[As I’ve already mentioned, and will continue to mention each and every one of these posts that I do: This is *not* a review. Pilots change. Sometimes a lot. Often for the better. Sometimes for the worse. But they change. Actual reviews will be coming in September and perhaps October (and maybe midseason in some cases). This is, however, a brief gut reaction to not-for-air pilots.]
Show: “The Event,” NBC
The Pitch: “It’s a conspiracy thriller for people who love the unanswered questions of ‘Lost’ and the helpful onscreen chyrons of ’24.'”
Quick Response: The pilot for “The Event” is 42 minutes of sizzle and absolutely no steak. It’s 42 minutes of time-skipping, shaky-cam paranoia and cloaked dialogue in which nobody says anything that would give you any indication of what they’re actually talking about. It’s a 42 minute game of TV Three Card Monte, in which the creators may or may not know exactly what they’re doing, but they keep shifting things around to make viewers think they’re putting together pieces of a puzzle, only to make clear by the end that nobody in the audience was actually figuring out anything as they went along, they were just being yanked along by a chain. I couldn’t tell you what it’s about and that level of obfuscation is intended by the creators. There are no characters, but sometimes you like somebody because the actor is likable (Jason Ritter), or you think somebody is hot because the actress looks good in a bikini (Sarah Roemer), or you think a character is sturdy because the actor is sturdy (Blair Underwood), or you fear the character is untrustworthy because the actor’s characters are always untrustworthy (Zeljko Ivanek). There are no actual characters *or* actual earned human moments in the pilot, but viewers are being pushed around so aggressively from the very opening minutes that some audience members will happily sacrifice all intellectual free will to let the creators jerk them around a one-sided game. The show that “The Event” reminded me of was “Vanished,” which some viewers (only a few based on ratings) perplexingly adored despite layer after layer of cliche and contrivance that made it impossible engage with actively. I have zero doubt that some viewers will love “The Event” as well, probably more since it’s made by a much more talented group of people on both sides of the camera. Some people will *love* “The Event.” To me? Not one moment felt real or honest or earned. But it is a show that is going to get a response even if that response is, as in this case, annoyance. And it could get better. Like I said, there are talented people here.
Desire To Watch Again: Despite myself, I’m curious enough that I’ll watch more episodes even in a competitive time slot. But I reserve the right to be perpetually irked by a show that pulls me along on a leash and doesn’t respect me enough to give me any meaningful nourishment along the way. Argh. My repeated fear: Some folks are gonna love this one and those folks are gonna really bug me.
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