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Not gonna lie, when Timeless’ preview first hit I was beyond excited. A time travel show that has action and consequences for changing the past? Is this like Doctor Who without the aliens? PLUS Matt Lanter, the protagonist male from my beloved show Star-Crossed, is in it?!! I couldn’t wait to grab dibs for coverage with TN. Then I saw the pilot and I’m not as thrilled. I’m not giving up on it, but it’s not won me over quite yet.
Timeless is a thrilling action-adventure series in which a mysterious criminal steals a secret state-of-the-art time machine, intent on destroying America as we know it by changing the past. Our only hope is an unexpected team: Rufus (Malcolm Barrett), a scientist; Wyatt (Matt Lanter), a soldier; and Lucy (Abigail Spencer), a history professor, all of who must use the machine’s prototype to travel back in time to critical events. While they must make every effort not to affect the past themselves, they must also stay one step ahead of Flynn (Goran Višnjić), a dangerous fugitive.
Sounds exciting, right? So where did it all go wrong…
Spoilers below if you haven’t seen the pilot episode, which aired last night on NBC.
I really love the overall concept of having to chase a bad guy through history to save the future (and past). The twist that he and the lead protagonist are somehow intertwined in the future is intriguing enough for me to come back to episode two. That’s about all I loved about Timeless though. The classic scientist vs. federal government stand-off I could do without, but it at least adds some base tension that the show desperately needs. A lot of the reasoning for things is way too flimsy, but almost intentionally so as the episode unfolds its secrets throughout. Still though… we’re already believing that time travel is a thing, you better be sure as hell I believe your characters should all be involved in the mission they’re assigned to! And I definitely am not.
Was I mad that Lucy didn’t get tenure after being a kickass professor? YES. Did I believe that she would just go along with the DHS agent without, you know, a warrant or something actually official? NO. Like really? You wouldn’t first chat with him about wtf was happening that you just HAD to be there for despite having literally no qualifications in the STEM or geopolitical world? What is Wyatt’s reason for being there? He’s not active duty military still, is he? Did they say that? It was just too ridiculous for me. One situation like that I will accept, I’m super forgiving as a viewer, but more than one? No way. Do better.
Was it just me, or did the lines all feel kind of overworked? Maybe there were too many cooks in the kitchen for this script, which is why I’m giving it another chance. The co-creator was the executive producer for Supernatural, which has serious legs for a reason. Timeless just felt sooooo trite and way too on the nose. The racism was so plainly pointed at, it felt like an after school special at times. I cared way more about Rufus taking risks as a reluctant spy than just as a black man (that is, of course, if they’d actually presented the spy part in a way that proposed any type of suspense).
The act ends didn’t leave me needing to come back after the commercial break, and the act cuts were too obvious for it to function as a binge-watch show without feeling tedious like Arrow (which after season 2, I promise one should not binge watch since they tend to recap a ton of things act to act).
The dramatic suspense of it all was drained by the incredibly obvious and over-expository dialogue. No, I’m not asking for a Steven Moffat topsy turvy ordeal where none of the clues are even in the episode and still somehow Sherlock solves the mystery, but at least don’t blatantly point out exactly that the ropes dragged through the mud causing the zeppelin to ground itself.
Show, don’t tell… and please don’t show AND tell, and especially don’t show WHILE telling through flashback to an earlier scene in the show open. We are really not that stupid, NBC. This is the golden age of television, I promise we can all handle non-linear and well revealed plot lines.
I realize that none of our three adventurers are meant to have a romantic interest in one another, but I don’t really care about them because they don’t really seem to care about each other. Maybe it was just the writing, but I felt like by the end of this I should want these three to always be traveling together. And actually I didn’t care if any of them existed in the next episode.
The only chemistry I found was between Rufus and the girl scientist, Jiya, as well as between Lucy and her sister–who may or may not have ever existed now. So, scratch that option. To be honest, I’m really, really mad she was erased from time. That’s the main thing that’s bothering me, because she was the only character I felt had depth — which is ridiculous because she had like 5 lines!! Ugh. There’s just something seriously lacking about this show.
Cute idea and well executed. But why Snickers? How much did they pay? Are we going to have to see this in every show? Is Amy really never coming back?!
I know it sounds like I loathed this show, but I did enjoy some elements… like the “villain,” Flynn. It doesn’t hurt that Goran Višnjić is really hot. I’m hoping that he and Lucy end up getting married and she is the woman that he has a child with and is said to have killed her and their child — and that he’s using all of this to undo that future. A future I presume the DHS (or FBI?) is responsible for ultimately. If what I’ve just said ends up being the finale of season 1, then we definitely should never watch this show again. I mean, unless they figure out an incredibly awesome way to arrive at that conclusion.
Even though I don’t love his character, I do find Paterson Joseph pretty hot. He plays Connor the head scientist guy. Plus he was in Doctor Who 😉 We shall see how it all unfolds… Here’s hoping that Matt Lanter doesn’t have another network show cancelled on him! He makes a period suit work, don’t you think?