Monthly Archives: October 2009

Flash Forward

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There is a new ABC TV series called “Flash Forward.” It is an exercise in non-sequiturs, or possibly pre-sequiturs. Each episode consists of short vignettes, from the past, present or future, in which the characters try to figure out what is happening now and what will happen at a specific future time, with references to things in the past.

Normally, this would be simple fiction, but there is a science fiction element. A tachyon wave (or some other quantum event escaping into the non-quantum universe) allowed everyone on the planet to see what they were doing for a few minutes in the future. Some people saw nothing, and presumably will die between now and then. Others saw actions and activities they don’t understand. Others saw actions and activities they are desperately trying to prevent from becoming real.

It is an interesting plot device, with ample room for discussions of determinism (which it mentions only in passing), predestination, inevitability, and a whole bunch of other big words that we as humans shy away from addressing, unless we are philosophers, historians or divinity students.

It is vaguely based on a science fiction novel, Flashforward, by Robert J. Sawyer. Many of the characters are the same, but in the novel the flash forward is a view in about 21 years. ABC wimped out of trying to figure out what Geneva, Switzerland would look like in 21 years, and settled for envisioning Los Angeles after a few months.

Wimps.

[Added later: and then the network canceled it in mid non sequitur.]

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