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"FlashForward" The Complete Series DVD Review - Page 2 of 2

Buy FlashForward: The Complete Series on DVD from Amazon.com FlashForward: The Complete Series (2009-10)
Show & DVD Details

Creators: David S. Goyer, Brannon Braga / Writers: David S. Goyer, Lisa Zwerling, Seth Hoffman, Marc Guggenheim, Quinton Peeples, Scott M. Gimple, Barbara Nance, Dawn Prestwich, Nicole Yorkin, Brannon Braga, Ian Goldberg, Byron J. Balasco, Timothy J. Lea, Debbie Ezer, Robert J. Sawyer (also novel) / Directors: John Polson, Bobby Roth, Nick Gomez, Constantine Makris, David S. Goyer, Michael Rymer, Michael Nankin, Leslie Libman

Starring Cast: Joseph Fiennes (Mark Benford), John Cho (Demetri Noh), Jack Davenport (Lloyd Simcoe), Zachary Knighton (Dr. Bryce Varley), Peyton List (Nicole Kirby), Dominic Monaghan (Simon Campos), Brνan F. O'Byrne (Aaron Stark), Courtney B. Vance (Stanford Wedeck), Sonya Walger (Dr. Olivia Benford), Christine Woods (Janis Hawk)

Recurring Characters: Gabrielle Union (Zoey Andata), Michael Ealy (Marshall Vogel), Barry Shabaka Henley (Agent Shelly Vreede), Lennon Wynn (Charlie Benford), Ryan Wynott (Dylan Simcoe), Lee Thompson Young (Al Gough), Yuko Takeuchi (Keiko Arahida), Michael Massee (Dyson Frost/Deacon Gibbons), James Callis (Gabriel McDow), Amy Rosoff (Marcie Turoff), Genevieve Cortese (Tracy Stark), Rachel Roberts (Alda Hertzog), Neil Jackson (Lucas Hellinger), Annabeth Gish (Lita), Callum Keith Rennie (Jeff Slingerland/Dr. Maurice Raynaud), Gil Bellows (Timothy), Ricky Jay (Ted Flosso), Lee Garlington (Carline), Alex Kingston (Fiona Banks), Dominic Rains (Kahmir DeJean), Peter Coyote (President Dave Segovia), Shohreh Aghdashloo (Nhadra Udaya), Mark Famiglietti (Mike Willingham), Vinicius Machado (Emil Gutierrez), Lena Georgas (Celia Quinones), Hira Ambrosino (Yuuka Arahida), Hannah Marks (Annabelle Campos), Barbara Williams (Vice President Joyce Clemente), Lindsay Crouse (Mrs. Kirby), Gina Torres (Felicia Wedeck), Seth MacFarlane (Agent Jake Curdy - uncredited), Carlease Burke (Francine), Elizabeth Sung (Saayo Noh)

Notable Guest Stars: Lynn Whitfield (Anastasia Markham), Marina Black (Sheriff Keegan), Alan Ruck (Alcoholic), Kim Dickens (Kate Stark), Thomas Kretschmann (Stefan Krieger), Curt Lowens (Rudolf Geyer), Jeff Richards (Jerome Murphy), Keir O'Donnell (Ned Ned), Talia Balsam (Anita Ralston), Navi Rawat (Maya), Ashley Jones (Camille), Elizabeth Rodriguez (Ingrid Alvarez), Paula Newsome (Dr. Callie Langer), Claire Jacobs (Lorraine Campos), James Cosmo (Phillip), James Remar (James Ermine), Tim "Timbaland" Mosley (Evidence Agent), Owiso Odera (Abdi Khalif), Chris Coy (Ross Weber), Geoffrey Owens (Dr. Julian Ebbing), Ravi Kapoor (Malik), Ron Orbach (Professor Corey), Jake Johnson (Powell)

Running Time: 938 Minutes (22 episodes) / Rating: TV-14-DLSV
1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen / Dolby Digital 5.1 (English)
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French; Closed Captioned; Extras Subtitled & Captioned
DVD Release Date: August 31, 2010 / Suggested Retail Price: $59.99
Five single-sided, dual-layered discs (DVD-9s); Clear Keepcase in Cardboard Slipcover
Season 1 Airdates: September 24, 2009 - May 27, 2010

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Demetri (John Cho) seems destined to meet his foretold death at the hands of the crazy, elusive D. Gibbons. "FlashForward" takes another step to the absurd with the introduction of horn-rimmed, pickle-hating, tomato-liking Gabriel McDow (James Callis), a savant who's short on social skills but chock-full of useful information.

Disc 4

15. Queen Sacrifice (43:03) (Originally aired April 8, 2010)
Everyone is a suspect as Mark and Vogel try to weed the department of its leaky mole. Keiko begins working at a gangbangers' garage.

