August 14, 2020
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While I can debate anybody for hours on end about the time travel breadcrumbs that Mr. Robot is most likely leaving around it’s plot in oh so subtle clues. As NBC’s Timeless ends it’s wacky ride through history, it is the first broadcast television show in a slew of time travel shows tailor-made for a new generation. Even if none of these new shows look any better.

Yes, with timeless you have to go in knowing that you have to suspend disbelief. I see it as a mix between Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Sliders. There are plenty of problems with the timeline however. And they never cared about trying to fix the damage they do to the timeline. There was that caution in perhaps the first two episodes, but now it’s a free for all. They go in killing way too many people close to actual history, who are just removed enough from the famous legends we all know. It’s a bit unbelievable, for example that the only sighting of our trio of time travelers throughout all of this is in a NASA basement… They left no footprints in the sand even after dealing with people like Abraham Lincoln and permanently damaging the story of the Lone Ranger.

The caution about messing up the timeline vanished once bad guy Flynn killed Lincoln. Replaced by that sheer American bravado which works well enough. However, it is getting dangerously close to paradoxes that could or could not destroy the universe if whatever event that they messed up didn’t turn out the way it really happened. You could even say that it jumped the shark in episode two with the assassination of Lincoln. I am shocked that nothing more drastic other than Lucy losing her sister, happened in modern times. Are you telling me that if John Wilkes Booth didn’t kill Lincoln, the universe would be A-OK with that??? Or what about if Charles Lindberg suddenly vanished, didn’t land in Paris, and took credit for doing so anyway? You can’t tell me that in the absence of those iconic pictures of him landing in Paris, plane travel and innovation wouldn’t be drastically affected throughout the rest of history. Of course, I am probably over thinking this.

Throughout the series, only two characters’ lives were drastically affected by changes in the timeline. Lucy, and Agent Christopher. Obviously, Agent Christopher knows that her life can be messed up due to this, but it’s like the other characters don’t even seem to mind. That or they have no lives? But if they have no lives, why aren’t they not suddenly living life? Why does Wyatt still remember his wife? How can Rufus or anybody maintain a relationship? How could you even have a stable relationship with someone who works so close to time travel knowing that in any new timeline they could end up in a different relationship living a different life? Maybe that’s way too complex for this show and most audiences to understand though and that’s why they shy away from all that.

I get that Lucy is the main character, but if a time travel story is to be more believable they should have madeĀ some stuff start happen to the other characters, too! No I am not talking about relationship drama and Rittenhouse spies. We know nothing of any of the other team member’s personal lives and Agent Christopher is hardly a main character. That being said, the episode where Wyatt tries to kill his wife’s killer, by preventing his conception was generally a let down.

That being said, what Timeless did well was it blurred the lines between good and evil. A line that even the best shows in history don’t do well with. I’m looking at you Breaking Bad! In most shows you know who the bad guys are and you know who to root for. In Timeless it wasn’t so easy to tell. You had Flynn who stole a time machine in order to track down Rittenhouse, an evil organization that seems to be behind everything in history. You had Lucy and Wyatt’s team go in to try to stop Flynn from killing members of Rittenhouse and stop him from changing history. But that’s the question the lurked in my mind for most of the series. If Rittenhouse is so powerful that so many iconic people are members or have interacted with it. Then, it’s the timeline already corrupted? Lucy often asked this question and wondered why the team wasn’t in fact helping Flynn get rid of Rittenhouse! So while the show portrayed our team as good guys, they seemed to be on the wrong side of history here.

After watching the Finale, which didn’t have any more substance to it than the rest of the series. It completed the Flynn storyline (not Rittenhouse’s) with just as much inconsistencies and holes as other episodes had. Maybe more. At least this time, they didn’t do much damage to actual historic events. Just to themselves. They set up a little spoiler tidbit for where season 2 could go which might hint to time travel into the future! Jiya went with them to help out Rufus and now she is experiencing some type of effects from time traveling with four people in the lifeboat. Whether her visions are glimpses into the future or glimpses of other dimensions remains to be seen and could be really exciting to explore in season 2.

However, that might change the show too much from what it is now.

Overall I loved it. I think Wyatt (Matt Lanter) carried the entire show and I didn’t like his character at first. It was a fun ride and that’s really the best way to describe the show. I enjoyed it and looked forward to it every week and it is an original piece of work that was very different from anything really on TV right now. Some more Time Travel shows are coming from other networks with the same feels, and the Netflix stuff took a more serious approach to things like this. So it is refreshing to see another show that can have fun with itself and not take itself too seriously, like Timeless did.

That being said, I honestly wouldn’t feel too empty if the show doesn’t get renewed for Season 2. I thought the story as light as it was has been pretty much told. As mentioned in my spoiler, if they are hinting at time travel into the future. It can’t go from popcorn actiony flick to 12 Monkeyish. That would ruin the flavor. All we can do for now is wait until April-May, I guess to see if the execs over at NBC have room for a little bit more creativity in their Monday night lineup again. In the past the show’s saving grace might have been that it can be labelled as a sci-fi procedural and procedurals are great cash cows for syndication not to mention franchise builders, but I think Netflix’s Travellers has the edge there. The other time travel shows that are coming out don’t seem to be procedurals.

Though, Time After Time easily could be. I’m just not sure how or what they will do each week chasing Jack the Ripper. At least Timeless has a larger universe to play in.

John J. Falco