By Steve Hammons
May 13, 2009
A new TV series at ABC will explore human consciousness, weird physics and the mysteries of time.
“Flash Forward” is based on a 1999 novel by respected Canadian science fiction writer Robert J. Sawyer.
Sawyer’s novel and the TV series seem to explore fascinating topics that are actually being investigated by serious scientists and researchers.
The series begins on a seemingly average day when every human in the world has a blackout of some kind mixed with altered consciousness for two minutes and 17 seconds.
As a result, there is widespread loss of life, injury and damage.
In addition, during this strange event everyone seems to have had individual visions of their lives on a specific day several months into the future.
It turns out that some physicists were conducting experiments that warped time and human consciousness.
An FBI agent, played by Joseph Fiennes, is one of the people we see having the blackout-premonition flash. Later, he and other FBI agents investigate the phenomena.
Is it just a far-fetched sci-fi plot or is there a basis in current knowledge about a scenario like this?
Extrasensory perception (ESP), anomalous cognition, remote viewing and other phenomena associated with human perception and awareness have been investigated by credible scientists and found to be something other than science fiction.
The physics of time also seems to be a topic that is much more mysterious and uncertain than we generally believe.
When we combine some of the current investigations into unusual human consciousness and research about the nature of time, it becomes evident that “Flash Forward” is not so far-fetched after all.
Elements of U.S. intelligence community and military conducted decades of research and operational activities in Project STARGATE using unusual human consciousness approaches.
In these activities, certain personnel were able to use a specific technique called remote viewing to perceive people, places and things at a distance using only their consciousness.
These kinds of perceptions reportedly were not limited to the here and now, but could reach out into the past and future.
Another aspect of “Flash Forward” that has a basis in theories from psychology and physics is the idea that a common field or common consciousness, at some level, connects us all.
There seems to be very rich material for this new series, based on real developments in scientific discovery.
In addition, there appears to be widespread recognition among the public, both nationally and internationally, that things like premonitions, the human sixth sense, anomalous cognition and ESP are actually real phenomena, although we don’t quite understand them completely.
This would seem to help provide a solid audience for “Flash Forward,” if the writers and actors can convey these concepts in ways that take viewers into a real investigation, like the one FBI agent Fiennes and his fellow actors portray.
When the first episode airs this fall, viewers will have a chance to explore and ponder these kinds of unusual aspects of human consciousness, time and the nature of reality.
In published reports, ABC’s Suzanne Patmore-Gibbs, executive vice-president of drama development, described the pilot episode this way: “Our FBI agent, played by Joseph Fiennes, appears to be in an FBI chase. You think he has a car crash. He has a flash of all sorts of things and he wakes up on the freeway and subsequently discovers that everybody else in the world has had a blackout that lasted the same amount of time. This resulted in a lot of devastation across the world.”
“Everybody talks about their flash and they realize they were all dreaming of the same day – which is a day in the future. You can identify with the different people and have that sense of global import – we’re all in it together …”
Yep, we probably are in it together. But what are we in? What is the true nature of human consciousness, time and the realities around us and within us? These remain evolving and emerging mysteries.
Other “Flash Forward” cast members include Sonya Walger, John Cho, Jack Davenport, Brian O’Byrne, Courtney B. Vance, Christine Woods, Zachary Knighton and Peyton List.
The show’s executive producers and writers are David Goyer and Brannon Braga.
ABC Studios has ordered 13 episodes. The series was developed at HBO, but after vigorous bidding with a competitor, ABC obtained the show.