TV Review - Timeless

Eric Kripke and Shawn Ryan have created this series. Kripke created Supernatural, a fun, horror adventure in the vein of The X-Files and Buffy, the Vampire Slayer. Ryan created The Shield, an innovative, thrilling and superior, cop drama that probably stands as the top-five or top-three, best cop dramas of all-time. Unfortunately, Kripke and Ryan bring none of that skill or brilliance to this series about time travel. It doesn't help that this year there have been four other TV shows that are about or strongly incorporate time travel. After all those shows, this one feels really derivative and mostly lame because it's not really setting itself apart. It simply feels like a lesser version of all of the previous and recent, time-travel shows.

Abigail Spencer (Rectify and Suits) stars as Lucy, a history professor and anthropologist. She has a sister and a sick mother, which is the extent of her personal life that we know. She is struggling to get tenure at her job, but the government recruits her to work at Mason Industries after terrorists stole a time machine invented there. Mason Industries has a prototype that they want Lucy to use to go after the terrorists and prevent them from altering the timeline.

Matt Lanter (90210 and Star Wars: Clone Wars) co-stars as Wyatt Logan, a Master Sergeant in the Special Forces, a military soldier who tags along as the muscle and the sharp shooter. He's also a widow.

Malcolm Barrett (Better Off Ted and Peeples) also co-stars as Rufus Carlin, the African-American scientist who works at Mason Industries. He's basically the pilot of the prototype time machine.

Goran Visnjic (Extant and ER) plays Garcia Flynn, the leader of the terrorists. He steals the main, time machine and wants to alter the timeline for some reason. His altercations involve killing people before they originally died in history. To what end is not yet revealed. Lucy has brief encounters with him in which he doles out bits of what his end goal or motivations are. Yet, mostly Garcia is a mystery.

Three of the other four TV shows about time travel are on the CW network. One of which is Legends of Tomorrow, which had a terrorist named Vandal Savage who also steals a time machine and goes back to change the timeline by killing people too. Therefore, Garcia Flynn equals Vandal Savage. Vandal's motivations remained a mystery too for too long on that series. Hopefully, this show won't do the same with Garcia.

So far, each episode has Garcia going to very specific, historical events. The first episode was May 6, 1937, which was the Hindenburg disaster. The second episode was April 14, 1865, which was President Lincoln's assassination. Lucy and her team track him to each of these events and what happens is that Lucy accidentally ends up interfering with those events. Lucy then has to try to correct the interference. It echoes what The Flash has been doing on the CW this past season, or what 11/22/63 on Hulu did as well.

Like The Flash, when Lucy returns to the present, she finds little things in her personal life has been changed. For example, after she gets back from the Hindenburg disaster, she learns that her sister no longer exists. She tells this to the government officials, but they don't seem too concerned. She even proves what happened yet no one really cares.

Things get even stupider when Wyatt and Rufus want to start making changes in the past. When Lucy tells them that it isn't a good idea, they make her feel bad about it. Again, it's like they don't care that Lucy's sister no longer exists and was erased from history. They don't care about the consequences. They just want to act selfishly and in the moment.

It's as if nobody has seen the TV series Star Trek and its iconic 1967 episode, "The City on the Edge of Forever." Even as cheesy as it was, that series by Gene Roddenberry was far better. In fact, the 1989 series Quantum Leap was far better than this.

Two Stars out of Five.
Rated TV-PG-V.
Running Time: 1 hr.
Mondays at 10PM on NBC.


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