NBC’s new time travel adventure series Timeless is probably one of the most heavily hyped and marketed shows of the Fall TV season. NBC has already debuted one surprisingly great show this year with the bonkers comedy The Good Place – can lightning strike twice for the peacock network in 2016? The answer is “not quite”, but it’s not all bad. Read on for the details!
Timeless hails from Eric Kripke (Supernatural) and Shawn Ryan (The Shield) and the producers of The Blacklist and centers around the theft of the world’s first fully operational time machine by a mysterious criminal named Flynn (Goran Višnjić). An unlikely team consisting of a soldier (Matt Lanter), a scientist (Malcolm Barrett), and a teacher (Abigail Spencer) must take said time machine’s only prototype back to the past to stop Flynn from change our timeline to his design.
Timeless is all kinds of goofy and having just watched the Westworld pilot, it isn’t anywhere near that level of brilliant television. But the Timeless Pilot does succeed in being a silly time-travel adventure with more successful moments of comedy than dramatic ones along with the normally twists and turns of time travel.
Much of the best laugh-out-loud moments come from the scientist of the team Rufus, since he happens to be African-American and the Pilot’s script has fun with the surprisingly unexplored (except for perhaps on Chappelle’s Show) idea of the difficulties a time traveling black man would face.Barrett has a lot of great lines as the character, but hopefully moving forward that’s not a crutch they writers lean on too much as the joke gets a bit stale by the end of the Pilot.
The best parts of Timeless that aren’t comedic moments rely on the time travel plot device itself. If you hate messy, twisty timey-whimey storytelling of alternate histories and butterfly effects this show isn’t for you. But if you’re a sucker for these kinds of sci-fi television like I am, there’s a lot of fun to be had with the different settings.The Pilot itself brings the characters to the Hindenburg disaster, which is an extremely interesting moment in history. and by the end of the episode the dangers of time travel are quite clear.
Abigail Spencer is the show’s true lead as the team’s history teacher Lucy and Spencer has a ton of charisma and light-heartedness to personality that fits her nicely into the role of Lucy. Matt Lanter (the voice of Anakin on The clone Wars) has a pretty thankless job as soldier Wyatt in the Pilot, but he has solid chemistry with both Rufus and Lucy and gets a few good moments here and there.
Timeless ended up being far more fun than the trailers would lead you to believe and if the show sticks to the silly and absurd vibes, rather than taking itself so seriously, it could find its footing as a guilty pleasure genre show. The premise alone sets up extremely fun scenarios all throughout history and the last scene gives the show’s inner-mythology an interesting shot in the arm for those that have have already bought a ticket for the ride.
Timeless premieres tonight, Oct 3, and airs Monday nights at 10pm ET on NBC.
A silly genre show that if not taken too seriously can be legitimately fun, but this isn't epic storytelling - thus far it's just a guilty pleasure with better comedic moments than the dramatic ones paired mixed with somewhat entertaining historic time-travel wackiness.