Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Predicting the future

They say imitation in the sincerest form of flattery. Still, I can't imagine that the producers of US sci-fi mystery show FlashForward will be feeling too proud of the fact that British teen soap Hollyoaks is planning a 'flash forward' of its own. Hollyoaks is, after all, a show that makes Emmerdale look like The Wire.

In fact, the only glimmer of hope from all this, is that the tribute may restimulate the audience's rapidly fading interest in the one-time smash hit series. When FlashForward first aired, its hot cast of familiar faces and write-it-on-a-post-it high concept plotline saw audiences flocking to the show. With fan favourite Lost just one series away from ending, viewers were crying out for a new mysterious sci-fi epic to help them through the Sawyer and Sayid-free years ahead.

But initial excitement soon faded, as the intriguing premise was overpowered by awful dialogue, dodgy special effects, and the erratic pace of a cardiology monitor. By the time we were introduced to the least convincing lesbian since Lindsay Lohan, audiences had already lost the will to tune in.

But that hasn't stopped the producers of Hollyoaks declaring their intention to steal FlashForward's central premise, and apply it to the Chester massive. By taking a look at its characters' lives six months down the road, Hollyoaks claims it will be making "UK soap history when when it becomes the first serial drama to break the time continuum."

Perhaps the show's makers have forgotten how often the genre has seen characters pop up to their bedroom or visit relatives in Canada, only to return a decade older, with a completely different face. Soap opera characters tamper with the space time continuum more often than Doc Brown.

The justification for this flight of fictional fantasy is the fact that, according to series producer Lucy Allan, "Hollyoaks is the only soap that can tamper with time and give our audience the opportunity to look at events that haven't yet taken place." She has a point, since most of Hollyoaks primary audience consists of hungover twentysomethings who only watch it because it enables them to focus long enough for the room to stop spinning. That and the fact that its cast are marginally more appealing to look at than what's lying in the U-bend. They wouldn't notice if the show's characters were suddenly replaced with crude cartoons scribbled onto an ironing board.

Ultimately, if they want to give viewers an insight into what's happening six months down the road, I can save them the time and effort. One character will be on Dancing On Ice, one will be on Celebrity Big Brother, one will be preparing to go into the jungle, one will be training for Strictly Come Dancing, and the rest will be trying to drunkenly hail a cab outside Mahiki.

No comments:

Post a Comment