Culture > Television

Flash in the pan

Television | Intriguing ABC program takes a turn for the much worse

Issue: "Homegrown terror," Dec. 5, 2009

Reviewing a new television program is always a dicey game. A critic never has more than two or three episodes to go on and from that must extrapolate the show's potential. This is even more difficult for a critic with a biblical worldview, since producers may decide to change a series' tone partway through its season. ABC's Flash Forward isn't the first time I've been burned by giving a qualified recommendation to a new program, but it may be the worst.

Perhaps it shouldn't have surprised me. As WORLD has reported, the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation wields influence at no network as much as Disney-owned ABC (see "Creative control," April 11, 2009). So when, on Flash Forward's third episode, a female character, Janis Hawk, who was previously not even portrayed as a homosexual, suddenly began dating, kissing, and suggesting sex to another woman, the hit show fell in step with the rest of ABC's lineup. An over-the-top heterosexual sex scene (that had no bearing on the plot) was even more assaulting.

So, intriguing though its premise was, I have to put Flash Forward in the bait-and-switch category. When a new show's shift in subject matter is so abrupt, I have a hard time believing it isn't intentional: Get the millions of viewers who would judge such content "garbage" hooked before hitting them in the face with values completely contrary to their own.

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That plan may not be working: After the third episode Flash Forward's ratings dropped by a precipitous 13 percent. My official recommendation: Take it off your DVR's recording list.

Megan Basham
Megan Basham

Megan, a regular correspondent for WORLD News Group, is a writer and film critic living in Charlotte, N.C. She is the author of Beside Every Successful Man: A Woman's Guide to Having It All.


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