The mayhem visited upon Earth in the pilot of “Day One” is precipitated by invading aliens, NBC exec Angela Bromstad told those gathered for the network’s Wednesday TCA executive session.
I’ve read the “Day One” pilot scripted by series creator Jesse Alexander (“Alias,” “Lost,” “Heroes”) and have more details, nestled below in spoiler-cloaking invisotext.
Massive meteorite-like projectiles come crashing into the Earth from all around the planet. The projectiles then melt, reform and shoot out of the ground, beanstalk-like, to form bizarre towers twice the length of the tallest man-made skyscraper. A circuit-frying electro-magnetic pulse knocks out all electronics and communications, “War of the Worlds”-style.
The key to combating the aliens, strangely, may lie with the series’ main characters, all of them unknowing residents of a small Van Nuys, Calif., apartment complex. One’s a doctor (latter-day "Veronica Mars" vet Julie Gonzalo). Another’s a war vet just back from Iraq (latter-day "ER" vet David Lyons). Two more are the world's best-looking computer geeks ("24" vet Carly Pope and "Harper's Island" vet Adam Campbell). A reclusive resident of the complex named Lynne (she’s the bespectacled young woman seen at the end of the trailer below) appears to have been secretly manipulating her fellow tenants without their knowledge in anticipation of the threat. Some key dialogue:
TENANT: So you knew this was coming?
LYNNE: It’s all happened before.
Later we see Lynne talking to a non-tenant named Hugh, another fellow who seems to know too much. He tells Lynne she needs to cut and run.
HUGH: Your people haven’t been trained, Lynne. You won’t get them working together in time. (beat) We’ll try again. Somewhere else. But not here. It’s too late.
Some time ago we asked Alexander if Lynne would be revealed to be a time-traveler in episode two; he replied emphatically in the negative. (We also asked if, while Alexander was working on “Lost’s” first season, he knew that Hurley would be spending a good chunk of season five in 1977. His response: “Fuck no!” So somebody should someday ask Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse the same question!)
So far I like “Day One” better than I like ABC’s “V” (which also deals with alien invasion) and “FlashForward” (which also deals with worldwide mayhem).