Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Review: Timeless

Like a lot of people, I love time travel. I’ve written nine time-travel novels and read or watched everything from A Sound of Thunder, Timeline, and The Time Machine to Outlander, Somewhere in Time, and The Time Traveler’s Wife. In short, I can’t get enough of it.

So when I heard that NBC was rolling out a new time-travel series called Timeless, I knew I had to check it out. As it turned out, the series, or at least its first episode, lived up to its considerable hype.

Goran Visnjic stars as a sophisticated criminal who steals a time machine in order to change the course of American history and destroy the country. In last night’s series pilot, he goes back to May 6, 1937, in an attempt to prevent the Hindenburg disaster.

Kept in the dark until Visnjic takes the time machine from the private company that developed it, the Department of Homeland Security quickly assembles and deploys a team to retrieve the criminal and the device. The team includes a history professor (Abigail Spencer), a soldier (Matt Lanter), and a scientist (Malcolm Barrett).

Almost from the beginning, the best-laid plans go astray for both the hunters and their prey. People live who were not supposed to live, timelines are changed, and little is resolved. The butterfly effect and the grandfather paradox are trotted out like show ponies.

There were a few things I didn’t like about the pilot. Timeless relied heavily on trendy sayings and cliches and its pursuers more often resembled cookie-cutter action heroes than normal human beings, but the story itself was superb and the visuals arresting.

I have been looking for a quality television show to watch since Downton Abbey faded into the English countryside last season. Thanks to NBC, I think I’ve found it. Rating: 5/5.

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