“American Idol” has run more than a few tiny shows out of business and caused more than a few bigger shows to go scurrying out of its path, but the show has never caused the calendar to misalign. That may, however, be what’s about to occur with ABC’s “FlashForward.”
ABC announced on Friday (Jan. 8) that the mysterious time-shifting drama will now return to the schedule on Thursday, March 18. That’s two weeks later than originally planned, with ABC moving to shelter “FlashForward” from a pair of Thursday airings of “American Idol.”
[More on the second half of the “FlashForward” season after the break…]
“It’s a happy accident, because it means we’ll be able to air our final 13 episodes uninterrupted and we’ll be premiering with a two-hour and finishing with a two-hour,” showrunner David Goyer told reporters during a Friday “FlashForward” set visit for the Television Critics Association.
Later, though, Goyer admitted to a group of reporters that the delays in returning “FlashForward” to the air may have an unfortunate consequence: April 29 may no longer take place on April 29.
If you’ve been watching “FlashForward,” you know that the show’s premise is that the entire world blacks out and sees a snippet of events that took place on April 29, 2010. That means that the show has been building its first season toward that day on the calendar, a day where we’ll see just how much of what people saw in their visions came true and how much proved avoidable. Because “FlashForward” airs on Thursdays, that meant that the show would have an episode on Thursday, April 29, which also happens to be the first day of the May Sweeps period. Goyer and company have been touting that serendipity for months, saying April 29 would air on April 29. Now, though, it’s in jeopardy.
“We don’t know,” Goyer said. “When we were originally coming back on March 4th, that was still possible. That may be one of the casualties of ‘American Idol.’ We had obviously always intended on that. In most of the foreign countries [where the show airs], April 29 wasn’t going to coincide. We’re trying to see if we can still engineer that given our slightly shifting schedule.”
Goyer was full of additional teases regarding the rest of the first season. For example, he promised that the kangaroo will make another appearance, though he confessed to being a bit confused about why the out-of-place marsupial has struck such a chord with viewers. He mentioned that something huge happens to Christine Woods’ Janis at the end of Episode 15 (Woods very politely declined to clarify what Goyer might be referring to). He also promised that the identity of Suspect Zero would be revealed as part of the two-hour return in March (it may be somebody we’ve seen before, Goyer hinted).
There are a lot of things still to come in this first season, including intimations of a second Black Out, as Goyer acknowledged that, as a result of rapidly burning through storylines, “FlashForward” will have gone through the plot of the first two seasons of his original three-season place by its May finale. Goyer and company have already pitched a hypothetical second season arc to ABC, so now all ABC has to do is decide to renew the show.
While “FlashForward” has suffered gradual ratings erosion since its premiere in September, Goyer stressed that there would be ample ways for newbies or lapsed fans to catch up before March 18. Following the “Glee” model, “FlashForward” will release a first volume of the season on DVD. Then, weeks before the show returns, a recap special will air, featuring both repurposed material, but also a few fresh twists for fans. In addition, the recap special will end with “a bomb.”
Wait. A clip show that will feature a new twist at the end? That’s a bit of a cheat, right? How are fans supposed to know?
Well, first of all: Watch the clip show — “a new reentry point,” Goyer says — for “a bomb.”
Also, Goyer insists, “If you watch that episode and you’re a loyal viewer, you’re going to get a critical piece of information a lot sooner than you would in the life of the show. If you don’t watch it, you’ll get it in the life of the show anyway.”
“FlashForward” now returns to ABC on Thursday, March 18.