Wednesday, July 21, 2010

V & FlashForward | Televisions Greatest Disappointments of 2009

Back in the premiere season of 2009, a wide range of new shows premiered with some promise, but there were a select few that thought destined for TV greatness and there was some massive hype. In the end, 2009 ended up being one of the more disappointing seasons for network television. Even with all the hype and potential to be the next TV juggernauts, they turned out to be spectacular failures and didn’t even come close to ratings gold. Some are now gone and the rest teeter on oblivion. However, the biggest names were V and FlashForward. So here is a look back at those shows, why the hype, and why they disappointed.


FlashForward

The single most anticipated television series of the year was placed at number one in everyone’s best new show of the year list. There was not one person online or anywhere that did not think Flashforward was the new Lost. It received huge press and even had references to Lost in its premiere. Too bad it was cancelled after one season because it turned out to be less than interesting.

Why The Hype: a fantastic premise that intrigued everyone.
The premise that the world would blackout for a minute (137 seconds to be exact) and catch a glimpse of their future, gave the potential for a great series and a great mystery to draw viewers in.

Why it disappointed: slow moving, inability to capitalise on the premise, and the inability to stop saying “flashforward”.

The downfall of Flash forward is actually very simple, although it could be said that its hiatus contributed to its struggle. Apparently the problem with a “flashforward” is people just want to talk about it, which is a problem when each episode is spent talking about it instead of taking action and the word is consequently said every second.

V

V was plugged as the new big sci-fi series to take over geekdom with a wealth of episodes filled with sci-fi discussion material. For some reason though, it had a 12 episode season that seemed to have no story progression at all. Although it has survived (by winning a star trek-like battle to the death with FlashForward), it has not produced the success or quality it promised and still teeters on cancelation.

Why The Hype: reptilian aliens wearing human skin who want to take your planet and eat you (awesome!), a terrorist group fighting them, and those trailers looked damn good.

V seemed like the perfect idea now that BSG was over. It used the same idea of revamping an old sci-fi series for the better. The pre-premiere trailers were the best of the season and promised a large scale, special effect driven, expensive series. The pilot itself was very promising and even snagged very high ratings. What it promised to the viewer was good Samaritans turned terrorists fighting alien infiltrators, and they can distinguished man from lizard by cutting down to the skull bone behind the ear. The main draw though was the money backing to bring up the production value to be at least on par with BSG, and which that shot of V leader Anna’s image towering over a city seemed to suggest.

Why it disappointed: story issues, premature hiatus, money issues, poor use of characters, cheap graphics, general lack of suspense.

V had plot issues from the beginning and took a six week hiatus 4 episodes in to fix them unsuccessfully, a decision that cost them viewers. What it did deliver was a story that seemed badly conceived, with characters that seemed useless to the story and a season that was promised to involve a group of people fighting aliens which became about (and let me try to articulate this) keeping the aliens from knowing they want to fight them... at some point. Nailed it! Although it’s not mentioned very often, there was an issue with the alien sets being replaced by green screen effects, which looked kind of terrible. V was supposed to be the next generation, the expensive generation, the enhanced graphics generation, but in some ways it was actually less impressive than the original. Maybe they thought it was a good idea to make the interior of the V ship look bigger using CGI, but it probably would benefited the show to just build a set that looked real and didn’t remind the viewer it was fake.

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