I... don't hate it. I mean Alex Kingston is still the most irritating woman working in television today, blue filters are so 2004, and all things being equal I'd rather have kept watching Charlie's cartoon (which apparently chronicles the adventures of a mentally unbalanced beaver and a shark in a goldfish-bowl reverse diving suit), but generally speaking it was pretty enjoyable.
For the uninitiated, the story revolves around a period of two minutes and seventeen seconds during which the entire population of the planet blacks out. Most of them experience flashes of themselves six months in the future.
This unlocks two crises. The most immediate one is the massive damage caused by such widespread unconsciousness; cars crash, planes crash much harder, operations are suddenly abandoned, and so on. Cue lots of shots of broken bodies, men on fire, and a genuinely unnerving image of a rubbery oil-slick of drowned surfers. Also the obligatory CGI effects of exploding oil-tankers, of course, which I am prepared to forgive, and an escaped kangaroo, which is either a fairly baffling clue or just someone having a preemptive laugh at devoted fans' expense (I fully intend to pooh-pooh any fan theory I see on the grounds that it fails to explain the marsupial).
The second crisis is more slow-burning, but with an obvious time limit; how do we work out how this happened, and make sure this never happens again? FBI Agent Mark Benford (as played by a bloke who looks like Joseph Fiennes, as played by Joseph Fiennes) saw himself investigating that very thing, which leads to him getting the gig in the present, but it doesn't look like things were going well, since his wall is full of random leads and his office is full of hostile men wearing black clothes and baby masks and sporting automatic weapons.
The way the flashes are used are very clever. A suicidal man is so delighted to learn that he will in fact be alive in six months that he immediately feels his life has meaning again (though since he tells a woman who killed her patient during an incident that cost the life of thousands of people that the flashes were a gift from God, it appears his life is meant to involve him being an insensitive fuck). An alcoholic watches himself relapse, which in itself would be likely to trigger that very thing. Mileage is gotten out of Benford's partner Dmitri receiving no flash and hence believing he will be dead within the next six months, I'm glad Dmitri (as played by Sulu, as not played by George Takei) worked this out fairly quickly, since it's an obvious conclusion, but whether this is going to set a pattern of actually getting answers or not remains to be seen.
Because anyone with any experience of genre TV knows where this could end. The first episode did nothing to alleviate my fears that one of three things could happen. Firstly, the flash might prove to be the only sci-fi aspect to the show, which the writers eventually run out of ways to make hay out of. You might be able to manage a low-key show for a while with that conceit, but it wouldn't last forever, and when you start of with the blood and the smoke and the exploding, you've really got to be careful about putting on the brakes too much. The second possibility is that more and more weird shit gets added to the mix (known round these parts as the "Twin Peaks Method"), hoping that new mysteries will work as a substitute to any actual answers, until everyone who watches the show literally chews their own fingers off and uses the bleeding stumps to punch Brannon Braga to fucking death. The third possibility is halfway between the first two, and involves allowing revelations to occur, but only at a snail's pace, and with each one leading to new mysteries, and interspersed with character scenes that involve everyone acting as stupidly as possible in order to justify no-one being able to work out what's going on (see Lost for a textbook example of allegedly smart people steadfastly refusing to ask even the most obvious question). That will end in bloodshed too, though at least I'll still have my fingernails so as to gouge out the eyes of my enemies.
Maybe not. It's impossible to tell for now, and I'm certainly intrigued enough to continue watching. Setting up a mystery is not the same thing as either maintaining nor resolving a mystery, though, so I refuse point-blank to get my hopes up in any way. I guess I'm learning.