The time has come once again (again). The summer sun set long ago. The days have grown colder and the nights have grown longer and we’ve filled those nights with fretting about the election new fall TV. As happens every autumn, the five major networks unleashed a flurry of new programs meant to entertain us into these dark, frigid winter months (and beyond). So many choices. So much risk! How will you know what to watch? That’s where I come in. I watch every new fall pilot episode so that you don’t have to (even if it takes me months to do so). I take one for the team, so you can watch the… screen(m). It’s time for more of…
THE PILOT PROJECT (2016 Edition Pt. 2)
Timeless (Mondays on NBC)
Listen… when it comes to genre TV, I’m your guy. Sci-fi? I love sci-fi. Superheroes? Sign me up. Fantasy? Uh huh. There are so many procedural dramas on TV that I live for every new genre show. So yeah, I really, really want to like Timeless! I want to like it so bad! A time travel drama from Shawn Ryan (creator of The Shield, Terriers, and Last Resort) and Eric Kripke (Supernatural and Revolution)? SIGN ME UP! Right?! Right?
Well, yes. And no.
Timeless is a perfectly fine TV show. It’s not GREAT, but it’s not bad either. It’s just… unremarkable. Basically, this tech company has been secretly working for years on a time machine. A group of terrorists break in and steal the time machine, and it’s up to history professor Lucy Preston (Abigail Spencer), Master Sergeant Wyatt Logan (Matt Lanter), and time machine programmer Rufus Carlin (Malcolm Barrett) to hunt them down and stop them from changing history. It’s a solid premise, if a little unoriginal. I mean, here’s the thing – time travel is not a new concept. Everything in this pilot episode has been done many, many, many times before. There are things in this episode that I have seen occur in no fewer than 3 other shows this season (The Flash, Legends of Tomorrow, and Frequency – all from The CW). Time travel? Check. Changing the past? Check. Altering the present? Check. It’s all been done before. It’s all been done RECENTLY. And that’s fine! It just depends on how well they handle these elements. Time travel stories are cool, but difficult to write. Can Timeless create a better show out of these elements than the others? I guess… only… TIME will tell!
I’m going to keep watching Timeless. I’m a sucker for time travel stuff, and even though I’ve seen it all before (and recently), I won’t write off a genre show after a single episode. But should you watch it? Try it out and see for yourself. It’s entirely possible that the standard time travel conventions won’t come off as so rote to someone less steeped in time travel fiction. There is a certain audience that probably finds this MIND-BLOWING. If you’re well-versed in the genre, you’ll see it all coming from a mile away.
Recommendation: Try it