Friday, May 5, 2017

I Saw This!! What I Watched (Time Travel After Time Travel) Pt. v

I Saw This (double exclamation point) is our feature wherein Graig or David attempt to write about a bunch of stuff they watched some time ago and meant to write about but just never got around to doing so. But we can't not write cuz that would be bad, very bad.  Miss a Next Big Thing bad.

Part iiiiii, and iv are here.

Timeless, 2016, NBC -- live/download

Meanwhile, the latest show from Eric Kripke (Supernatural) was one that took me time to see, forgive the pun. Seriously, I don't know why as a time travel series show-run by him should have been in my wheelhouse. But the commercials and the familiar time travel chase plot didn't do much for me.

On that, why does the show seem so familiar? I swear I saw this show before, right down to the statement from the lone black time traveller stating that few American historical periods would be safe for him. Some day it will come to me.

[Edit: Thankyou Netflix! Obviously, someone in their employ saw the same connection and added Rewind to their roster. That was a 2013 SyFy pilot that never got picked up, based on that old show The Time Tunnel. But it also has a trio of a man, a woman and a black man doing pretty much the same as this show.]

So, chase through time. Two time machines, the new clean one stolen by a terrorist who wants to alter time. The old, broken down one containing a soldier, a scientist (the black guy, Malcolm Barrett, Lem from Better Off Ted) and a historian. The former messes with time, the latter do their best to contain his damage and not doing any more. Butterfly effect and all that.

I rather liked the show.

It had charm, it had wit, it had a manageable conspiracy and its time period jumps were fun. They even did a Hidden Figures episode, where I am pretty sure they recreated the whole "walking on a black woman fiddling with the IBM computer" scene, but this time she's Lem's hero. The whole time changing plot is rather convoluted, and a lot of things have been changed/damaged but part of me thinks that in the end, they are going to swing around and end up with our world, i.e. the one they started with was rather unlike our own.

As far as I know, the show was probably cancelled. Maybe not. [edit: cancelled may 10, 2017, but back on again on May 14]

Travelers, 2016, Showcase/Netflix -- download

This show, with its classic Vancouver look & feel and done by Brad Wright (Stargate: Everything) was right down my alley. Of course, time travel, but this time in a rather disturbing version. From a distant future, where things are not so good but at least technologically advanced, key agents are sent back into the bodies of those seconds away from historically recorded death. The details on life and death of the host body may be fuzzy, but the "travelers" show up and assume the identity and life of the host. Their agenda is to contribute to a great conspiracy to end the future they came from. Groups of travelers work together while avoiding making any other major changes to the timeline, other than the one that might help them in the future. And they cannot reveal themselves, for the future can still punish them.

Eric McCormack (Will & Grace) is one such traveler, in the body of an FBI agent, and the leader of a new, small group. His "fix" has something to do with diverting an asteroid that severely changes climate and lifestyle in his time. With him are a high school jock, a heroin addict, a developmentally challenged young lady (miraculously cured, from the eyes of her social worker) and an abused single mom.

The whole show plays out rather enigmatically, with the above fix not being revealed until much into the season, but not really contributing much with said reveal. But we do wonder whether they are being played by evil future overlords or if they know truly why they are doing things. I am yet to download the last few episodes of the season, but it was stylishly done, more dramatic than action oriented and asked some new, nagging questions about their particular method of time travel. How much responsibility to they have to the life they are now in? If they have a record of people who have died, why not save some people? What changes can they make that won't have big future effects? And if they do succeed in wiping out their dark future, does that mean they never went back in time in the first place? That is the bit that is fun, as they sort of ... wait for it to happen at any moment. They will know they succeeded at a task, by not having to worry about the ramifications of said completion. That doesn't work out so well.

If you enjoyed Stargate: Universe, which was the most Brad Wright show of his myriad Stargate contributions, you will enjoy this show.