16. Let No Man Put Asunder (40:48) (Originally aired April 15, 2010)
With his supposed death date approaching, Demetri tries to face his fears. Wedeck sends Aaron to Afghanistan on a mission to rescue his daughter and incriminate Jericho.

17. The Garden of Forking Paths (41:21) (Originally aired April 22, 2010)
When the mysterious "D. Gibbons" kidnaps Demetri and makes his foretold death seem inescapable, Mark alone leads the roundabout rescue efforts. Zoey gets a hearing for a prisoner with knowledge she thinks can help her fiancι.

18. Goodbye Yellow Brick Road (42:44) (Originally aired April 29, 2010)
Janis' allegiances are clarified while her pregnancy takes shape. Olivia gets acquainted with Gabriel (James Callis), the photobomb savant introduced at the previous episode's end. In Afghanistan, Aaron zeroes in on his treacherous destination.

19. Course Correction (41:20) (Originally aired May 6, 2010)
Demetri teams up an MI6 agent (Alex Kingston) to investigate a series of murders of those who didn't see flashforwards. Simon takes extreme measures to rescue his kidnapped sister.

Operation Daughter Retrieval sure keeps Aaron Stark (Brνan F. O'Byrne) busy in the series' wildly discordant Afghanistan storyline. "FlashForward" dashes to the finish line with Mark's slow-motion office to helicopter run.

Disc 5

20. The Negotiation (40:11) (Originally aired May 13, 2010)
Information from Gabriel sheds light on the man the FBI is looking for. Simon keeps on the run.

21. Countdown (42:55) (Originally aired May 20, 2010)
With the foreseen date approaching, a volatile Mark worries if he'll live up to a suspect's cautionary claims. Though suspicious, Demetri and Janis help Simon with his plan.

22. Future Shock (42:52) (Originally aired May 27, 2010)
After so much speculation, the date glimpsed at in the global flashforward arrives, with deadly danger looming for Mark and the possibility of a breakthrough for Lloyd.

Mark (Joseph Fiennes) fights the urge to live up to the drunken part of his flashforward (the one where he was loaded, okay?). Unfortunately for us, alcohol doesn't make the character more compelling. As the season progresses, Zoey (Gabrielle Union) begins to interpret her tropical wedding flashforward differently.

VIDEO and AUDIO

For all of the show's storytelling shortcomings, it looks absolutely terrific in the DVD's 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer. The clean presentation shows off nearly cinema-ready production values (only faked locations and cost-restricted visual effects would stick out on the big screen). Even with close to 4 hours of content on discs far short of DVD-9 capacity, compression surprisingly seems to be a non-issue with the picture remaining clean, sharp, and reasonably detailed. The Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtracks are also more than a technical courtesy. These mixes are very active, with atmosphere and directional effects enhancing the drama dimensionally. Dialogue remains crisp and the closest to an audio drawback may be the strange skips that mark some (but not many) commercial breaks.

BONUS FEATURES

Discs 1 and 2 are identical to the ones provided in the Part One, Season One DVD.
That means Disc 2 again supplies three short, promotional halftime-oriented bonuses.

"Creating Catastrophe: The Effects of a Global Blackout" (7:05) provides a behind-the-scenes look at an ambitious set piece from the pilot. Crew members discuss the many challenging aspects of the sequence, including a shut-down major highway, made-up extras, explosions, and CGI effects.

No longer accurately titled, "'FlashForward': A Look Ahead" gives us 4 minutes and 45 seconds of footage from "Revelation Zero." It plays out closely to how it does in the actual episode, only with a music change, no opening credits text, and some minor editing tweaks. It was a lot more valuable prior to the episode's debut.

"Could" is a soapy 90-second commercial for the show's return. It's narrated by Dominic Monaghan and shows us more no longer upcoming moments.

Creator David S. Goyer gives Zachary Knighton suicide attempt direction in the behind-the-scenes pilot footage of "Architects of Destiny." Pow! On-set vignette "Crash Forward" shows us a climactic automobile crash as it actually occurs.

A single audio commentary is provided on the hiatus return, Disc 3 two-parter "Revelation Zero", by actor Dominic Monaghan and producer Jessika Borsiczky. Both informative and entertaining, their good-humored pre-cancellation discussion meanders but remains interesting, whether in playing with profanity bleeps or addressing aspects like CGI usage and varying flashforward visual styles. That this episode and these two speakers offer the only commentary on this set is more than a little random.
Bonus feature clip from "Architects of Destiny":
Accordingly, though, you appreciate this track more than you would have if the set was loaded with them.

The remaining bonuses appear on the set's fifth and final disc.

"Architects of Destiny" (20:07) offers a nice overview of the entire series, spending a moment on each character, gathering thoughts on fate and free will from cast and crew, and showing us some footage from a Comic-Con panel and key episode production.

