The most heartbreaking show from the fall 2010 season was The Event. Sure, critics lamented the loss of Lone Star, but it didn’t last long enough to get attached. The Event had a brilliant premiere, setting up interesting storylines and a rich mystery, but by the end of the fall, it was running on fumes.
The Event took the worst from Lost and the worst from 24 and combined them into one of the most frustrating shows on TV. Tonight, after more than three months off the air, The Event returns to NBC at 8pm with a two-hour event.
But is it any better? Well, it’s at least different.
While the show had many complex storylines, it’s fairly easy to get back into the show. The alien Thomas has rebelled against his mother Sophia and launched a communications satellite into orbit. Meanwhile, the show’s wussier version of Jack Bauer, Sean Walker, tracked down his girlfriend’s sister, but all he and Leila found was a photo of her dad proving that he is also an alien.
In tonight’s two hours, The Event tries its best to tie up loose ends and bring everything together. Instead of having two distinct shows, the discovery that Michael Buchanan is an alien is a way for the show to bring Sean and Sophia’s storylines together.
The return of The Event succeeds in bringing everything together and even answering a few questions (for instance, we actually learn where the aliens on this show come from). The second hour also provides some inspiration as National Intelligence Director Blake Sterling heads to the Inostranka facility and proves that he’s a pretty awesome bad-ass.
However, I’m not ready to proclaim that The Event has solved all of its problems. The introduction of Virginia Madsen as a nosy Alaska senator is a painfully obnoxious and pointless additional problem the president has to deal with. And the way the show shoehorns in a scene with Hal Holbrook’s mysterious Mr. Dempsey feels inauthentic and only serves to complicate things.
The biggest problem The Event has is itself. The show is so concerned with building and deepening the mystery that it quickly becomes buried in a pile of its own confusion. The show’s return tries to simplify some of the clutter, but then it just adds new problems.
There’s also the issue of what “the event” is and all the unanswered questions that arise from the pilot’s disappearing plane. As my co-worker Laurel Brown points out to me on a daily basis, how did Sean Walker get from the cruise ship to the airplane? I’m not interested because the show has successfully created a fascinating mystery, I only want to know because it just looks like a gaping plot hole.
Sadly, The Event has stuck its tendrils into my brain and I’m not sure I’ll be able to stop watching until NBC cancels it. In the meantime, I only hope the show will take a few lessons from the return and start answering more questions and introducing fewer problems.
(Image courtesy of NBC)