Some of my favorite science fiction stories are time travel ones. Back to the Future is and probably always will be my favorite movie; Doctor Who is my #1 British import; I probably would have watched the heck out of Voyagers! if I had been old enough to have been around for it; and my favorite episodes of Lois & Clark were the ones where they’d have Tempus, the sarcastic time traveler from the future determined to prevent his future Utopia. Those examples aren’t even the absolute best of the genre, but they all meant a lot to me.
When I first heard about Timeless (premiering Monday night, October 3 at 10PM on NBC) I admit I was skeptical. Team going through time to stop a villain? What is this, NBC’s Legends of Tomorrow? My excitement level for the show grew when I heard about some of the casting. And then I saw Timeless…
…and it became my favorite Fall pilot of 2016. What did I like about it? There’s an attention to detail with the costuming and such, and the mixture of characters is fun. (I’m still not over the seemingly database-connected computer on Legends of Tomorrow in 1975. Anachronisms are annoying!) I admit that I was not familiar with Abigail Spencer’s work (an issue I need to rectify), but I was absolutely familiar with Matt Lanter, who, when not voicing future Sith masters over on Star Wars: The Clone Wars or playing aliens on Star-Crossed, was one of the best parts of The CW’s 90210 reboot. Malcolm Barrett, the third part of the main trio, was on Better Off Ted! Have you seen Better Off Ted? If no, you should. It’s on Netflix. The motion sensor episode is one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen.
Oh, and those Legends of Tomorrow comparisons? They’re totally invalid once you see this show. Whereas Legends is a romp through the DC Comics universe in different eras, where a barista can be a demigoddess and the best episodes are the ones where you can get excited to see characters like Jonah Hex or Connor Hawke, Wyatt, Rufus, and Lucy are three folks with their own skill sets but no superpowers who are thrust into an incredible situation. They’re very different shows, and that’s cool.
I still find it awkward as all get out that the time machine looks like the CBS Eye, and I’m surprised it hasn’t been rebuilt as a peacock or something, but that’s really the only production design flaw that I could see. In the pilot episode, they go back to the time of the Hindenburg blimp disaster, and the visual effects and design of the period are movie-quality. Shantel VanSanten (The Flash) is almost completely unrecognizable as a woman from the 1930s that Matt Lanter’s Wyatt takes a liking to.
Timeless comes from creators Eric Kripke (Supernatural) and Shawn Ryan (The Shield). There are a lot of parallels between this and their other work, and the show seems to juggle the writers’ talents together well. At one point, the team uses alias that are right out of the Winchester Brothers playbook; and let’s be real, Wyatt Logan could totally fit in as the third – erm, fourth Winchester brother. Maybe this one they wouldn’t leave in Hell.
Goran Visnjic plays Garcia Flynn, the “bad” time traveler who seems to be part of a larger scheme. The best villains are the ones who don’t think they’re villains; I’m not entirely certain he’s bad at this point, either. Some other characters, however, I am already wondering about their intentions. Keep your eyes open for Arrow’s Susanna Thompson in a key role. The notion that this time travel can make significant alterations to the present is a key point in Timeless.
The most important thing about watching Timeless is that it is fun, and that’s what I want from my TV. I can also say that I judge something by how many times I watch it, and I’ve watched this pilot episode three times. The wait for Episode 2 was killer; fortunately, NBC made that one available to press and that, too, maintained the quality. See if you like it as much as I did, and if you want to talk about it, come to our Timeless discussion forum here at KSiteTV.
You can see some photos from the Timeless season premiere below. Don’t miss the first episode tonight on NBC!