debate.  So I really don’t want to hear it if you think that being appalled by the end of LOST or reluctant to sign on to a new version of it equals me being stupid.

In return, I promise not to label anyone else as stupid for watching or liking The Event.  That’s not what it means when I point out a part of a show that I think is stupid.  I like lots of shows in which stupid stuff happens right and left.

You can tell me how important the journey is all you want, and you’re right.  The journey is important.  But the destination is also important.  In fact, I would say it is equally important.  So a fantastic journey followed by a dud of a destination is 50%.

That’s an F in any classroom, but it’s a stellar batting average.  So the question is, do you look at a show you’re watching as if you’re a teacher giving it a grade, or as if you’re a fan watching a baseball player?

Well, since I’m a writer, I’m slapping a grade on it.  And if the show is doing a bunch of stuff that I would never let myself do, and then passing itself off as artistic and smart for doing all that – well, they’re going to lose me. 

And it’s okay – they can keep you, and it doesn’t make you stupid, and it doesn’t make me stupid, because it’s just a television show. 

So I guess I just want to be very clear with The Event, regarding my expectations of it .  At the end of LOST, a lot of people were telling me that I should not have expected much of a rational resolution.  What happened where, and why people were time-traveling and why people were building hilarious structures and where rules were coming from and where the four-toed people went, that apparently wasn’t the point.

Sometimes folks would even demand that I show them a link to where Cuse and Lindelof actually said they’d answer the questions.  As if the existence of the questions themselves wasn’t enough.

Right here at the beginning, I’d like to say that it’s really easy to throw around a bunch of mystery, and then later not resolve it and claim you’re being artistic.  It’s really easy to tell me, “Oh, you would have understood if only you’d watched these eight podcasts and read these ten books.”

That’s not how I see things. 

I’m going to watch this television show, not take a graduate level course on it. 

I expect the story to be contained within the show, much like East of Eden was contained between the front and back covers of the book.  Much like practically any great work of literature or film stands on its own, I expect this television show to do the same.

See, allowing your story to flow all over history is a lack of discipline, not the presence of depth.  That’s more like hiding your lack of a story within the Giant Story of the World. 

Agatha Christie never put out a press release stating, “I hereby promise to tell you all whodunit by the end of this book.”  She didn’t have to, because that’s a reasonable expectation of a mystery novel. 

If she ever started putting out mystery novels in which, at the end she told you that it was your own shallow expectations that had failed you, and that you should go and read Dante’s Inferno to try to piece together who did it, she would have started losing readers in droves.

The standard response to this is – “Oh, Tom needs spoon fed.”  And sure, you can call it whatever you want.  The way I see it, a storyteller is taking us on a trip.  He or she is driving, we are in the passenger seat.  They’re either going to take us somewhere cool, or drive around for a while and then drop us off in the middle of nowhere.

I hope it’s the first one, makers of The Event.  Because after LOST, if I get the feeling it’s the second one, I’m jumping out of this car at the next red light and running like hell – and I don’t think I’m alone.

For now, I like it, and I’m watching, and I have my theories about it, and I find it fairly engaging.  I am, however, suspicious of it, and I’m not going to be a brainless cheerleader for the show – they’ll have to earn my respect and they’re on their way to doing that. 

I’ll post some of those theories this week.




The Event: First Impressions


Things I Like To See


Posted by on September 21, 2010 in Television/Movies, The Event


Tags: , , , , , , ,

17 responses to “The Event Shows Promise And Cause For Alarm

  1. Chriss

    September 21, 2010 at 10:04 pm

    If I were a writer I could have written this. Thank you for speaking for me. Great job!

    • thomaschalfant

      September 21, 2010 at 10:21 pm

      Cool, you’re welcome! Thanks for commenting!

