blair-underwood-the-event_web.jpgSpecial to South Florida Times

When J.J. Abrams came up with an idea for a television show with multiple castaways, he seemed like a man gone nuts.  Most industry insiders laughed at his audacity to turn an obvious film (Castaway) into a television show. 

That bold little show, Lost, became one of the most buzzed about and watched shows in history; actually it was a phenomenon.  Now that Lost has decided to end its television reign, all of the top television and cable networks are scrambling to find their own piece of the pie.

It started a few years back when ABC tried and failed with the Taye Diggs starred Daybreak, and then Flash Forward, which had a great start, but suffered from the writer’s strike and could not find its footing.

Enter NBC. Still reeling from its failed Jay Leno at 10pm idea, the Peacock Network has decided to bounce back with good, scripted shows.  One of those shows being The Event, NBC’s apparent answer to Lost.

The Event is about Sean Walker (played by Josh Ritter) and his quest to find his girlfriend, Leila (Sarah Roemer).  The pair go on a cruise and end up in St. Lucia, where they meet a mysterious, seemingly fun-loving couple. But, Sean soon finds himself in a bad situation, with Leila missing and the cruise ship having no recollection of Sean or Leila ever being on it.

The other plot of the pilot is the question of who are the mysterious 97 detainees who are being held in a camp in Mount Inostranka, Alaska.  These unidentified people are led by Sophia (Laura Innes) and the only outside person who seems to know anything about them is Blake Sterling (Zeljko Ivanek), director of National Intelligence.

I only watched the first half of the first episode of Lost and was uninterested.  So, I don’t know much about the Dharma Initiative, but I do know this: The Event intrigues me more than that show of castaways. Now, it’s a little early to judge whether or not The Event has bite. I’d have to see the next few episodes to give a fair judgment.

The pilot is loaded with all kinds of mysterious imagery, leaving this critic with a few questions.  What’s with the couple that Sean and Leila meet while in St. Lucia?  “Espionage” is written all over this pair.  On sight, they seem untrustworthy; especially with that bogus girlfriend-about-to-drown scenario.

Is Michael Buchanan really the enemy?  He looked scared to me. Furthermore, is Sophia human?  She has “weird” written all over her.

Why is President Elias Martinez (Blair Underwood) from Cuba, yet has an American accent?

Lastly, this seems like a government experiment gone wrong.  So, which government official is in on this?  My money is on Blake Sterling. He’s in charge of the detainees, who happen to control giant vortexes in the sky.  Not to mention, Blake is way too frightened about President Martinez releasing the detainees.

The Event has promise, however, if this turns into a castaway drama, NBC has lost this audience member.  Either way, television viewers who love a good mystery and plot twists-a-plenty will enjoy the pilot episode of The Event.

Kimberly Grant may be reached at

• The Event premieres on Monday, Sept. 20, on NBC at 9 pm EST.  Check local listings for details.