It’s a good thing Jason Ritter is front and center on The Event, because he’s just about the only element in this new series that wasn’t trying to avoid actually doing something. For a big-blast next step in serialized storytelling, The Event was alternately coy and timid, strenuously avoiding tipping its hand.
Ritter, who’s been so good in recent years, such as his work in Parenthood, has a gift for playing earnest men who aren’t merely neurotic dweebs. In The Event, he’s Sean Walker, a seemingly ordinary guy who just wants to propose to his girlfriend, Leila (Sarah Roehmer). But she disappeared. And when Sean searched for her, he found there was no record of her having been aboard their romantic cruise trip.
The other side of Sean was a bit more manic: He disrupted an airline flight; he has a gun. In the cockpit was Scott Patterson, playing a pilot who also happens to be Leila’s dad.
Jumping around in time and location, we saw an Alaskan version of a detention camp holding 97 prisoners, one of whose overseers was Laura Innes’ Sophia. (Since it was said of the detainees that they “may not be Americans,” I’m guessing The Event doesn’t have the stomach to make them foreign political prisoners and all the thorny real-world issues that require tackling, but will take an easier route: Aliens, you think?) The latest TV-President of the United States, Blair Underwood’s Elias Martinez, was looking into this Alaska set-up, making it clear he stands for justice and fairness, even though he has Zeljko Ivanek as one of his advisors, and any time you see Ivanek on TV (and I always welcome that sight), you can be pretty sure he’s either up to no good or covering something up.
Unfortunately for The Event‘s premiere, pretty much everything was covered up, including narrative sense. The show’s time-line was scrambled not so much as a metaphor for the confusion “the event” can/will cause, but simply to keep you in front of the screen, trying to revitalize your Lost big-picture-puzzle mind-muscles.
By the time Pres. Martinez and his family were cowering in a Presidential SUV to protect themselves from a big crash, The Event had become a bit of an irritating tease. Yes, I’ll tune in next week to see if there’s more revealed. But The Event had better give us more characters than just Ritter’s Sean to care about if it wants to build a following, don’t you think? The show’s producers have promised to let loose with a lot more info early on in the series’ run. There’s a good interview by AOL TV critic Maureen Ryan with Event creator Nick Waulters here that is encouraging, and if you want to start tracking more Event info, the show has a Twitter account, @truthseeker5314 (the number refers to Sean and Leila’s cabin room), that you may want to start following.
Are you hooked enough to keep watching The Event?