To make this as simple as possible, two separate time lines are in the pilot - current time and "Eight Days Earlier" time.
Starting with Eight Days Earlier, Sean Walker (Jason Ritter) and his girlfriend, Leila Buchanan (Sarah Roemer) go off on a romantic cruise in the Caribbean. Everything is ducky, when . . . now, to Current Time, Sean is seen hijacking a passenger jet en route to Brazil to prevent who-knows-what from happening.
Back to Eight Days Earlier: the U.S. president, Elias Martinez (Blair Underwood), wants to release 97 detainees at some Alaskan mountain fortress, where they have been imprisoned for reasons not clearly established, but he's getting resistance. . . . Back to current time: that darn jet again. Both time lines gradually converge.
Addressing you now in current time, "The Event" is much better than the foregoing indicates. Producers promise that the time-frame manipulation - so 2007, after all - will dissolve, and a straight-ahead narrative will take over. They also promise answers to all the questions, and simplicity and even promise to tell you what the "event" is, and ... yeah, yeah, yeah. We've all heard promises before. Simple truth is, "The Event" would have been in vogue four years ago, or before "Lost" pretty much sated - or exhausted - the audience's appetite for guessing games. Therefore, the most important question the pilot needed to ask, and then answer, over these 44 minutes was this - do we care enough about Sean and Leila to come back next week to find out what happens to these poor kids? Sure.
"The Event" definitely deserves another look. After that, all bets are off.
Lots of eye candy, mystery, intrigue, questions, and superlative production values. But who's ready to jump back in this pool again?