“Timeless” Season 1 – An Amazing Character Driven and Time Travel Show Well Worth Your Time

timeless

      “Timeless” is the best Time Travel show out right now. I feel comfortable saying this because “Legends of Tomorrow” is fun but it is mostly just good and “Doctor Who” has been going through the Moffat death so the less said about that show the better, unless he manages to not make the same mistakes he’s made during his run of Showrunner of the show…this show is counter to both of those.

       The narrative is tight, the characters have arcs, the history at least tries to be accurate and the tension is always high and the story is always moving. These are the non-spoiler reasons why you should really check this show out. This is the best show to come out of NBC since “Hannibal” though I have yet to finish “The Good Place” which could possibly beat this show in quality.

   The show was created by Eric Krypke and Shawn Ryan.

     The premise involves the adventures Lucy (Abigail Spencer) who is brought in by the government to hunt down a terrorist and former government agent named Flynn (Goran Visinjic) who stole their main Time Machine and is seeking to change history. Lucy (a history professor) must work with Wyatt (Matt Lanter) (a soldier) and Rufus (Malcolm Barrett) (one of the inventors and the pilot) to stop Flynn in the prototype Time Machine that still remains.

SPOILERS ahead

The Pros: The Premise – The idea of trying to save the past or at least stop the past from changing too much by chasing another through time is fascinating, especially as it gives the writers a chance to interpret large events and what they mean in the context of American History and what might change if they hadn’t happened. It was this core premise that drew me into the show in the first place.

The Locations – We have DC during the Red Scares, the Assassination of Abraham Lincoln, the crashing of the Hindenburg, the Fall of the Alamo and others to name a few.

The Characters – The characters are the strongest part of this show, even the minor characters get some good exploration where their motivations are explored and we see why it is they fight.

Anthony Bruhl – Matt Frewer plays Bruhl, one of the scientists working with Flynn to stop Rittenhouse but who changes when he sees how Flynn’s actions are putting Rufus in danger. His arc is one of redemption as in the end he is helping the team stop Flynn from killing people through time.

 Special Agent Denise Christopher- Sakina Jaffrey has been in a lot of shows I like, from “Sleepy Hollow” to “House of Cards” she really owns the roles she is in and in this she is the government agent who learns the truth from the team and helps them fight Rittenhouse. The one way she is used by Rittenhouse is she brings in Flynn at the end.

Connor Mason – Mason is the inventor of the Time Machine and the organization Mason Industries that owns it. He is presented as an antagonist through most of the show because he is being blackmailed by Rittenhouse. Luckily he plays Rittenhouse and reveals their organization and we learn he knows that he is going to die but wants a good future for Rufus. Paterson Joseph is great in the role.

Jiya – Jiya is one of the scientists who is being trained to take Rufus’s place after Rittenhouse kills him. She is a great character who we see resist Rittenhouse when the team isn’t around and workis with Special Agent Christopher to do so. She is in love with Rufus and we see that they are partners at the end as she is not only helping them in enemy territory but she goes with them and pays the price (sees possible futures) when she is the fourth person on the ship. She survives but we don’t know the full consequences yet.

Wyatt -Wyatt is the soldier who learns that personal only causes more problems as his desire to bring his wife back only leads to him having trouble in the present and the war against Rittenhouse becoming all the more difficult. He is an honorable soldier who by the end has been shaped by his losses. Matt Lanter is great.

Rufus – Rufus is great, he brings perspective to history as there really isn’t any time in American History where things were good for African Americans. His cynicism to this helps bring down Lucy’s idealistic view of history and we see that he is great thinking on his feet and solving problems related to the ship, for example when they are stuck with the lifeboat broken he gives the equation through history for Jiya and the others to find them and bring them back. Malcolm Barrett is one of the strongest actors on a show of greats.

Lucy – Lucy is the main character and is tied to everything as we see it is her diary Flynn is using to target Rittenhouse (which makes more sense at the end) and we see her come to agree with Flynn’s aims by the end as in the present Rittenhouse is hurting those around her and upholding the worst parts of history. She also finds that her parents are both high up in Rittenhouse and that all her team did to fight them is for not. Abigail Spencer is amazing.

