Almer S. Tigelaar

A Little Bit of Everything

The Event

I recently finished viewing the first season of NBC Television Series “The Event”. I’ll try not to give too much away, but its twenty-two episode run reminded me of 24, although: it does not share the “real-time” format for which that series is famous. The first half season of “The Event” also uses elements found in Lost and there are some moments similar to those found in X-Files and The 4400. Regardless of these comparisons, the question is: can the series stand on its own feet?


Belgian series creator Nick Wauters motivated the start of the series: “It’s about a normal guy, Sean Walker, gradually getting caught in a huge conspiracy”. Sean’s girlfriend Leila is kidnapped on a cruise ship which sets the main plot in motion. We also see the story from the perspective of the President of the United States where an airplane on a collision course vanishes right before hitting the ground. The pilot of the plane is the father of Leila, and also a member of a mysterious group of people of whom the majority are imprisoned at a secret facility. The series revolves around the origins and plans of these people, first encountered over 66 years ago, and their leadership, particularly a woman named Sophia.


The Event veers into a wide number of directions early on and there is a lot of jumping around in time: flashbacks. This makes for a somewhat discontinuous and awkward feel as it is not executed as well as in Lost. Add to this that the acting seems somewhat wooden in the early episodes and we have an explanation for why the shows ratings plummeted very quickly. This is not entirely deserved though, as the characters and acting get more believable as the season progresses and the actors grow in their roles. The story is interesting and entertaining, and explanations for what is happening are never too far away, which prevents disappointment over unanswered questions. Nevertheless, there are a few things that are left unexplained. The format changes with less jumping around in time mid-season. Although this makes the series easier to follow, it sacrifices deepening of the characters. Nevertheless, this seems to be a good choice that fits the more action-packed second half of the series.


I was not too impressed by Laura Innes portrayal of Sophia in the early episodes. There is just something off with her voice. However, there is a lot of improvement towards the end of the season when she faces a number of moral dilemmas. Blair Underwood delivers a strong role as the president of the United States, but I was particularly pleasantly surprised by Zeljko Ivanek‘s memorable role as Director of National Intelligence Blake Sterling.

Where 24 provided us with a seemingly superhuman lead character that could solve everything: Jack Bauer, The Event has the somewhat impulsive and clumsy Sean Walker, portrayed by Jason Ritter. Even though the way in which he gets a sidekick later in the season is one of the weaker parts of the overall plot, his clumsiness works surprisingly well for the series, making the character much more believable and not as one-dimensional as Jack Bauer. Add to this that when viewing The Event you swing back and forth between sympathising with the mysterious group of people and the rest of the planet, and you have an entertaining and thought-provoking ride.


Even though NBC canceled the series after its first season due to poor ratings, there is still a possibility of some type of continuation. This would be justified given the first season’s interesting ending. If you like a combination of action, drama and thriller with a light mystery / sci-fi flavour this is for you.


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