Five "'FlashForward' On Set" (18:27) pieces provide behind-the-scenes looks at the technical aspects of certain major sequences. Topics like stunts and make-up are addressed with B-roll footage and casual crew and cast location interviews. Nothing too extraordinary, these must have been created with ABC's website in mind.

The historic meeting of actors Zachary Knighton and Yuko Takeuchi, who play fated lovers Bryce and Keiko, is preserved in the featurette "Meet Yuko." This bubble-wrapped London woman shares her nutty thoughts about the blackout and flashforward in the second of four Mosaic Collective interviews. There's no question about it. This kangaroo hops around L.A. on a leash (to be removed in postproduction).

"Meet Yuko" (5:49) turns the spotlight on Japanese actress Yuko Takeuchi, who authentically portrays the lingually-challenged Keiko. Her experience of working abroad is documented, with her weighing in in her native tongue and translated by English subtitles.

Four "Interviews From the Mosaic Collective" (7:26) provide mock reporter on street interviews with individuals from around the globe. We hear from a struggling Japanese artist, a nutty Londoner, an unhappy Florida couple, and a Los Angeles barista about their flashforwards. Two additional promotional pieces (from Sydney and London) in this vein are available online but not here.

"Kangaroo?" (1:57) speculates on the marsupial spotted freely hopping around L.A. streets multiple times during the series. The short piece shows a bit of how a real kangaroo was employed and assembles comments suggesting there's deeper meaning to the animal's presence.

A flashback to Charlie Benford's July 2002 birth ranks as the DVD's most interesting deleted scene. Actress Christine Woods is hit with the giggles on the blooper reel, while Janis meets with her pet store contact.

Ten deleted scenes (11:25) are offered, most of them stemming from later episodes. As is often the case for TV deletions, these aren't inferior in quality and were most likely cut for timing constraints (which runtime variance suggests weren't too strict).
Each insignificant bit runs from 40 seconds to a minute and a half.

Finally, we get a diverting Blooper Reel (3:10) of forgotten lines, bleeped profanity, and insufficiently parked cars.

EASTER EGGS, MENUS and PACKAGING

This seems like a show that lends itself to Easter eggs and the DVD isn't lacking on this front. From Disc 5's Bonus Features menu, we find nine installments from the dramatic mock public television documentary short series "Stories from the Mosaic" (23:32 overall), offering testimonials from ordinary-ish citizens whose flashforwards have changed their lives. Running 2 to 3 minutes each, these are sort of entertaining. I'm surprised that the repeatedly mentioned and excerpted animated invented children's show "Tim Tim and Squirrelio" is nowhere to be found.

Adam, a blind man who saw himself sighted in the near-future, is one of nine individuals profiled in the Easter egg faux public television series "Stories from the Mosaic." The DVD's understated main menus rely on the flashforward video clips to light up the listings.

Disc 5's "Sneak Peeks" listing plays a lump of promos (Disney has done away with individual access menus) for "Legend of the Seeker": The Complete Second Season, "Scrubs": The Complete Ninth Season, Tron: Legacy, Blu-ray Disc, and ABC. Still playing upon insertion of Disc 1 are now-dated spots advertising Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, "Lost": The Complete Fifth Season, and Everybody's Fine.

The set's final three discs maintain the first two's dark menu schemes, with tiny distorted flashforward video clips reflecting in the three-dimensional listings while sound bites play.

As is gradually becoming the norm, this set is packaged in a standard-sized DVD case. It is topped by the obligatory cardboard slipcover, which is more orange and quite a bit less fancy than Part 1's highly holographic sleeve. An insert promotes Blu-ray (a format this series seems unlikely to ever be released on, despite previous indications). Another booklet offers a coupon for $10 off one of nine ABC DVDs (and one Blu-ray) released this month and last. A wide cast photo adorns the interior of the clear keepcase art, whose lists of episodes and extras nicely go unobscured by the discs.

As foreseen in his flashforward, April 29th  finds Mark Benford (Joseph Fiennes) studying the Mosaic investigation board he's compiled over the past six months.

CLOSING THOUGHTS

Despite an intriguing concept and a few flashes of brilliance, "FlashForward" ended up being a fairly mediocre drama that couldn't satisfactorily pull off much of all that it ambitiously tried to. While it remains moderately engaging throughout its only season, that it never rose any higher is frustrating to an epic degree. The show's abrupt cancellation betrayed its long-term, fandom-friendly design, but made perfect business sense in light of the dwindling viewership.

With excellent picture and sound plus a decent supply of bonus features, the Complete Series DVD earns a recommendation for fans. The uninitiated would probably be better served by a Netflix rental, although it won't be long before a set like this comes down in price to whim/impulse buy range.

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Reviewed September 8, 2010.



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