“FlashForward” on ABC should have run more than one season


Flash Forward” was, in my opinion, one of the most intriguing science fiction series ever aired on network television. It aired from September 24, 2009 until May 27, 2010.  It was adapted by Brannon Barga and David S. Goya from a 1999 science fiction novel by Robert J. Sawyer.

The premise of the series starts with the idea that for 137 seconds on Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2009, almost everyone in the world goes unconscious and has a vision of what their lives will be on April 29, 2010.  Because many people are in automobiles at the time, particularly in Los Angeles, there are many deaths.  Some people remember no dreams at all.  Others have to deal with the idea that spouses could have left them.

There are some curious twists.  One is that apparently a baseball game was going on at Comerica Park at the time in Detroit (must have been the American League playoffs) and a “Suspect Zero” there does not lose consciousness.  (I wonder how umpires would rule on a play.)  That person is said to possess a “quantum entanglement device” which may use quantum mechanics to create the impression of faster than light travel or of time travel.  Perhaps this could be viewed as relating to ideas like precognition, telepathy, maybe even teleportation (or Clark Kent’s “speed” in Smallville).  Accepted theoretical physics doesn’t let us make too much of this, however.

Another twist is that a similar effect is said to have happened in Somalia in 1991, at the time Somalia broke apart as a country, and the piracy problem (as in the movie “Captain Phillips”) got much worse.  There is an artifact of cell towers in Somalia related to the event.

Some of the main characters include FBI Special Agent Mark Benford (Ralph Fiennes), Dr. Bruce Varley (Zachary Knighton) who was about to commit suicide because of the apparent failure of his own treatment for cancer, when he learns that on the future date he will be in remission, and agnet Dmitir Fordi Noh (John Cho), who has no vision and has to try to prevent his own murder.  This would indeed violate the time arrow of physics.

Throughout the series we keep hearing “There’s going to be another blackout.”  The season finale had been shot before it was known that the show would be cancelled, but it does end with another blackout about two decades into the future.

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