Time travel seems to be making a hell of a comeback on TV lately, with a huge host of shows from “The Flash” to “Timeless” to “Frequency” giving us complicated storylines about changing the past to fix the future.
In some cases, time travel is nothing more than a subplot within the overall narrative, but other shows take on the harder task of building their world around the concept of changing specific points in time to achieve a certain result; be it good or bad. For the most part, these types of shows fail to create a coherent story: Timelines get crossed, paradoxes occur, and the viewer gets too confused to stay interested.
Other shows (“12 Monkeys” and “Continuum” are Screener favorites) manage to pull it off with impressive ease. So, for the time travel aficionado’s consideration, we’re putting forth the Showcase/Netflix joint venture “Travelers.”
The 12-episode first season aired on Canada’s Showcase in late 2016, and then joined Netflix just in time for the holidays on December 23rd. Rather than deal with accidental time travelers or an inexperienced team of totally under-qualified history experts, “Travelers” came up with a premise that had us hooked from literally the first minute.
Travelers (aka the consciousness of a human being from the distant future) take over the bodies of current, everyday people just before their time of death. After averting said death, they assume these people’s lives, while carrying out missions to prevent — you guessed it — the end of the world.
It’s refreshing to see a trained and prepared group of people, aided by the thousands of other travelers hiding in plain sight, take on the task of changing history. Too often, TV gives this kind of all-important mission of saving the world to a bumbling hero who makes catastrophic mistakes along the way. “Travelers” opts to use a militarized task force who take their orders from a mysterious Director in the future. Teams consist of a historian, an arms specialist, a linguist, a medic etc. — aka, the exact mix of people who should be sent back in time for this kind of thing.
Moreover, there’s no “Big Bad” our heroes are fighting along the way: No evil time travelers, no government conspiracy, no supernatural force stopping travelers from completing their mission. This lack of a typical villain might seem like a risky choice, but we kind of dig it. Villains are great, but they tend to be a little overdone and unoriginal in most genre shows.
Netflix’s investment in the project won the show a Season 2 renewal, so it’s safe to binge this awesome show without fearing the intense Season 1 cliffhanger. We’re eagerly awaiting the new missions and travelers we’ll see in Season 2.
“Travelers” is streaming now on Netflix.