The Event [NBC, Mondays, 9/8C] is a smart, complex and thoroughly entertaining new series. The premiere is easily the best pilot of the season. With a cast of dozens [if you include guest stars], this is a series that can provide at least a couple characters with whom everyone in the audience can identify, while the complexity of the premiere episode turns out to be much easier to follow than expected – despite the way it plays with various sequences in the past and present.
Technically, it begins with Sean [John Ritter] asking Michael Buchanan [Scott Patterson] for his daughter Leila’s [Sarah Roemer] hand in marriage before the two set out on a cruise – during which he plans to propose. When she disappears – and no one remembers her being on the cruise, or him either – he finds his way into the midst of a conspiracy of epic proportions.
In the premiere alone, there are: a hijacked plane; a kidnapped child; a frosty version of Guantanamo at Mount Inostranka, Alaska [where the inmates have research labs]; a new, black President [Blair Underwood], who intends to release those prisoners; the enigmatic leader of the prisoners [Laura Innes]; a group of government officials who oppose that release – including the director of the CIA [Zeljko Ivanek] and the Vice-President [Bill Smitrovitch]; and a couple of partiers [Wes Ramsay and Taylor Cole] on the aforementioned cruise who have impeccable timing [or not, depending on one’s point of view]. And that’s just the beginning [you will not believe the first episode’s cliffhanger].
The premiere is fast-paced – even frenetic at times. With so many characters to introduce and explore, you might expect a one-hour premiere to feel two dimensional, but there are plenty of character moments set between the major action sequences – and even the action set pieces develop our understanding of the characters involved.
Written by series creator Nick Wauters, the premiere of The Event is a riveting hour of television. Jeffrey Reiner’s direction keeps things moving, while making it easy [relatively speaking] to follow the story through its many flashbacks and replaying of key sequences from different points of view.
I don’t know if the series can be expected to match the vision, complexity and emotional resonance of Lost, but the premiere suggests that it might just do so. The time, money and creativity involved in producing The Event deserve the attention of a large enough audience to keep it going. I’m hooked and hope you will be, too.
Final Grade: A+