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TV Preview: The Event

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Watching the pilot episode of The Event is like being hurled into a cyclone and wondering where the heck you’re going to land. So much is thrown at you from the outset that if your attention wanders, you’re going find yourself hopelessly lost. But you probably won’t let that happen, since you’ll want to stick with this one. It is an engrossing mix of conspiracy thriller and Lost-like weirdness, rife with mysterious characters who will take some time to get to know.

This is one wild ride. But despite the frenzy of activity, only a few cryptic hints are offered as to what is really going on.

Executive producers Steve Stark (Medium) and Nick Wauters (Neurotica) describe the plot as “a giant puzzle” and a story of the “greatest cover up in U.S. history, with political, social and moral implications.” Fear of the unknown is also explored and how “when people fear things they may react inappropriately”. The shattering twist at the end of the pilot, they say, defines where the rest of the season is going to go.

This ambitious undertaking stars Jason Ritter as Sean Walker, a young man who embarks on an idyllic ocean cruise with his girlfriend and loses her under mysterious circumstances. Not so interesting, you say? You’ve seen this sort of thing before? Not … really. There is more to the plot than this. Much more.

This story is far from linear. The plot is handed out in pieces, a story told from various points of view and different points in time. And as confusing as it may sound, it works. By the end of the pilot, I wanted to know more about this oddly compelling show, and set the DVR (which denotes a solid commitment in my world) to record the series.

Besides Ritter, there are standout performances from proven actors such as Blair Underwood, who plays a commanding yet sympathetic President Martinez, and Emmy winner Zeliko Ivanek as the quietly sinister CIA head, Blake Sterling.

Getting involved with The Event each week will be another kind of solid commitment. It remains to be seen if the viewing public will find it fascinating enough to stay with. But judging by the top notch acting and intriguing storyline(s), this could be a show, like Lost, 24, or even The X-Files, which will capture the imagination and keep viewers counting the days until the next episode airs.

The Event airs Mondays at 9PM ET on NBC.

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