The Event (actually titled THE EVƎNT) was a mess, and like many of the shows I've featured in this series the people firmly to blame were the writers.
Five years ago it seemed that every science fiction show debuting on US television was vying to be the next 'Lost'. Every Network wanted a share of that audience, so you can almost picture the meeting between the creators of The Event and NBC:
"It's a show about a young dude whose girlfriend goes missing, which jumps into him hijacking a plane, which is flown by his would-be father-in-law, who is attempting to assassination the President, who's found out about aliens here on Earth, and the plane gets sucked into a wormhole, and people get ill from an infection....."The pilot episode was very strong and showed a great deal of promise. Segments of the story played out in different times, allowing it to jump between story lines whilst keeping us guessing just exactly what was happening.
- Blank faces on all the NBC Executives -
"...and it's a bit Lost-ish."
"Consider it green-lit!"
Sean Walker (Jason Ritter) unwittingly becomes involved in a mysterious conspiracy after his girlfriend Leila (Sarah Roemer) is abducted while they are on a cruise ship. Meanwhile, the President (Blair Underwood) is making plans to shut down a top-secret detention center in Alaska and reveal a cover-up directly tied to its detainees and their mysterious leader, Sophia (Laura Innes), despite the objections of the Director of National Intelligence Blake Sterling (Željko Ivanek). Sean boards a plane and pleads with the pilot, Leila's father Michael (Scott Patterson), not to crash it into the President's press conference in Miami. As the plane approaches the press conference site, it flies into a vortex in mid-air and vanishes...
It was clever, complex, it was a little Lost-ish in it's storytelling and mystery, and looked like it was going to be a must see series. What was 'the event'? Apparently not the plane disappearing, as we were promised that 'the event' would come much later. I was hooked.
The trouble is it seems all the writers had planned out was the first episode, and then they had to attempt to come up with a story to fit in with it... or force in in places. The episodes continued to be split between at least 2 separate story arcs, with flashbacks and flashforwards being utilised to add more information about the characters and situations in the show. And this is where things started to go wrong. After several weeks the info was piling up, but meanwhile nothing else was really happening. We knew the detention center housed aliens, we knew there were good and bad fractions - we were being told stuff, but we never really knew why. And the why started to matter less and less.
The pacing began to go askew, as more time was given to the less interesting elements. Sean's story lines tended to involve him following a new lead but then finding out nothing, and so much of it was pointless and unnecessary to the plot. Considering he was supposed to be the main character, he really was given most of the padding.
The Event became harder and harder to follow. Miss an episode and you wouldn't know what was going on. In it's attempt to be the new 'Lost', it had lost the plot in a mass of mystery, and so after 10 episodes NBC decided to put the show on hiatus.
This was the biggest mistake they could have ever made. When the show returned it was clear that the Executives at NBC had forced the producers to attempt to simplify things. The multiple timelines were cut back, but the whole story line still felt just too dragged out. As I've mentioned before, once I have invested in a show I just have to stick with it - good or bad. This was not good, and at times it became painful to watch. I found myself relieved to discover it had been cancelled, yet still I stuck it out to the bitter end.
The Event lasted 22 episodes, with the actual 'event' happening in the finale, it was the arrival of the aliens home planet. Really it had very little connection to the majority of what had gone out throughout the rest of the series, and should've happened within about 10 episodes maximum. If it had then The Event might've stood a chance.
Too many plot holes, too much unnecessary padding, too complex, poorly conceived and badly written - with each episode progressively worse than the last. Five reasons why The Event is added to my list of the most disappointing Sci-Fi and Fantasy shows.
Birds of Prey
The Prisoner (2009)