Flynn – Flynn is the antagonist through the series, who by the end we see was right all along. His sole goal is the destruction of Rittenhouse in all time and places in order to bring back his family they killed. In the end Lucy convinces him of nobility and to trust her grandfather to work from within to bring down the organization, but it fails as even though so many get taken out Rittenhouse no controls the Time Machine and Flynn is arrested by Agent Christopher for terrorism leaving Rittenhouse with no one to stand against them.

Rittenhouse – Rittenhouse is a fascist organization that is bound by blood that seeks to control the past, present and future. They are the primary antagonists

Time as Malleable – Events change when the teams go back in time. At one point Lucy loses her sister and her mom is no longer sick and she is married, the three of them show up in time under the names they gave and historical figures die who did not. Time always changes and can never be put back to how it was.

The Ending – We discover that Rittenhouse has the time machine when Lucy’s mom reveals that she is part of Rittenhouse too, all this after so many from Rittenhouse have been brought in from Lucy’s grandfather and Mason’s actions…The win ends up ringing hollow as Rittenhouse was the one playing them all.

Okay: Lucy’s Parents – Lucy’s parents are the least explored of the characters. We learn that they are both with Rittenhouse, but there reasons for choosing it beyond power aren’t really explored. This was a major missed opportunities, but the actors do a good job with what they are given.

    This is a series well worth your time if you have any passion for science fiction or time travel shows. The cast is solid and it does a good job of turning the expectations of the show on it’s head by the end setting up the rest of the season, but also how the show could have started in the first place as now Flynn is shown to be right as Rittenhouse has won. I’m curious to see how they deal with this and how our Team will fight back. The story ends with a dark twist, whether it is Jiya seeing a destroyed San Francisco in a vision, the arrest of Flynn and the reveal that Lucy’s parents are high up in Rittenhouse. Can’t wait to see what they do with this show in Season 2.

Final Score: 9.7 / 10

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“The Librarians” Season 1 – An Amazing Show That Takes the Best Aspects of “Indiana Jones” and “Doctor Who”

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   “The Librarians” is such a great series. Never have I watched a series that captures the fun, adventure and hope of humanity so well since “Doctor Who,” and not only that it does it with the fun and camp adventure of “Indiana Jones.” Suffice to say, for my non-spoiler thoughts…Season 1 is worth checking out if you are a fan of any of the media I mentioned above. The show was born out of two made for tv movies on TNT, both of which I’ll be checking out later.

    The series was created by John Rodgers and airs on TNT.

    The story involves the Librarian Flynn (Noah Flynn) being forced to have another Guardian in the Special Forces NATO soldier Colonel Eve Baird (Rebecca Romijn) and taking on apprentices when the Library chooses them knowing challenges are coming to it’s existence.

SPOILERS ahead

The Pros: The World – The world is fantastic! There are magical beings, monsters, treaties, spells, alternate dimensions and characters out of stories as well as the fascinating characters who inhabit these worlds.

The Soundtrack – The soundtrack has a hopeful epic quality to it, much like “Doctor Who” with elements of “Indiana Jones” thrown in for good measure. Joseph LoDuca did a great job composing the score.

The Mythology – The mythology is fantastic as we have characters out of Aurthurian Legend shape the world around them. From Morgan La Fey and her trying to escape from our world, from Galahad working with the Library and Lancelot trying to bring back Camelot at it’s height. It is a rich mythology that is the core of the show including the timelessness of “The Library” and the different myths and legends that the Librarians explore.

Adventure – The sense of adventure is one of the strongest parts of this show. It kicks off this way with the pilot and stays true throughout as we travel through time, adventures, ancient temples and magical realms. It is absolutely a fun ride.

The Characters – The characters are the strongest part of the show, each of them has great motivations behind what they do and are not as simple as they first appear to be. These are the ones who carry the show.

Lamia – Lamia is Dulaque’s second-in-command and is a great threat as she takes control of Excalibur and King Arthur’s Crown and uses it to bring magic into the world. Sadly Dulaque kills her in the end to bring back his height of power but we do see her as Cassandra’s second-in-command in an alternate future where Dragons have destroyed everything.