  2. Adele Dill

    September 21, 2010 at 10:24 pm

    Well said, Tom. We had the same scenario going on here as well—amazing the effect of one badly ended show. So, we hedged our bets last night, channel hopped and watched Lone Star as well. Lone Star is definitely out of the competition. Looked too predictable. But, not sure we want to get hooked on The Event. Maybe we’ll stick with reruns of Criminal Minds, MI5, NCIS or Bones until those who do take a chance on The Event tell us it’s worthy of our time.

    • thomaschalfant

      September 21, 2010 at 11:00 pm

      Good to see you back Adele and I will be happy to watch it for you and let you know if it’s worth your time or not!

      You’ve already got me cooking my eggs longer – slightly.

      I’m used to shouting this from the rooftops, but I love Glee and the season premiere is on tonight. I don’t know if it’s a good show or a smart show or what, but I know I feel like a million bucks every time I watch it. I walk around snapping my fingers the next day or two.

      • Adele Dill

        September 23, 2010 at 3:48 am

        Thanks, Tom. We’ll leave you to it. Always cheering to see characters from cancelled shows find work again, like Keri (or was it with a C) from ER. As for eggs, how I do miss my sunny eggs, my soft boiled eggs—someday, when I feel like livin’ on the edge, I just might throw caution to whatever wind and have one or two!

  3. Greg Willms

    September 21, 2010 at 11:50 pm

    I’ve decided to only allow myself to be as interested as I can be watching a show whilst simultaneously playing “Angry Birds” on my iPhone. That way, if I lose interest or get lost, unwind feel so bad. Because hey, I’m trying to play Angry Birds here!

    • katdish

      September 22, 2010 at 6:38 pm

      It has to be a pretty engaging show to draw my attention away from Angry Birds.

    • thomaschalfant

      September 23, 2010 at 12:29 am

      Time to admit I don’t know what Angry Birds is all about. I might have earlier, but I don’t anymore.

  4. Greg Willms

    September 21, 2010 at 11:52 pm

    That was supposed to read “I won’t”, not “unwind”. Silly iPhone keyboard.

  5. katdish

    September 22, 2010 at 6:43 pm

    I read a blog connected to the show. I’d post the link, but am currently suffering from devastating laziness. Anyhoo, it was the really long post about how the viewers were going to have to do their homework, study up on Alaskan history, etc. Who’s got that kind of time for a freaking tv show? I’m going to watch it, even though I’m not really buying Blair Underwood as presidential or Hispanic. The pilot was sufficient enough to hold my attention for now.

    • thomaschalfant

      September 23, 2010 at 12:27 am

      I read that one too! A strange feeling, like they were agreeing to allow me to watch the show instead of the other way around. I’m not really feeling one way or another toward any of the characters – and there are a LOT of characters – that’s a bad sign.

    • sparrow1969

      September 23, 2010 at 2:41 am

      Devastating laziness! I resemble that…

  6. sparrow1969

    September 23, 2010 at 2:40 am

    I agree…I’m watching it, but cautiously. I hate getting emotionally involved with a show and then it tanks. Firefly is a good example of that. If Fox had pulled it’s head out of it’s back side, we’d still be watching new episodes of it today…but I digress…

    Something I hated about the pilot of The Event was that there were too many of the same flashback. I think they showed that air plane scene WAY too many times. It was too slow for a pilot too…just my two cents.

    This better turn out better than Flash Forward. I was sad that it lost my interest so quickly.

    • thomaschalfant

      September 23, 2010 at 6:50 pm

      Flash Forward was a good example of a show with too much mystery. They really wanted mystery in every single corner of that show until the mystery itself was kind of mundane.

      Loved Firefly, but I’m guilty here – didn’t watch it until a couple years ago on DVD. I think that was on at a period of time when I didn’t have a television.

  7. TVWatcher

    September 28, 2010 at 4:48 pm

    The Event is okay, but pretty hokey. Really missing Law & Order. Hoping it comes back given that it’s likely Outlaw, Chase, and Undercovers will be cancelled.


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