I saw the pilot. I felt worried as soon as I noticed that the show is produced by David S Goyer (who isn't very good) and Brannon Braga (who kinda killed STAR TREK).
The episode is desperately trying to be HEROES. It has the exact same set up - weird global changing event and a vision of the season finale that the show will now build towards in a clockwork fashion, whilst showcasing the lives of disparate ordinary people all affected by said event.
Yes there are some cool things inherent about the concept of FLASHFOWARD, but it will always be put on 'hold' to do stories about boring people doing boring things. For example, we already know, from the pilot, that a lot of this show will be devoted to a marital affair between two of the main characters, another character looking for his daughter, an alcoholic succumbing to his addiction, a man dealing with a terminal illness (i.e. "In six months I'm dead... I think"), and no doubt, more to come (like the suicide guy and the babysitter). So how much, do you think, each episode will deal with the whole point of the show, that is, WHAT WAS THE EVENT? Who, why, what, when, where, how, and yadda-yadda. Answer: Not much. In the pilot, we got, maybe 10 minutes of people discovering stuff and at the end we find out that there's someone who didn't black out. Because the show feels it must have soap operatics because the actual thrust of the show is paper-thin.
This was my big beef with HEROES at the beginning, and it took 9 episodes for it to get out of that funk, before it replaced it with a whole other slew of problems. But the probelm with the first 8 episodes of HEROES was that it spend all that time introducing characters and sub-plots that you DON'T CARE ABOUT. It got a free pass as it was "the first season", but didn't when it tried the same trick at the beginning of season 2. And if you think the free pass is a fair thing, you're demonstrably wrong.
Watch DRIVE. This show aired four episodes. It had an ensemble cast. In four episodes the plot not only introduced the main characters and their desires, but actually progressed the whole thing a great deal. Watch THE WIRE or THE SOPRANOS or, dare I say it, ROME, which have each episode matter both singularly and holistically.
FLASHFORWARD's pilot is a promise of a good show "later", once all the pieces are set up. But I doubt any of it will be worth the wait.
I dunno if I can be bothered to watch the second episode. Like FRINGE, LOST, HEROES, and BATTLESTAR GALACTICA, I'm sure FLASHFORWARD act like it has a long-running arc, but will actually just put in token cliffhangers each week while forcing us to watch dull, cliche soap operatics involving mundane cardboard characters we've seen a thousand times before.
Sure, it sounds like I'm being harsh, but here's the thing:
This is the pilot of a BRAND NEW SHOW. And no one who's seen it thinks its original. Everyone thinks it might be like "LOST" or "HEROES" but not as bad.
Well, yes it will be just as bad. Because the pilot didn't fix anything in their pilots. Why would the rest of the show be any different?
Am I condemning it unfairly? I don't think so. The pilot's a bland cliche. The only interesting part was the guy who didn't black out. How much you want to bet they won't even meet that guy for a month? In the mean time, we'll see the main characters tell their kids not to worry about the future and people endlessly talk about free will. *shudder*