'Flashforward': the Next 'Lost' or the Next 'Heroes'?

Now that ABC's new sci-fi drama FlashForward has been given a full-season pickup (a plump 25-episode order rather than the standard 22), it's time to decide whether I plan to be around for the entire season. The premise definitely whetted my appetite: everyone on Earth blacks out for 2 minutes and 17 seconds, during which they get a preview of what's to come for them six months in the future. Will knowing what happens in the future give them a shot at changing it? What if they don't want it changed? There's a lot to plumb, questions about fate and choice that would seem to lend themselves well to a series. But so far, I'm not sure FlashForward is making good on its promise.

From the beginning, the show's producers have been vocal about avoiding comparisons between their show and , and who can blame them? is a cultural phenomenon—why set yourself up to lose the expectations game? But ABC has been promoting as a worthy successor to , and just in time as the tropical mind-bender prepares for its final season next year. And if the goal was to tamp down comparisons, maybe it wasn't such a good idea to cast not one, but two cast members of that show (Sonya Walger and Dominic Monaghan).

But so far, it ain't. The pilot wasn't bad, but it also wasn't great—certainly not of the quality of , which remains one of the best pilots in television history. The premise is the star of the more so than anyone in the ensemble, and three episodes in I haven't become attached to any of the characters yet. I'm mildly interested in Demetri Noh (John Cho) who doesn't have a vision during his blackout, and fears that he is destined to die before then. Aside from him, I don't care enough about any of these people to be emotionally invested in what happens to them six months hence. And so far, all the show's questions of fate and choice have felt more like watching an undergraduate philosophy-class discussion than a compelling genre show.

Unless it shapes up over the course of its run (as shows often do as they find their footing), will not be remember as the successor to, but rather as the successor to , a show that has made a fine art of audience attrition. It seems like a lifetime, but it was only three years ago when was the hot science-fiction thriller du jour. It even managed to garner nods for best drama series at the Emmys and the Golden Globes. Flash-forward to the present, where its ratings are continuing to free-fall in its fourth (and quite possibly final) season, and the people still watching seem to be doing so more out of defiance than anything else. It's this fall from grace that the producers of need to be paying attention to. As and demonstrate, the setup is easy. It's the execution that trips you up.