Typing Faster

July 2, 2009

Thoughts on the Flash Forward pilot script

Filed under: Craft, Pilot School — petertypingfaster @ 3:24 pm

Flash Forward is a new drama from David S. Goyer that will premiere this fall on ABC.

It looks pretty damn cool, and if you don’t believe me, take a look for yourself.

This is a great example of a high concept pilot. You’ve got an easily understood premise. Everyone blacked out and saw two minutes of their future. Now they have to stop it / make it sure it happens.

Let’s face it. It’s a great pitch.

Now I’m usually a huge fan of genre television, so a show like this is like catnip. I love the idea behind this show. This show is all about fate and the malleability of the future. The basic question that all of these characters wrestle with is, now that I know the future can I change it?

That’s going to be an interesting ride.

What makes it even more interesting is the approach that the writers have taken. Goyer, Brannon Bragga and Robert J. Sawyer (a Canadian by the way), have decided to take the hard road.

In a typical film or series dealing with the people who can see the future, the series often winds up spending an inordinate amount of time focusing on the MacGuffin. Just take a look at season one of Heroes in which much of the characters thoughts and actions were consumed with trying to figure out and stop the explosion in New York. The Flash Forward pilot seems to be taking a different approach in that while its characters are trying to figure out why they blacked out, the focus really is on the personal stakes of the characters.

In other words they’re focusing on their characters rather than the MacGuffin.

This works really well for a couple of reasons, the biggest being that it makes the stakes human. The show becomes less about what caused the planet to black out, and more about people trying to reconcile their present with the future they saw.

Take the trailer. In it we have a wife trying to come to terms with the fact that she saw herself cheating on her husband. We have a single woman dealing with visions of her happily pregnant. An alcoholic who is sober in the present sees himself drinking in the future.

Seeing characters trying to come to terms with changes like this in their lives makes them real. They’re not a bunch of cardboard cutout superheroes trying to stop an external event from taking place. They’re you and me, friends and lovers, fathers and children, all trying to figure navigate their way into a (not so)unknown future.

Seeing these characters in these intimate, personal situations humanizes them. It grounds the show, and will (hopefully) allow the audience to relate to it.

In case you hadn’t figured it out yet, I really liked the pilot script.

It wasn’t all sunshine and roses though. I did think that the script dragged a bit in the middle. It started telling rather than showing. Lots of people standing around talking about what just happened, and what it might all mean, rather than showing us in interesting and dynamic ways. This is quite unfortunate because there is plenty of action up front, and a lot of that energy is lost by the midpoint.

Thankfully the characters are strong and detailed enough that they should be able to sustain an audience’s interest and pull them through.

You can download the script from my Box.net Account to the right if you want to read



  1. Great post, but I couldn‘t find the download for flash forward. could you please help me?
    Thanks a lot;0)

    Comment by anne scherliess — July 26, 2012 @ 11:49 am

  2. Found it here: http://ebookbrowse.com/script-flash-forward-1×01-no-more-good-days-pdf-d249663953

    Comment by Mike Stevens — September 26, 2012 @ 2:20 pm

  3. In fact no matter if someone doesn’t be aware of then its up to other people that they
    will assist, so here it happens.

    Comment by top indie rock songs — November 8, 2013 @ 2:11 pm

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