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“Timeless” is a time-traveling adventure procedural in which an unlikely trio of heroes follows history-changing criminals as they hop through significant events in world history.
Wyatt’s presence is in some ways the most intriguing; while Lucy knows apparently everything about every time period in history, and Rufus can get them through the loops of the space-time continuum, Wyatt is endearingly useless — only there to wave around a gun, brood over his emotions, and exercise white male privilege (handy for, among other things, getting into bars).
The show has a B-movie premise, action-adventure sensibilities, and a sense of humor about its own preposterous storytelling. “Timeless” is derivative and predictable in many of the pilot’s moments — Wyatt and Lucy start hate-flirting so quickly that you could put a timer on their sexual tension — but it’s injecting that formula with a perspective that gets that even the dumbest entertainment needs to understand its audience.
The pilot plants all kinds of seeds for future storylines — including the chilling reminder that every time Lucy, Rufus, and Wyatt fail to stop the criminals, something about their present goes weirdly awry.
Every now and then, a show comes along that is so ridiculous — so expansively silly — that it goes around the bend from meaningless to meaningful, from a blank canvas to one whose emptiness signifies something profound. It’s either unintentionally brilliant or unintentionally just very funny — a show that, like the film “The Core,” is so full of dramatic, pseudo-scientific non sequiturs that each begs to be examined, repeated, and hopefully one day cross-stitched onto samplers.
Because the procedural is so committed to its own absurd premise, it deserves to at least be gazed at for a moment, even if you don’t find it potentially significant.
But what is clear is that “Timeless”’ interest is not in exploring the metaphysical repercussions of time travel, or the lived reality of historical experience.
It’s smart enough to make the mechanics and facts of its premise just plausible enough, but its real interest of exploration are the details that are relevant to the audience — what it is like for us, with our current values and awareness, to enter into times that are so far removed from where we are now.
In the pilot episode, the historic event of note is the Hindenburg; the showrunners have promised future episodes around President Lincoln’s assassination, Nazi Germany, the Alamo, and Watergate.
In order for “Timeless” to make sense, the premiere episode has to establish a) that time travel exists; b) that criminals have stolen a time machine in order to change the course of history; and c) that the only way to stop them is if a professor of history, an ex-military agent, and a time-ship pilot band together to follow the thieves through the space-time continuum. — so quickly that it’s mere minutes before the three are in 1937 New Jersey, running around in old-timey clothes.
” The cast includes Abigail Spencer, Matt Lanter, Malcolm Barrett, Goran Visnjic, Paterson Joseph, Sakina Jaffrey and Claudia Doumit.
Kripke and Ryan are writers and exec producers, along with John Davis, John Fox, Marney Hochman and director Neil Marshall.
In “Timeless,” a mysterious criminal steals a secret state-of-the-art time machine, intent on destroying America as we know it by changing the past.