NBC’s “The Event”: in my view, one of the best recent sci-fi series, but you had to watch it all, in sequence

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One of my favorite television series has been NBC’s “The Event”, which ran for 22 episodes from September 2010 to May 2011.

The premise of the show is rather Roswell-like.  It supposes that during WWII, an  extraterrestrial spacecraft crashed in Alaska, and the government held most of the aliens.  But the aliens look almost exactly like humans, even with the same approximate race variations, and those who escaped assimilated into the population, one winding up heading the CIA. The one difference is the Methuselah syndrome, meaning that the aliens age very slowly.

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Another element of the plot is that a president Martinez (Blair Underwood, aka Obama) wants to release them on human rights grounds, and that leads to an assassination plot in the first episode, which the aliens foil with radical technology, taking the people on an aircraft through a portal.

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For me, the lead character was Sean Walker, played by Jason Ritter, a computer games designer who becomes involved when his fiancée disappears in the first episode.  Sean is extremely charismatic and has a “Clark Kent personality”, and has abilities that verge on being powers.  Toward the end of the series the audience begins to believe that Sean is himself an alien, or perhaps was conceived by an alien and normal person.  As Sean realizes he is partially “one of them”, he is faced with a real existential test of his loyalties.  The aliens seem to lack our full moral compass, but Seam does understand it and (like Clark Kent) tries to live by it.  A clue is that about six or seven years in flashbacks have passed, and even Sean notices that he still has the body of an 18 year old. That would be a blessing.

The series varies from other series of this type (like “Smallville”) in that the episodes are much more interconnected;  one must watch every episode to follow the story, which may have cut down on ratings eventually.  And some of the story is told in detailed flashbacks.

Another interesting character was Sofia, played by Laura Innes, and she can become quite chilling.  An interesting fact is that she was originally conceived as a male character.  So making her female required some flexibility among the writers, something I am never willing to do in my own fiction (and this may become a critical discussion point in later posts).

The last few episodes telescope, leading to a denouement where the aliens bring their dying planet close to earth – a kind of “Krypton” or “Earth II” that has been scorched to desert by it’s expanding sun, which is threatening to become a supernova.  If so, it would need to be a at least a few hundred light years away or else the radiation from it (the gamma rays) could eventually destroy life on Earth, too.  Only  “Type I” civilization could master black holes or portals and traverse an entire galaxy.

The NBC link is here.  NBC considered spinning off a sequel series and I’m not sure what became of that, link.

It would have been interesting to wonder what a second season could have brought.

 

 

2 thoughts on “NBC’s “The Event”: in my view, one of the best recent sci-fi series, but you had to watch it all, in sequence”

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