Tonight is the pilot of NBC TV series The Event, which is this season's most promising new science fiction show. We've watched the pilot, and here are four spoiler-free reasons you should watch too.

1. You want to see The X-Files crossed with The West Wing.
To be fair, The Event leans more toward the X-Files side than to the West Wing side. But it's a conspiracy show with lots of action, combined with a semi-realistic depiction of the White House. Which is to say, our conspiracies are grounded in power structures we know and love, rather than woo-woo experiments and shady underground somethings. (Not that I'm pointing any fingers at any particular show that is now no longer on the air.) In just the first episode we get to know the President (the awesome Blair Underwood), plus we get a glimpse of what happens to ordinary citizens victimized by government coverups! So retro and thrilling. There may be no Mulder and Scully, but that's kind of a good thing because . . .


2. Laura Innes from ER plays a prison badass
What is her role? Why is she bossing the President around? Why is she in that arctic prison facility? Is she in charge of the prisoners? Experimenting on them? A little of both? We don't know, and we don't care. All that matters is that Innes is our favorite mega-tough, ultra-smart TV badass, and as soon as she walks on screen, you can't peel our eyes off of it.

3. Strong potential for cool aliens
As the trailers for the pilot explain, there's a spooky, unexplainable "event" that happens right away. Actually, a couple of events happen but the capital-E Event has to do with mega-technology in the sky. Could it be aliens? We like that idea. Especially if the aliens never do things like lay thousands of eggs in a UFO swimming pool or send emails. Seriously, though - the pilot does a great job ramping up the tension and leaving the causes for the "event" wide open. Definitely wide enough for some seriously scary aliens to scamper through.


4. You need to fill your plot twist crackpipe now that Lost is over.
You can already tell that The Event is going to deliver bizarro plot twists. The more we learn in the pilot, the more questions we have. As Lost has proven, there's no better way to get addicted to a show than by trying to follow its plot down a trippy rabbit hole. As long as The Event can keep answering questions coherently - which producers promise they will - then I think this show could fulfill both your government conspiracy needs and your "holy crap WTF" needs too. Plus, the acting is good and the characters are intriguing. I already want more.

The Event airs tonight at 9 PM on NBC.