While it’s no surprise that NBC’s “The Event” is waiting to reveal what its title’s all about, the series premiere was shockingly devoid of any events whatsoever.

“The Event”

Mondays at 9 p.m.
NBC

In the pilot, we jump haphazardly between three timeframes. The leaps are abrupt and happen all too often, barring the story from feeling cohesive. But all things in all times seem to center around Sean Walker (Jason Ritter, “The Class”). Any attempt to say who Walker is would be futile at this stage, and that’s exactly what the show wants. He seems like a normal dude who loves his girlfriend, but he has ties to a group of prisoners held on a mountaintop, hijacks a plane and exhibits superhuman power including, but not restricted to, creating wormholes in space-time. Yeah, this is gonna be one of those shows.

“The Event” is all about mystery, but the show doesn’t know how to build any. From the countless commercials, it was actually easily predictable that “the event” would be aliens altering the space-time continuum. Well, that seems to have happened — but instead of the centric event, it was just the pilot episode’s cliffhanger.

At this year’s San Diego Comic-Con, the creators took several jabs at “Lost” for not answering questions, assuring future fans that “The Event” would be more satisfying on that front. Apparently what the producers were trying to say is that all the mysteries will have predictable answers and/or nobody will care what the answers are anyway. The only substantial question so far is “Who are these prisoners?” But with the dramatic hesitation of President Elias Martinez (Blair Underwood, “Dirty Sexy Money”) to describe them as “people,” along with allusions to the old staple, “Take me to your leader,” aliens are emerging as the obvious answer.

Aliens would be a bit of a letdown though, wouldn’t it? We’ve seen aliens before. Well, maybe they’re regular people who were exposed to the event and derived powers from it. Well that would just make this another season of “Heroes.” And that’s the series’ big problem. At this point, there does not exist an answer for any of the show’s “big questions” that would prove at all satisfying.

Maybe that wouldn’t be the case, though, if there were more questions posed. The pilot wasted an incredible amount of time on Walker and his girlfriend’s cruise vacation. It engulfed a third of the episode, and only hinted at relevance near the storyline’s end. Even the scenes central to the mountain facility lacked an air of mystery. It was only the final scene that begged for fan theorizing. But a strong cliffhanger does not a fulfilling episode make (especially when that cliffhanger uses CGI straight out of a Syfy original movie).

For all its failures, “The Event” could be addictive, just not in the way its creators hoped. The big mystery people will tune in for isn’t going to be “Who are these prisoners and why are they locked up?” or “Why is Sean Walker so important?” Instead, the question on viewers’ minds will be “Are these really the best mysteries they could come up with?”

Oh, and to anyone else out there thinking of making a similar sci-fi series: If your goal is to distance yourself from “Lost,” vanishing a plane into a flash of light isn’t the best way to start. Just sayin’.

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