At some point in time, the average television viewer has suffered the premature cancellation of a favorite television show. In our current internet age, it is often well-publicized when a show is in danger of receiving the dreaded ax. Fans organize campaigns and create twitter hashtags in the hopes of attracting enough attention to their endangered show that the powers-that-be will reconsider and grant another season or, if the worst happens, that another network or streaming service will pick up the show. But, more often than not, these shows are cancelled far too soon. (RIP Firefly).
Such was the case for Timeless. It was cancelled in May. And then a few days later…it wasn’t! In an unheard of move, just days after cancelling Timeless, NBC changed course and renewed the show for a second season. #RenewTimeless had worked! It was a plot right out of the show. It was as if someone had travelled through time to right an egregious wrong. Everyone involved with Timeless swears the cancellation and subsequent renewal was NOT, in fact, a marketing ploy. They were as surprised and elated as fans to receive the news.
A Brief Introduction to the Story
Timeless follows historian Lucy, scientist Rufus, and soldier Wyatt, who travel through time each episode to prevent the mysterious Garcia Flynn from altering history. Each member of the team has a function: Lucy helps them navigate the historical periods while (hopefully) blending in. Rufus pilots the time machine. Wyatt provides protection and is tasked with catching Flynn. Yet, once they land in each unfamiliar time and place, they must work together as a team to do whatever is necessary to complete the mission at hand before returning to the present. The time machine they travel in is called the Life Boat — it’s the earlier version of the Mother Ship, a much more sophisticated time machine stolen by Flynn from tech company Mason Industries at the outset the series.
TIMELESS — “Pilot” — Pictured: (l-r) Matt Lanter as Wyatt Logan, Malcolm Barrett as Rufus Carlin and Abigail Spencer as Lucy Preston. Photo by Joe Lederer/NBC / 2016 NBCUniversal Media, LLC
The TimeTeam (a nickname bestowed by online fans) essentially chases Flynn through a different historical setting each episode as he endeavors to carry-out his mysterious mission. At each point in the past, he tries to complete a different task that will alter the present. His reasons and motivations are slowly revealed as the season progresses, so I will not spoil them here. The TimeTeam is helped back in the present by two strong female characters — Homeland Security’s Agent Christopher and Mason Industries’ scientist Jiya — both of whom become increasingly interesting and involved in the story as the season progresses. Agent Christopher and Jiya are joined at Mason Industries headquarters by Connor Mason, the man who created the time machine. Mason also remains somewhat a mystery, his place in the story revealed as the season goes on.
Throw in a government conspiracy, several life and death situations, a love story or two, and Flynn’s insistence that if Lucy knew the whole story she would be helping him, and you’ve got the basic premise of Timeless.
Why You Should Be Watching
The story is unpredictable. The team’s success at carrying out each mission to stop Flynn from altering history varies with each episode. It is not a given that the good guys win. Sometimes they win, sometimes Flynn does. More often than not, history does get altered, at least a little, simply by virtue of the fact that they were there.
Each episode delves into real, actual history. A few of the historic events covered during the ambitious first season include the Hindenburg disaster, the assassination of President Lincoln, the Alamo, Watergate and the Space Race. We met Bonnie and Clyde, Harry Houdini, Ian Fleming, Benedict Arnold, Jesse James, Ernest Hemingway, and many others. I cannot wait to see what the writers tackle next season.
It involves a season-long mystery. Each episode takes place in both the past and present. Often, we see how something that happened on their travels has changed the present. The effects may be good, bad or comical. A vast and layered conspiracy is slowly revealed through the season in present day. Surprising revelations regarding how a few characters are connected to the conspiracy are also doled out as the season plays out.
This show is just plain fun for the viewer. The historical settings, period costumes, and attention to detail bring history alive. Telling the various stories changes the tone of the series week-to-week. Timeless has a little bit of everything: history, action, comedy, mystery, horror, romance, sci-fi… There is truly something for every viewer.
Creators Thank the Fans
The actors, writers, producers and creators of Timeless are very aware of the online support the show receives. Episodes are live-tweeted by many involved. At ComicCon last week, the creators of Timeless shared the following video as a ‘thank you’ to the fans who tried so hard to save their beloved show:
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Timeless has achieved what few shows ever have — resurrection from cancellation. That alone should intrigue the curious viewer into giving it a shot. The show does not return until 2018, so there is plenty of time to discover what you’ve been missing. The pilot episode, along with the final five episodes of the season, are available on Hulu and the NBC app and website. All episodes are available on iTunes. The entire season comes out on DVD in September. Search it out and find out what you’ve been missing. It’ll be a fun ride.