September TV Feature: Most Likely To Change The World

Most Likely to Change the World: Reunion, FOX, Thursday @ 9:00 p.m.

Reunion tells the story of six friends and the trials (in some cases, literally) and tribulations they go through from their high school graduation to their 20 year reunion. During this time, one of them is brutally murdered by another and we do not find out who the murderer is until the finale.

While the statement of “Most Likely to Change the World” may sound bold, consider this: With the onslaught of franchises seemingly overwhelming television (between the various versions of CSI and Law & Order, in particular), a genuinely new, purely creative show is a nearly extinct idea.

Following the success of Medium, it seems like we have countless new supernatural shows debuting (one actually using the title of “Supernatural”). After the sensation of CSI, we see a number of forensic type shows making their introduction (“Bones” seems to be the most prominent example of this). And honestly, how many new sitcoms are there now following the formula of a grumpy father having to deal with his obnoxious teenage and pre-pubescent kids? It seems like networks would rather take the “easy” route by cashing in on the latest fads instead of attempting to create a new one.

With that in mind, Reunion really is a marvel, trying something incredibly risky. There will be many people unwilling to jump in on the show later in the season, no matter how positive word-of-mouth may be, because they feel like they missed too much and will be lost. Furthermore (Thursdays, 9:00 p.m. on FOX), the timeslot is not exactly something a lot of new shows are gunning for.

I just viewed the first episode and I think things are relatively promising. I was a bit disappointed with how quickly FOX abandoned Point Pleasant last year (even though it was, admittedly, a far inferior show, and significantly more controversial), however the network seems to have put a lot of effort into promoting this show. Much like 24, this show is going to be hit or miss with the audience; people will either be exceptionally intrigued by the premise and formula or turned off by it, not necessarily wanting to make that sort of commitment to a new show.

Although it will ultimately be inconsequential (since the story will eventually convince viewers to stick around), there are no name actors starring in the series. However, the story does seem interesting and the format seems to work so far. The first episode starts in the present day, at a funeral of one of the six friends, although we don’t know which one yet. Soon afterwards we flashback to where the story begins—their 1986 high school graduation.

Most of the episode remains in ’86, with occasional returns to the present day as we learn that the murder is still being investigated, and one of the friends interrogated. From what I’ve read, we don’t find out until episode three which character is murdered, but throughout time we learn that each person has a motive. In the finale, we find out who committed the crime.

FOX’s commitment to Reunion will likely make it or break it. It would probably be in their best interest to air reruns of the first few episodes on FX, like they did for the first season of 24. It is also imperative for the show that it gets positive word of mouth early in the season, so viewers decide to pick it up as early as possible. It certainly doesn’t hurt that the FOX season starts a week or two before most other networks.

As long as the show isn’t a complete dud, I think that Reunion may challenge the industry to go against the grain and try something new. After all, one of last year’s most successful shows was Lost, which in itself attempted a new formula for television, using flashbacks to tell the story, or complement the current one being told. Indeed, this show may have what it takes the change the world of television.