‘Timeless’ is Fun and Unpredictable

Review of NBC's "Timeless"
Abigail Spencer, Paterson Joseph and Matt Lanter (Joe Lederer/NBC)
NBC has a habit of creating show with great concepts and then quickly mudding them up with too many storylines, characters and what not. For years Quantum Leap was an excellent show with each episode being its own unique story. The show got weird during its last season when they tried to create a continuing storyline within the formula. Hopefully, that won’t be the case with the network’s latest time traveling drama, Timeless, but I fear that history might repeat itself.

Tonight’s pilot starts off with Flynn, mastermind criminal (Goran Visnjic) hijacking a government-owned time traveling machine with the intent of changing American history as we know it. Fortunately, the government still has a working prototype to send a team of three unlikely people to right whatever wrongs the bad guy changes. This team consists of Rufus (Malcolm Barrett), a scientist; Wyatt (Matt Lanter), a soldier; and Lucy (Abigail Spencer), a history professor. Each have their own unique personality that offer some creative storylines for future episodes. Rufus is an African American who in the past, haven’t been treated so well. Lucy is a woman in power which is also a fairly unknown concept in the past. Wyatt is a grieving husband who knows that he should change history but wonders what would happen if he were to save his wife from dying. To add more complications, this prototype is less than ideal to travel in who will know how to fix it if they get stuck in a certain time period - which you know will happen.

If re-watching Back to the Future over and over again has taught us nothing else, we know that we can’t go back in time and change things without those changes affecting our current time frame. Like Quantum Leap, our heroes have to delicately fix whatever Flynn changes in order to keep our current world operating as close to normal as possible. Any small change can make a huge difference if they are not careful. Even so, by the end of tonight’s episode, the team realizes that some negative changes can never be predicted.

The pilot episode takes the team on their first mission to the Hindenburg disaster and letting people die in order to keep historical events correct is tougher than they thought. Overall, the show is great fun, has some humor, doesn't take itself too seriously and is fairly unpredictable. The cast is great and so is the story. There is a lot of potential for conversations about morality to come into play as well.

My concern for the show comes with the side story about Rufus and his boss who tells Rufus, “You know why you need to go…” This, and other events that happen in the episode, look like the continual storyline that could sink this ship if the creators let them get out of hand. But for now, Timeless is definitely worth watching.

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