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REVIEW: Five things to make THE EVENT a weekly must-see…um…EVENT!!

by Jim on October 25, 2010 · 3 comments

Jason Ritter is definitely bringing it in his front-and-center role of hero Sean Walker

While the freshman series The Event is finding some challenges in the ratings game, NBC gave the one-hour drama a vote of confidence last week when it ordered the back-nine episodes to give the series a full 22-episodes to prove its worth. I’ve been watching The Event from the start and as the fifth episode (which was not available to screen before this blog) is set to air tonight, I have a few offerings as to how to make this show the kind that is truly must-see.

1. Lose the flashbacks: The jumps in time unfortunately slow things down instead of speed them up so they have to go. While the flashbacks are not completely worthless because they do provide some backstory, the information we glean from them could just as easily be summed up in exposition or a more compelling plot thread that would engage us and also give us a window into the past of, for example, Sophia (Laura Innes), Thomas (Clifton Collins, Jr)  and the detainees.

Sarah Roemer as Leila Buchanan being held hostage before being rescued last week.

2. Balance the plot and character elements: With a show called The Event, we know what the show is focusing its energies and directions on but when the scale of the show’s elements is heavier in plot than character, it’s easy to get a little frustrated with why we’re watching. Other high concept shows like 24, Lost and Battlestar Galactica worked because not matter where the plots went (both good and bad) character was king. The plot can drive things if that is the conceit but without the character components at least being equal, it’s tough to hang in there so…

3. …we need a reason to care. Case in point, Sean and Leila were reunited last week but their reunion didn’t hit an emotional chord like it should have. Why not? Because we’ve been told to care about them as opposed to naturally becoming emotionally invested in this potential super couple. Don’t blame Ritter or Sarah Roemer, who are both giving it their all and deserve to see their characters given more depth so viewers become more invested. I can’t help but think about the first season of (yes, I’m going thereLost when the huge plot of the post-plane crash/”Where are we” was underway yet the show took the time to give us moments that not only defined each character (Locke in the “Walkabout” episode – which was episode 4 of the series – and Jin/Sun in the “House Of The Rising Sun” episode – which was episode six of the series) but also hooked viewers enough to stick with the show even in it’s not-so-great moments. (To be clear, I’ll be the first one to say that The Event is NOT trying to be Lost but there are similarities that fall back more on genre than anything else)

Clifton Collins Jr and Laura Innes have a long history that is being explored on THE EVENT

4. Casting: This isn’t actually a problem with The Event and that is a very good thing. While the direction of the episodes need some refining, the actors in the roles are doing the best they can. First and foremost, the show weighs hugely on the very capable shoulders of star Jason Ritter. Whether he’s diving off cliffs, running from the bad guys or desperately trying to save the life of his love, Leila, Ritter has the goods. Laura Innes is playing Sophia with as much conviction as she’s got and Scott Patterson (who was so good in the pilot as he broke out of his Gilmore Girls persona) needs more to do. The only weak link? Blair Underwood, who I usually love whether he’s playing drama in In Treatment or comedy in The New Adventures of Old Christine, is oddly bland as President Martinez. Where even Dennis Haysbert brought dignity and humanity to the often plot-heavy dialogue in the early years of 24, you believed in him and felt he was very, um, Presidential. So far, Underwood is not stepping up to the plate but maybe the main hindrance is the fact that we’ve barely seen him out of the inner workings of the White House.

In next week's episode, Simon (Ian Anthony Dale) shows some skin in a flashback (with Holland Roden).

5. New timeslot, please: It’s unfortunate that the uber-cheesy (yet addictive, I admit) reality competition Dancing With The Stars is effortlessly killing everything else in the 9pm Monday timeslot and the DVR can only do so much when Two and a Half Men and Gossip Girl are pulling in those leftover viewers. Before more people tune out from The Event, it would better suited on Thursdays at 10, especially since the latest non-celeb edition of The Apprentice is flopping big time in a time slot that traditionally has been a home for some of NBC’s best dramas. Or do we really need a 2-hour block on Wednesdays of Law & Order: SVU and LA?? The Event just feels like a 10pm show to me so I think Wed or Thursday at 10pm could work in its favor.

What do you think of The Event? Let me know here. Finally, I advise not to count The Event out yet. Each episode seems to be getting better and hopefully tonight’s 5th episode will keep sharpening the focus and make this show something of an event to watch every week. Kudos to NBC for giving the show a chance to find its footing and become the hit that it has all the makings of becoming. Fingers are crossed.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

The Event Log October 25, 2010 at 2:09 pm


This an excellent summation of the tweaks that the show’s production team and NBC have to get together to assure a season 2. We knew the timeslot was a problem from the outset, but the rest are self-inflicted.
In case anyone wants to read more about some of the show’s inherent problems, read my post, “Make Me Care” which has some very similar sentiments to Jim’s.

Brandon October 26, 2010 at 11:22 pm


While I must admit, I have become pretty addicted to “The Event,” I will also admit that you hit the nail on the head with this article. I do think that the time slot is a major issue–I’ve actually recently (with the exception of this week) begun opting to only watch the first hour of “Dancing,” before turning to “The Event” to watch it live. I do agree about the flashbacks…and yes, I do believe that the majority of the cast is very strong (I’ve been particularly impressed with Jason Ritter so far). I hope “The Event” doesn’t wind up making the same mistakes that “Heroes” wound up making after its first season, including making the show more about crazy plot twists than about the actual characters. It was very painful (not to mention frustrating) to watch that show sputter and die the way it did, especially with the potential that was always right there at the writers’ and producers’ fingertips. I agree that with “Lost,” even when the plot faltered, you always cared about the characters and you always understood why they were doing what they were doing, even if you didn’t necessarily agree with them. Hopefully “The Event” will take a cue from other successful serialized shows and make us care more. Of course, with “The Event” being a serialized show, would it be safe to say that it might be difficult for it to regain viewers (or gain all-new viewers) even if these suggestions are implemented?

Val November 25, 2010 at 9:09 pm

I must say that I agree whit you in all these points.
Although i’m in Argentina, also here doesn’t have a good timeslot … their competition is GREY’S ANATOMY and THE WALKING DEAD, two series with a lot of fans (me too, I admit).
I really love Dennis Haysbert’s character in 24 and all the characters from LOST… I truly hope that THE EVENT can do the same whit his characters.
(Sorry for my english)

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