Resurrection: flash-forward (Part One)

In our Easter-week series, we look at a rather unusual and often overlooked Good Friday event.

One of my favourite TV shows is NCIS. If you haven’t seen it before, that stands for ‘Naval Criminal Investigation… Somethingorother.’ Clearly that’s not important for enjoying the show. But the reason I mention it this Easter week is one of it’s characteristic film-making techniques. As you come out of every ad break, the first thing you see is a one-second scene in black-and-white. It’s a very brief, flash-forward to the final scene before the next ad break. It gives you a little taste of where the next eight minutes or so of action is heading. So that when you get to that scene, your brain goes – oh, so that’s what that little snapshot was all about. (The producers call it the “foof,” named after the sound that accompanies it, made by the producer hitting a microphone with his hand.)

Now this technique on NCIS is pretty subtle. It took me half a season to realise that’s what was happening. But if you pay attention, you’ll see that our entire media culture is filled with flash-forwards. And often far more obvious ones.

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