'The Event': NBC wants to hook you with a new thriller

jason-ritter-the-event-320.jpg "The Event" has been getting pretty strong buzz since NBC previewed it in May, and it will get its first wide screening Saturday (July 24) at Comic-Con. Read on for what details on you'll see Saturday (or in September, if you're not at Comic-Con).

Disclaimer: These posts are not reviews -- shows often make tweaks to their pilot episodes between filming in the spring and their fall debuts. Full reviews will come closer to the premiere date.

What it is: A fast-moving thriller involving a guy ( Jason Ritter, "Parenthood") who's about to propose to his girlfriend ( Sarah Roemer, "Disturbia"), the president of the United States ( Blair Underwood, "In Treatment"), a secret detention facility in Alaska, the leader of the detainees ( Laura Innes, "ER") and one great big coverup.

Who's making it: Nick Wauters, who's penned episodes of "The 4400" and "Eureka," wrote the pilot and is executive producing with "24" veteran Evan Katz, Steve Stark ("Medium") and Jeffrey Reiner ("Friday Night Lights"), who also directed.

What to look for: The pilot pings back and forth in time, mostly within a period of a couple weeks but also flashing back more than a year. You'll find out fairly quickly how -- if not why -- a couple of the plot's multiple threads converge, while also getting a little bit of back story on several of the key players.

What pops: Flashing back and forth in time is a pretty standard TV trope these days (thanks, "Lost"!), but Wauters and Reiner handle it quite well. The pace rarely lets up, but there are also enough smaller moments to give the audience a sense of the characters. The cast -- which also includes Zeljko Ivanek ("Heroes," "Damages"), Lisa Vidal ("The Division"), Scott Patterson ("Gilmore Girls") and Bill Smitrovich ("The Practice") -- is strong top to bottom.

What doesn't: The pilot is pretty much all questions and no answers, which isn't necessarily a bad thing. But if it continues for too long like that, it will definitely try the audience's patience.

Reminiscent of: "Lost" for the way it plays with flashbacks and for its teasing nature, "24" for its pacing -- but neither one for the story it's telling.

Here's a preview of "The Event":



Read Zap2it's other Project Pilot breakdowns.

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Photo credit: NBC