Few new programs of the fall season have garnered as much attention as The Event. With the show's science-fiction plot, large ensemble of characters and mysteries galore, it is no wonder that much of that attention has compared The Event to the recently-departed Lost.
How similar are these shows, really?
While both programs do appear at first glance to be alike, the truth might be something quite different. A comparison of the supposed similarities actually reveals many differences between The Event
. And, considering Lost
's long-term success, these differences might be a problem for The Event
Both The Event
have vague titles referring to the overall theme of the program. That is, however, where the similarities end. With Lost
, we knew by the end of the first scene that the story involved people lost on a desert island. After an episode or two , we also knew that these castaways were lost souls desperately trying to find their paths.
In contrast, what is The Event
? The disappearing plane? The looming disease? The revelation of the Mt. Inostranka prison? I have no idea but guess that the titular event is still to come.Multiple Storylines
split into many storylines and separated characters after the first two seasons, those stories and characters began together. One flight, one beach and one major story -- even the flashbacks tied the characters together.
In stark contrast, the storylines on The Event
remain determinedly separate. Sean drives across the country, looking for Leila. Leila, in turn, languishes in a series of shipping containers, cargo vans and basements. The passengers and crew of the airplane bleed away in quarantine. Sophia sits in a White House-adjacent prison. Thomas hangs out in whatever corporate bubble he inhabits. The CIA characters do wander between a few of the various stories, but everyone else has managed to stay apart, miserably unaware of what's going on elsewhere.Ensemble Casts
all of these people?
For the most part, The Event
has kept its characters shrouded in mystery. Obviously we're not going to find out about the Inostrankans or the CIA director. But what's so important about Michael Buchanan that he
had to fly the plane into the President? And who the heck is Sean? We know he's incredibly good at computers and met Leila in college. That's it. (My crazy theory: He's somehow the estranged son of Sophia and Thomas. How cool would that be?)Lost
certainly surrounded its characters in mystery, but the show also made a concerted effort to identify them. We saw a wheelchair and soon learned it had carried John Locke. The injured air marshal led to Kate as a wanted fugitive. The mysteries bred more mysteries, but constant character reveals were a hallmark of Lost
from the beginning.Who Knows the Answers?Lost
, especially at the beginning of the series, threw a handful of characters into a bewildering situation. What was the monster? Why did the plane crash? Where were they? Although each character knew his or her own past, the show's present and future were as much a mystery to the characters as to the audience. Over the course of time, we solved the puzzles alongside the characters. That shared odyssey to the truth propelled **Lost forward.The Event
does not allow for such a collaborative journey. Every character on that show (with the possible exception of poor Leila) knows more about the greater story than the audience. Who are the Inostrankans? Sophia, Thomas and Simon could tell us. How did Sean make it onto the Avias flight, and how did he even know what Michael was going to do? Why are the nefarious spy types holding Leila captive, and what do they want anyway?
In each case, the characters are keeping the audience in the dark. We return each week to be told a little more about what's happening. Eventually, we hope, the audience will get the whole story.
It's a dangerous game for The Event
. What happens if the audience gets tired of waiting? Why should we remain in the dark when we know Sophia could just turn to the camera and explain who her people are?
For now, the mysteries are compelling enough to wait, but when will our patience run out?
What do you think about The Event
? Loving it? Hating it? Ready to throw things at your TV in frustration? Let us know!(Images courtesy of NBC)