Friday, December 04, 2009


I rarely watch T.V. series, however FlashForward was recommended to me. I have to say it's outstanding.

The principle behind the story is fairly straightforward. The entire world experiences an event which causes everyone to see the "future", six months ahead.

Of course, it's not quite that simple. The "future" seen is that of an alternative world (from the many world principle) and therefore doesn't necessarily represent the character's current future but instead another timeline where the character may have made other choices in their past.

This creates a continuous drama of whether the future visions are right or wrong and an obvious illusion of choice where people try to change (or make happen) a future which is not necessarily theirs.

This paradox is illustrated with one particular character Dr. Olivia Benford. In the "current" world Olivia is married to a recovering alcoholic, Mark Benford. However, in her "future" vision she is with another of the characters Dr. Lloyd Simcoe. The paradox is that the "future" vision is that of another timeline, hence there are three obvious possibilities for this other timeline. Either :-

  • She is married to Mark (as per the "current" timeline) but has an affair with Lloyd
  • The interpretation of the vision is incorrect (i.e. Lloyd is just staying in the house for some other reason)
  • Her timeline is different in the other world i.e. she attended Harvard, met LLoyd and was never married to Mark (or divorced him due to his drinking etc).

This is the deliciousness of the series which has many examples of these paradoxes woven into the plot. You're kept guessing whether the visions being seen are a possible future of the current timeline or not.

All the time, the characters in the "current" world are making choices based upon the belief that their "future" visions are correct and in some cases they are even trying to make them happen (even when those visions aren't possible because of other past choices).

Of course, there is also the subplot of what caused the event, will it happen again and several other plot lines. I hope they don't mess this up like Lost which became a repetitive bore.

For the time being though, it is utterly brilliant.