A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that in this thought-provoking sci-fi drama, everybody on on the planet is inexplicably given a brief glimpse of their future ... and they're not all thrilled with what they see. Since the universal "blackout" causes many disasters, expect to see plenty of intense/violent scenes, ranging from car crashes to gunfights -- though there are few explicitly gory images. Violence also plays a role in the aftermath of the incident, as investigators look for an explanation and stumble across danger. There's also some social drinking, and one character is struggling with alcoholism. Couples are shown fooling around, and though there's no outright nudity, some of the scenes are rather suggestive.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
FBI agent Mark Bedford (Joseph Fiennes) wakes up in the wreckage of a car and slowly realizes that he’s in the middle of a terrible, multi-vehicle crash on the Los Angeles freeway. What happened to him? What happened to everyone else? And what were those strange visions where he saw himself studying mysterious clues to a case? As Bedford soon realizes, he blacked out for exactly 2 minutes and 17 seconds for no obvious reason -- and so did every other person on the planet, during which time, everyone had a brief glimpse of their future. In this intriguing, time-bending series, Bedford must analyze the clues hidden in the revelations of these FLASHFORWARDS as he and others try to piece together every individual snippet of the future to create a big picture of what will happen and why.
Is it any good?
In typical time-travel stories, someone visits the past or future and then returns to the present; in FlashForward, everyone stays in the present but gets a quick look at the future. The thought-provoking, two-pronged puzzle here is why this has happened, and whether these impending events are set in stone. Because not everyone likes what they see. Bedford, a recovering alcoholic, sees himself on a disturbing bender, while his wife Olivia (Sonya Walger) sees their marriage crumbling. And Bedford’s partner, Demetri (John Cho), sees nothing at all -- could that mean he'll soon be dead?
The show plays a bit like the popular yet exceedingly more complex Lost, a series that plays fast and loose with the time-space continuum by stitching together events from individual characters’ past and future. FlashForward stays mostly focused on the present but frequently cuts to the future as different characters recall memories from their own "sneak previews." The result is an entertaining mystery that also asks complex questions about fate and destiny.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about uncertainty and disaster, which are prominent themes in the series. Does any of what happens on the show seem like it could actually take place? Is that unsettling?
How does the show's premise of revealing the future to people in the present impact the inherent drama of time travel stories? Are they worried that they might change the timeline, or are they actively trying to do so?
What would you do if you saw your own future? Do you think your fate is already settled, or does your future change every day as a result of your choices and actions?