Brief Review of Timeless

So, do you remember the Quantum Leap episode where Sam encounters an evil leaper and has to set right what they put wrong?  Well, Timeless is basically that episode as a series but better.

Timeless is a new series on NBC about a team of three, a historian, a soldier, and the time machine’s pilot, who go back in time to prevent an anit-American terrorist from changing America’s history in a stolen time machine.  Don’t worry there’s no Islamophobia in this show.  The terrorist leader, Garcia Flynn, has his own as yet unknown reasons for wanting to change the past but they seem to be tied to the historian of the good guys and main character, Lucy Preston.  Flynn has a notebook that has Lucy’s handwriting in it, which he claims she hasn’t written yet but will one day.

The other members of the are Wyatt Logan, a soldier chosen by Homeland Security, and Rufus Carlin, the time machine’s pilot and the black man of the team.  Wyatt has a dead wife in his backstory which he wants to save now that he has a chance but he is also a dedicated soldier.  Rufus is an employee of the company that built both the stolen time machine and the prototype they use to try to stop Flynn.  He was actually very reluctant to be the pilot not only because of the danger of time travel but also because he is black.  He says one of the best lines to his boss, “Also, I don’t know how it works across the pond, but I am black. There is literally no place in American history that would be awesome for me.”  There’s something shadowy going on with his boss but it’s not clear how much Flynn knows.

This show has a nuanced take on time travel or rather the results of time travel.  In many shows it’s common for history to be almost immutable, resisting changes with almost comical deus ex machinas.  Or history is a delicate jenga tower, pull the wrong block out and it all comes crashing down(until you put it back exactly like it was before).  In Timeless the characters act like history is the jenga tower but if they keep things mostly in place history goes on like nothing has happened.  Well, almost like nothing happened.  The main characters involvement, if significant, do become a part of history and can have effects that are unpredictable, like having a school named after your alias or changing someone’s family tree.

At this point I’ve only seen the first three episodes.  The first two were really good with trips to the Hindenburg crash and Abraham Lincoln’s assassination.  The third one didn’t have a specific event tied to it but was still a good episode.  Overall I’d say give the first episode a watch.  I know there are like two other time travel shows starting soon but this one feels like a home run.

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