So Tell Me About The Event: A Movieline Premiere Week FAQ

The pilot of The Event doesn't end with one of the Hobbits saying "Where are we?" but that doesn't mean things are crystal clear. Unless mud is considered "crystal clear" -- in which case, mission accomplished. The latest attempt to find an heir apparent to Lost arrives on NBC tonight at 9 p.m. and brings with it more fanfare than any other pilot premiering this week. Does The Event have what it takes to find a spot on your DVR? That answer and more ahead in the first of Movieline's Premiere Week FAQ.

What is The Event?

An action/mystery/sci-fi/thriller from Evan Katz (24), Jeffrey Reiner (Friday Night Lights), Steve Stark (Medium) and creator Nick Wauters (The 4400, Eureka)

No, what is the event?

Oh. Good question. Based on the pilot the event is... something.

What does that mean?

You're going to be difficult, huh? The overarching mystery of the show is unclear, but the event in the pilot deals with a hijacked airplane being used as a missile to attack the President of the United States.

Wow, they're jumping in with both feet. What happens?

I know, right? I won't spoil the tension, other than to say almost every major character is involved in this dramatic, 9/11-tinged set piece.

Who hijacks the plane?

I'm not telling, but Lorelai Gilmore will not be happy.

OK, well can you tell me who's involved?

Sure! The Event follows Sean Walker (Jason Ritter), a twitchy nobody whose girlfriend, Leila (Sarah Roemer), mysteriously disappears when they're on a cruise.

That sucks.

You don't know the half of it. Making matters even worse, Sean was just about to propose to Leila before being rudely interrupted by cries for help from a surfer dude and his drowning girlfriend.

Let me guess: They aren't on the level.

Doubtful. It bears mentioning that Leila disappears after Sean and the other girl go snorkeling and leave her in the hotel room.

Cue ominous thunderclaps.

Of course.

Is Sean a worthy audience surrogate?

He is thanks to Ritter. As an actor, he has a striking small screen presence and is very, very engaging. Whether Sean's about to propose to his girlfriend or pulling a gun on an air marshal, you get the sense that his brain is working in double-time to figure out what will happen next. This is Everyman territory and Ritter seems ideal for the part. Sean is always seemingly one step behind.

So he's not a prick like Jack Shephard?

No. You can tell that immediately because Sean isn't being played by Matthew Fox.

OK, who else is there?

There's also the President of the United States, Elias Martinez (Blair Underwood), and his shady adviser (shady Damages Emmy winner Željko Ivanek). The president is on the verge of closing a detainee facility in Alaska, which houses 97 "prisoners." They're "led" by Laura Innes' Sophia Maguire.

From ER? She's a bad guy.

Possibly. She's certainly not on the level and based on the nothingness that we find out about her in the pilot, I'm guessing she's an alien of some kind. Think: V.


Yes. Maybe. Err, I don't know.

Well, if Sophia is so bad, why does the President want to let her out?

Shades of Guantanamo; President Martinez finds out about this "need to know" facility and demands that he "knows." He decides to close it and free the prisoner. The plane hijacking takes place on the day of the president's press conference to announce his top-secret decision to the world. Sophia is presumably there to show everything is kosher between earthlings and their alien overlords.

Are you serious?

Only half.

This sounds confusing.

It is. The jumpy nature of the pilot doesn't particularly help in that regard either. In the first five minutes we jump from 2:00 p.m. to "23 minutes earlier" to "11 days earlier." Routinely time jumps back and forth between minutes and months. It's a way to develop the plot and introduce everyone -- we learn what led our protagonists to the plane hijacking -- but it doesn't allow for much flow.

Will future episodes be handled in the same way?

Hopefully not. Lost worked because the flashbacks were miniature Raymond Carver stories used to flesh out characters, not plot. There's a big difference.

What is the event?

I don't know.

You're the worst. How about this: Is The Event like Lost?

Not really. If anything, it feels more like FlashForward.

Uh-oh. FlashForward sucked.

It sure did. Let me explain: Lost was sequestered on the island and dealt with increasingly bizarre occurrences; FlashForward was a global conspiracy. In that regard, so is The Event. People say things like, "We've lost all radar capability. Our entire system is down!"

Do you think The Event will work as a series?

If it's as slickly done as the pilot, potentially. Putting aside the "mystery" and what everything "means" and The Event is still quite entertaining and extremely fast-paced. If the ultimate goal of The Event is to be a non-stop thrill ride, it should do very well.

And if the ultimate goal is something more?

That could be a problem. With the exception of Sean, every character is basically cardboard. The Event borrows heavily from the 24 school of character development; tired cliches are the coin of this realm.

Well, that sounds like fun. Should I DVR The Event?

Yes. As long as it doesn't get lost in the weeds, it should be a good watch. Just don't expect anything resembling character drama.

So... what is the event?

I hate you.


  • The Winchester says:

    "There’s also the President of the United States, Elias Martinez (Blair Underwood)"
    Did NBC really up the ante by giving us our first Afro-spanic president?

  • Andrew says:

    I'm pretty sure I've already figured out what The Event is...
    The backwards E in the title suggest to me a parallel or mirror dimension and so The Event would some gateway opened to this other dimension, probably with catastrophic results.
    But while that's conjecture, I am positive that I'm already sick of this series. There hasn't been a more annoying omnipresent ad campaign since "Save the Cheerleader, Save the...ZZZzzzZZZ"

  • Christopher Rosen says:

    Actually they allude to him being from Cuba. Gasp!

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