‘The Event’ Aims To Mix Thrills Of ’24’ With Mystery Of ‘Lost’

In 'The Event' (premiering Monday, Sept. 20), Jason Ritter plays Sean Walker, a man who stumbles upon a global conspiracy as he looks into his girlfriend's vanishing (NBC)

In 'The Event' (premiering Monday, Sept. 20), Jason Ritter plays Sean Walker, a man who stumbles upon a global conspiracy as he looks into his girlfriend's vanishing (NBC)

Over the four years that he’d been developing ‘The Event‘ (premiering Monday at 9/8c, on NBC), Nick Wauters faced a recurring question from curious friends and colleagues: What is the titular “event”?

But ever since the action-drama landed on NBC’s fall schedule and began drawing comparisons to shows such as ‘Lost,’ ‘Heroes,’ ‘FlashForward‘ and even (from the truly speculative) ‘V,’ “The question has shifted,” he tells Fancast. “Now everyone is asking, ‘What isn’t ‘The Event’?”

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Citing his fandom of the journeys of Jacks Bauer and Shepherd, Wauters says that with ‘The Event,’ “I wanted to create a show that had the nonstop action of ’24’ but also the character development and mythology of ‘Lost.'”

The pilot certainly sets the table for an ambitious hybrid. Told in present time but also via flashbacks, ‘The Event’ introduces Jason Ritter (‘Joan Of Arcadia’) as Sean Walker, a young man fixing to propose to his girlfriend Leyla (‘Disturbia’s Sarah Roemer) during a tropical getaway. Things take a turn, though, when Leyla vanishes without a trace.

Meanwhile, U.S. president Eli Martinez (Blair Underwood, ‘Dirty Sexy Money’) is drawing daggers from CIA director (‘Damages’ Zeljko Ivanek) with his want to dissolve an illegal detention facility situated in an icy cranny of Alaska. The commander in chief, however, is not fully aware of why the 97 prisoners – led by the mysterious Sophia (‘ER’s Laura Innes) – have been detained, or more importantly, what they know about a mysterious event referred to as… The Event.

The above and other story arcs dovetail in the premiere’s final moments when… oh, I wouldn’t dare tell you. But let’s just say the final scene is eventful – if not Eventful with a capital E.

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If it all sounds like much sci-fi chain-yanking, Wauters assures you that “major questions will be answered every week,” while new mysteries are introduced.

“I really wanted to create a show that would have a bit of everything for everyone,” he adds. “It’s a love story, a thriller, there’s political intrigue, action….”

Here’s what cast members say you also can expect from ‘The Event’:

Paths Will Cross: The assorted storylines will have connective tissue, and at least one character in common. Ian Anthony Dale (‘Surface’), who plays “rogue double-agent” Simon Lee, tells us, “There are all these characters inhabiting various different worlds within the story, and Simon will get entangled with each of them. He will try like hell to keep things from unraveling.” Um, and if “things” do unravel…? “There’ll be serious consequences,” Dale teases, “that Simon will not want to deal with.”

This Is Gonna Be One Of Those Top-Secret Kind Of Shows: So don’t expect spoilers to be free-flowing. “The night before the first day of filming, I had a dossier delivered to my house with the whole backstory of my character – and a directive not to share with the other cast members or anybody else,” says Underwood. “I know some things!” he says with a wink. “I just can’t say what they are.”

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Agendas Are Hidden, And Bountiful: Ivanek describes CIA boss Blake Sterling as “somebody who’s trying to protect the world and doing it his way, but in doing so he comes off as not the nicest guy. But that’s something the audience will have to revisit as the show goes on.”

The Missing Girl Won’t Stay Missing: And thank goodness for that, since she’s played by the gorgeous Roemer. “One of my first questions for the producers was, How much are you going to see of Leyla? Is she a quickly fading memory, or is this somebody you’re going to be keeping up with?” the actress shares. “I was reassured that we’ll definitely be checking in with her, through flashbacks and in the current time.”

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The Premiere’s Final Scene Also Left The Stars Stunned: Lisa Vidal (‘Third Watch’), who plays First Lady Christina Martinez, remembers her reaction to the script’s final page like so: “What do you mean that’s the end?! I wanna know what just happened!”

What say you, Fancast fans? Will you be checking out ‘The Event,’ which airs opposite ‘Dancing With The Stars,’ ‘Two And A Half Men,’ ‘Lone Star’ and ‘Gossip Girl’?

The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.

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