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TV Series Review

In the high-pressure, über-derivative world of network television, sometimes it's not good enough to copy just one idea: You have to find synergy behind lots of cultural touchstones to make a pilot fly these days. "It's got William Shatner and Twitter!" "It's  The Incredibles meets Blossom!"

NBC, no doubt envying the success other networks have had with 24Lost and (looking a bit further back) The X-Files, apparently decided to squash all three of 'em together and put the resulting mush on the fall schedule. They call it The Event.

Aliens? Check. Government conspiracies? Check. Mysterious plane flights and confusing leaps through narrative time? Check and check. All we're really missing here is Jack Bauer himself and the Smoke Monster—oh, and maybe a cameo from the Cigarette-Smoking Man, just for kicks.

That's not to say The Event is all "mush," exactly. We don't know that yet. In fact, a handful of episodes in, we don't know much of anything. We do know that the United States has been keeping nearly 100 human-looking aliens under lock and key for the last 60 or so years. We also know that President Elias Martinez has decided the time has come to set them free. And we know that just before their release, some other aliens (who apparently escaped the original roundup) decided to assassinate (or pretended they wanted to assassinate) the one guy trying to help them.


Oh, there's also a young computer hacker named Sean who's trying to rescue his girlfriend, Leila, from nefarious assassins who may or may not be aliens and who may or may not be working for the government.

The show is watchable—as far as it goes. But it lacks the must-see quality its producers were so obviously aiming for. The Event's makers are trying so hard to recapture the magic of a Lost or an X-Files that they forgot those shows' success was predicated not only on surreal plotlines and gasp-inducing twists, but on originality, character development and crisp writing.

Those are the kinds of things that can't just be traded out for sexual images and allusions (women wear low-cut tops; two lovebirds kiss and vacation together) violence (Shootouts! Explosions! Hostage situations!) and foul language. The Event's content is no more extreme than what you'd expect to find on many other prime-time shows these days. And, compared to 24 and some episodes of Lost, it's arguably tamer thus far. But it's still very much there.

All of which make the show something of a nonstarter. Or a nonevent.


Positive Elements

Spiritual Content

Sexual Content

Violent Content

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Episode Reviews

Event: 10112010



Readability Age Range



Jason Ritter as Sean Walker; Sarah Roemer as Leila Buchanan; Laura Innes as Sophia Maguire; Taylor Cole as Vicky Roberts; Bill Smitrovich as Vice President Raymond Jarvis; Zeljko Ivanek as Blake Sterling; Blair Underwood as President Elias Martinez






Record Label




On Video

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Paul Asay

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