Santa Claus – Bruce Campbell plays Santa and he’s a lot of fun. He manages to capture all the variations of the archetype through time, from St. Nick, to Santa and all the way back to Thor. I kind of hope we see him again, Campbell clearly had fun with the role.

Morgan La Fey –  Alicia Witt does an amazing job at creating a powerful and sympathetic Morgan La Fey. From her history with Jenkins, to Eve being the only one to hurt her in centuries and her desiring escape rather than power. This is a character with dimension who I can’t wait to see again.

Jenkins / Galahad – John Larroquette is great in the mentor role as Galahad/Jenkins the overseer of the Library who help the Librarians train up and to grow. His arc is choosing to fight again after he’s retreated into his work because of how much life/Morgan La Fey/Lancelot have hurt him. It takes his relationship to Eve and the Librarians to find himself again and become the hero of old once more.

Dulaque / Lancelot – Dulaque is a great threat, and I wish we had had more time with him. We see him attempt to overthrow the Library in the Conclave of the magical organizations. He is both a strong threat magically as well as physically. We also see a man who is desperate for the good old days of old, which gives him dimension as every conversation with Galahad reveals that it was his idealism that lead to his fall. Like in the book, Lancelot is a tragic figure.

Jacob – Jacob is a Texan the Library calls who has a love of art and culture and huge tie to family obligation. His arc is finding adventure and learning to see a world outside of his family as well as trust his team. Christian Kane really does a good job. He becomes The Librarian in a post-apocalyptic war reality.

Ezekiel – Ezekiel is a thief and this comes in handy on multiple occasions as he is already his worst self so his arc is finding his nobility and best self. We see this happen over time as he helps Cassandra get past her guilt and is a key player in most of the stories. The character annoyed me at first but he is now a favorite. His arc is fantastic and I liked his sci. fi. Librarian in the reality where ghosts had taken over. John Kim did an amazing job in the role.

Cassandra – Cassandra is one of the new librarians who has a tumor in her brain that helps her visualize thoughts and patterns. She is a great character who starts out betraying the Librarians an the Library but fights for them in the end and spends her arc earning back their trust and making peace with her death that will eventually come. Her story is powerful and Lindy Booth lends the role so much power. In the dimension where she is The Librarian she is a powerful magician who was trained by Morgan La Fey and uses her magic to pull all the other Librarians from their dimension bringing the team together for the final fight against Dulaque.

Colonel Eve Baird – Eve is a skeptic who becomes a believer in magic over the course of the show and has to learn how to be a leader but not necessarily a soldier, as none of the Librarians have any military training. It is when she thinks outside the box as Guardian that we see her really flourish. It is thanks to her that the Universe is saved and the Loom of Fate restored to normal as she helps Flynn find his power once as the Librarian and empowers as the other Librarians in the realities where they are the only Librarian. Rebecca Romijn is a great actress.

Flynn – Noah Wyle could play an american Doctor in “Doctor Who,” his role as the Librarian who kicks everything off is imbued with the love of adventure, arrogance and courage in the face of world ending threats. He was the character who got me hooked on the show and it is thanks to him I came to care about the other Librarians. I can’t wait to see what happens in Season 2 as we see how his arc of becoming a mentor and team player pays off in the long term of this series.

Okay / Cons: Too Pulp At Times – There are some episodes where the camp dialogue almost makes the show too campy. What counters this and why I’m not putting it as a complete con is that the characters are compelling enough to get around some of the hokey dialogue and threats.

The Cons: Will Death Happen? – Eve is brought back to life when Flynn brings back the Library. My fear with this is that we will get into “Doctor Who” territory where no one dies so the villains never end up feeling like a threat. They felt like a threat this season so maybe this won’t be an issue, but Eve’s resurrection at the end was an issue for me as related to future stories.

  This is overwhelmingly a solid show and even though I have fears that death won’t mean anything (which is the same problem I have with “Doctor Who” and some writing choices Moffat pulled). The characters overwhelmingly carry the show through the moments of really camp writing and I love all of the Librarians. Each of them is compelling and gets developed into a fully 3 Dimensional character. I can’t wait to watch Season 2 and learn some more of Flynn’s backstory in the TNT films. Suffice to say, I highly recommend this first season of this series.

Final Score: 9.6 / 10