Falling planes, creepy clairvoyant children, rips in the space-time continuum — no, FlashForward isn’t a new J.J. Abrams epic, but Lost is obviously the formula. The series premiere (which re-airs tonight at 8) opens with the aftermath of a catastrophe, and in short order introduces an ensemble cast with a handsome natural leader (he’s got a maverick streak), implausible plot points waved off with a sci-fi writer’s aplomb, random zoo animals wandering loose in L.A., and some tap dancing around philosophical questions about fate and the concept of time. Good times, really. In the two minute, seventeen second worldwide blackout in which everything goes to shit and the characters glimpse their not-so-distant futures, what did our central characters see, and how freaked are they about their fates? We took notes!
Mark Benford, FBI agent and father (Joseph Fiennes)
The Flash: He’s in his office at night going over cards and photos on a cork board. We see the words “Mosaic” and “Baltimore,” a page ripped from a desk calendar with the date April 29, 2010 (let’s hope the show stays on the air til then), and men in masks approaching with laser-sighted rifles. Also, Mark’s swigging from a flask, because clearly by April this recovering alcoholic is going to need a drink.
For Now: He has a wife who fake-hates him (see: Olivia Benford), a little girl, a big house in a cul de sac, and even though something wholly unprecedented and incomprehensible has struck the world, he knows someone is behind it and he may be the only man on earth who can figure it out. Also, he’s looks a lot like Richard Alpert on Lost.
Freak Level: High. He doesn’t want to end up alone, drunk, and stalked by men who want to kill him.
Olivia Benford, E.R. doctor and mother (Sonya Walger, i.e., Penny from Lost)
The Flash: She’s at home in her nightie, and looks down into the living room to beckon a man who isn’t her husband up to bed.
For Now: Our second British lead playing American, Olivia works as hard her husband. She also likes playful notes and texts like, “You’re a crappy husband” and “Hope I never see you again.” (LOL, right?) Also, she’ll leave Mark if he starts drinking again.
Freak Level: Medium-high While she gets weepy about the prospect of leaving her husband, she also seems a little intrigued by this handsome stranger, who isn’t out to kill her, at least … or is he?
Demetri Noh, FBI agent (John Cho)
The Flash: He saw nothing. Just blacked out.
For Now: He’s getting married soon, and has a thing for karaoke. While he wishes his future wife weren’t set on “Islands in the Stream” as the first dance at their wedding, he’s not even sure he’ll live to see the wedding.
Freak Level: High. This whole fate thing seems to dictate that he’s dead.
Aaron Stark, power company technician (Brian F. O’Byrne)
The Flash: His daughter, whose remains he buried after she was blown up in Afghanistan, is wounded but alive, and he’s at her bedside.
For Now: He’s Mark’s sponsor in AA, and has some coaching to do. Significantly, the flash-forward leaves him dangling from a telephone pole next to live wires.
Freak Level: Medium. His whole world is turned upside down (see: his dangling from a telephone pole above), but suddenly he has hope of seeing his daughter again.
Nicole Kirby, babysitter and student (Peyton List)
The Flash: We’re not sure what she sees, but they show her crying when she figures out it’s the future.
For Now: She’s got a hot boyfriend whom she’s guilty about having sex with while little Charlie Benford is napping upstairs — she mentions something later to Mark about the flash-forward being God’s punishment. So, the whole planet has to go to hell just ’cause she’s a slut?
Freak Level: High. We guess.
Bryce Varley, surgical intern (Zachary Knighton)
The Flash: Not sure what he sees, only that he’s not dead.
For Now: He opens the show ready to shoot himself on the Venice Pier, leaving his wallet on the railing for identification. He’d already missed a day at the hospital and Olivia was concerned. After the flash, he goes straight to work doctoring.
Freak Level: Low. He’s found, as they say, a new lease on life.
Janis Hawk, FBI Agent
The Flash: She’s getting an prenatal sonogram.
For Now: She’s not pregnant and doesn’t “even have a boyfriend.” Spoiler Alert: She’s gay. ABC gave it away with the episode preview (they show her kiss another woman) and with her character bio on the official site: “A bit of a tomboy.”
Freak Level: Medium-low Where’s this magic baby coming from, and how is it so soon?
Stanford Wedeck, FBI Field Office Chief for L.A. (Courtney B. Vance)
The Flash: Sitting on the can reading the “Sports” section of the New York Post.
For Now: He’s got a world to save and many lines to deliver with force and certainty.
Freak Level: Low. He’s the most broken up about the vice-president’s plane going down, but beyond that, he just has to delegate the saving of the world.
The Long View
Who’s that man (woman?) in black, stalking around the Detroit Tigers game while everyone’s flashing forward? We’re not sure, but we bet he’s curious about where he’ll be in six months.