"FlashForward", ABC's new sci-fi drama about a world in which everyone simultaneously blacks out for a little over two minutes (and sees visions of the future in the process), has been at the top of my most anticipated list of new fall shows ever since it was announced. I like the concept, I like David Goyer and Brannon Braga, the two gents who took the reigns on adapting Robert J. Sawyer's novel for television, and I even liked the first episode I was finally able to catch up on, but I have one complaint. Believe me, I already understand how nerdy and specific of a gripe this is, but what's with all of the burning buildings when everyone wakes up?
Okay, so the world blacks out for 2 minutes and 17 seconds. I can see the mayhem that would cause. Almost everyone driving a vehicle at the time would crash, anyone piloting a small aircraft that doesn't use autopilot would likely crash, and a lot of those crashes are bound to start fires. That's all perfectly logical, but why then are all of the office buildings on fire? I'll grant that a helicopter or two could have crashed into a building, but that's about it as far as air disasters go.
I've worked in office buildings before, I've even worked in buildings where a poorly timed two minutes of negligence could cause millions of dollars of damage to equipment, but I find it hard to believe that if everyone in an office building stopped what they were doing for 2 minutes and 17 seconds the building would suddenly catch on fire. And yet that's apparently what happened in nearly every building in "FlashForward"'s version of Los Angeles.
I can understand wanting to try to rival "Lost"'s mind blowing plane-crash opener, but at least keep things in perspective. The inexplicable fires weren't confined to just that money shot of downtown LA, either; news footage from other cities also showed this visual flare for spontaneous combustion. I'm all for dramatic flare, and I realize complaining about the logic of a show about a global blackout is redundant, but it just doesn't make any logistical sense, which is the kind of unnecessarily lazy world-building I hate to find in TV and movies.
As for the show, I'm digging the mystery enough that I'll tune in for more episodes despite the silly pillars of smoke, though I'm sure like Goyer and Braga's previous sci-fi TV collaboration, "Threshold", it'll come into its own right as it gets canceled. And yes, I acknowledge I'm likely the only person bothered by this, but come on, is there any reason for Big Ben to be on fire other than it looks cool?