Saturday, October 17, 2009


I suppose this post will be my attempt at a TV show review, but simultaneously it's a commentary on some very interesting aspects of humanity and the ever-changing world we live in.

FlashForward is a new ABC show about a strange phenomena in which the entire world's population blacked out for 137 seconds. The goose bump-inducing part of this is that almost everyone, during this time, has a vision of the future exactly six months from the date of the blackout.

The show is based off a 1999 novel of the same name, and addresses one of the most enduring and controversial topics--collective unconsciousness. The entire planet has the same blackout, the same visions, on the same date, and has the same, normally unstimulated, portion of their brains stimulated by the events (the Hippocampus area). What are the implications of this? Perhaps it's an argument in favor of the great philosophers who hypothesized a collective unconscious was part of our inherent intelligences, and that the collective energies, imaginations and thoughts of the human population are capable of much greater and enduring things together than what we achieve singularly.

While the phenomena is incredible, the effects are different for each of the characters. There are both good and bad futures for the main characters in the show, particularly between two doctors. One is the wife of the protagonist who sees a vision of her marriage ending in the near future, while the other doctor she is speaking to realizes suicide is not the answer to his problems, and all his life changes for the better.

One portion of the show shows doctors on a discussion panel on a TV show discussing how patient who were undergoing brain surgery or cat-scans at the time of the blackout had the Hippocampus area of their brains stimulated, a normally unstimulated portion of their brains. This suggests that everyone was 'awake' during this, but in deep thought or meditation, seeing 'memories' of events that WILL happen. Sure, that might look like I'm taking a figurative vacation from traditional grammar, but I promise I'm's how they described it.

One character later suggest that, perhaps since this has happened, we are all like prophets, united by a single event, and he asks when in the history of the world something like this has ever happened before?

In the minds of some of the world's greatest philosophers, we are all our own prophets. We are, in essence, our own gods, able to predict and create our own futures....or alter them.

The show seems pretty straightforward--finding out what caused this phenomena, but they've thrown some monkey wrenches into the mix: a person known only as "Suspect Zero," a person at a baseball game who did not blackout, but walks out of the stadium while everyone is passed out. (Conspiracy!) An old Nazi who claims he knows why everyone blacked out and has all the answers. The FBI has also decided to set up a website for everyone on earth to share their experiences. Their hopes are that by cross-referencing the memories and events that everyone saw during the blackout, that they can discover corroborated stories and certain events that will happen--warnings that they can use to change the future.

There's also some sort of recurring symbol of a kangaroo bouncing down the street....I'm confused right now about it, but I'm sure I'll praise it later on.

Not only am I excited to watch this show in the coming weeks because John Cho (Harold, who went to White Castle) and Seth MacFarland (AKA the creator of Family Guy!!!) are primary characters, but also because the acting in the show isn't terrible or reminiscent of shows like this, where a viewer on the couch huffs in disapproval at the predictable trite dialogue and overreactions.

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