It's the End of the World.

by Meredith O’Brien


Get the feeling that people are a little on edge these days? No, I’m not talking about the epidemic of swine flu, the lousy economy, the fate of the mega-health insurance reform bill, horrific shooting incidents, or whether more U.S. troops will be sent to Afghanistan. It’s that on TV and in the movies these days, danger seems to be lurking everywhere as well as families appear to be in mortal danger, the world in peril.

On the new ABC TV series V people living in and around the world’s major cities have huge alien ships hovering over them, occasionally beaming peace-filled video messages from their human-looking alien leader sporting a pixie cut named Anna. Half the people think that the aliens, who’ve been dubbed “the Visitors,” are a godsend (they have special healing powers apparently) and a source of hope. Other folks think that there are sinister motives lurking beneath the Visitors’ flawless skin and glossy hair.


One of the skeptics who’s smack dab in the middle of all of this and believes that the Visitors are planning to exterminate all the human and have had alien terrorist sleeper cells planted around the globe for years, is a divorced mom FBI agent Erica Evans (played by Elizabeth Mitchell, Juliet from Lost). She wants to spearhead an underground uprising against the Visitors. But, in the meantime, she’s trying to protect her 17-year-old son from her FBI partner (a closeted evil alien) while that rebellious son has secretly become a good will ambassador on behalf of the aliens. Protecting her son and the world from the murderous aliens, no small task.


While FBI agents are fending off aliens on V, on another ABC TV drama FlashForward they’re contending with a disturbing incident where almost everyone on the planet blacked out for two minutes and 17 seconds. Those who blacked out saw flash-forwards six months into their own futures, unless, of course, they’re likely to be dead by then, in which case they saw nothing.


Smack dab in the middle of all of this blacking out and flashing forward is a family with a young child, the Benfords, where the dad is an FBI Agent named Mark Benford (Joseph Fiennes, who played Will Shakespeare in Shakespeare in Love) who’s crucial to the federal government’s investigation of the blackout. In Mark’s flash-forward, the former alcoholic was back to drinking and was in his FBI office when he was attacked by armed, masked gunmen because of what he’d learned in the blackout investigation. His wife, a trauma surgeon Olivia Benford’s (Sonya Walger from Lost), saw in her flash-forward that she and their daughter Charlie were living in their same house, not with Mark, but with another man and his son. Olivia thought she could dismiss her flash-forward until the man she saw sitting on her sofa in the vision walked into her hospital and she was assigned to his son’s case.