ABC ‘FlashForward’s with another hit show

Tania Jachens

As college students, we often wonder what our futures may hold: where our major will take us, if we will have a job when we graduate or what classes we should take next semester. We read our horoscopes, listen to our advisers and check the weekend weather forecast all in an effort to predict what we cannot control. Yet how would you react if you suddenly experienced two minutes and 17 seconds of your future six months from now? What if it was not what you expected? Just because you saw it, does this mean it will come true? These are the questions facing the characters of ABC’s newest fall drama, “FlashForward.” In the same moment, the entire world loses consciousness for exactly 137 seconds and besides the chaos that ensues, from plane crashes to car pileups to widespread fires, everyone glimpses a surreal but shockingly convincing vision of what their futures will hold six months from then on April 29, 2010. While many people saw themselves as happy, FBI agent Mark Benford (Joseph Fiennes) saw himself investigating the cause of the blackout, while masked gunmen hunt for him in his office. His wife, Olivia (Sonia Walger), saw the end of their marriage, while Benford’s partner (John Cho) saw absolutely nothing, which may be the worst vision of all. Because of his flashforward, agent Benford is put in charge of the investigation “Mosaic” and, by remembering leads and images he saw in his flashforward, Benford and his team begin to slowly piece together the mystery of who, or what, might be responsible. Part of “Mosaic” is an internet database, where anyone from around the world can post what they saw in their flashforward, connecting unlikely characters into a convoluted web of future events. As they delve deeper into the investigation, they discover that at least one person was awake during the blackout and that smaller blackouts may have occurred in the past. Ultimately, they realize that what caused the worldwide blackout is much bigger and more serious than anyone ever imagined. One of the best aspects of “FlashForward” is that, despite its similarities to “Lost,” it never gets bogged down in sci-fi details or digs itself too deep with ridiculously unexplainable events. Despite the initial freak occurrence, everything about the show remains grounded and believable. “FlashForward” also provides an important commentary on the power we have over our own fate. If you know the future or think you do, what can you do about it? Will you inescapably fulfill your own fate by the very act of trying to avoid it, or are these flashforwards only hints or warnings of what may come to pass? With “What did you see?” replacing “How are you?” as the standard greeting, people must decide if they will let what they saw in their flashforwards determine the course of their lives or motivate them to change it before it is too late. As important details and characters’ flashforwards are slowly revealed, ideas about God, fate and free will are evenly balanced with some seriously intense action and drama, making “FlashForward” one of the most riveting, exciting and thought-provoking new shows of the season. Watch it Thursdays at 8 p.m. on ABC.