The new NBC series Timeless premiering October 3 comes from the creative minds of Supernatural creator Eric Kripke and The Shield’s Shawn Ryan. Both showrunners have created characters that endured; in the case of Supernatural, they still endure, with the series about to enter Season 12.
One thing that stood out from Eric Kripke’s comments at the recent Television Critics Association press tour is that the producers have very specific “rules” for the time travel in their show. For example, characters can not go back to within their own timelines; so, for now, a trip to the Eighties is not a thing that could happen.
We asked Kripke about this limitation at the NBC party that followed the press day. What kind of window does that leave for this group of characters? “We’re playing [Flynn Garcia] as probably about 40 or so early 40s, so about mid-70s is about as late as we can travel on the show,” Kripke said, referring to the character being played by Goran Visjnic. “Certainly for now. I mean look, ask me again in Season 3 and maybe the time machine has made a stunning advancement where they can suddenly travel in their own timeline, but that’s not the rule for now or certainly for the foreseeable future. It is the rule for now and for the foreseeable future,” he assured.
Quantum Leap is an inspiration that Kripke often points to for Timeless, but he also has fond things to say about Voyagers, a time travel series that aired in the early 1980s starring Jon-Erik Hexum and Meeno Peluce. “I loved that show when I was a kid,” Kripke recalled. “What I loved about Voyagers was that they traveled through a different time period pretty much every episode. And they had a drive to really try to get some history into the show. Like they would be on the Titanic, and then they would meet Thomas Edison, and that always struck me. To be able to do sort of a modern, sophisticated, edgier version of that show, it sort of brings me great pleasure. The not so secret secret of Supernatural is it’s basically Dukes of Hazzard or Knight Rider, just kind of updated for modern audiences. And so in my own way, this is Quantum Leap and Voyagers updated for modern audiences.”
Back to the “rules,” Kripke assured that the Timeless writing team spends an “incredible amount of time” making sure that they’ve adhered to their own rules and kept the universe consistent — but they want to be sure that it is a fun show, using Star Wars an example.
“I’ll watch Star Wars and they don’t spend much time explaining the rules in Star Wars. There’s a opening crawl and that’s it,” Kripke explained, “but there’s an incredible internal consistency and you just feel that you’re in a coherent universe. That’s really our goal here which is we want the show to be simple and fun. But believe me, what’s happening under the surface of that is an incredible amount of discussion and conversation to make sure that we’re making a credible and valid world for the audience to get lost in.”
Timeless premieres October 3 on NBC. We’re so excited for the show that we’ve set up a discussion forum here at KSiteTV – be sure to join the conversation!