NBC’s American sci-fi drama aired on E4 at 9pm on Wednesday 14th December. Timeless follows the story of a group of unlikely heroes as they attempt to stop a mysterious terrorist who is setting out to rewrite American history by means of time travel after allegedly killing his wife and child.
Lucy Preston (Abigail Spencer) is a struggling history professor who is trying to fulfil the wishes of her mother. Sergeant Wyatt (Matt Lanter) is a widowed U.S. Army operative who is still trying to recover from his wife’s tragic death. Rufus Carlin (Malcolm Barrett), a programmer assigned to pilot the prototype time machine. The three join forces and set off together to defeat master criminal Garcia Flynn (Goran Višnjić) in this adventure-fuelled show.
The first episode of the series begins by showing how a time machine is stolen by a criminal named Garcia Flynn who goes back in time to the Hindenburg disaster of 1937. Flynn prepares to bomb the airship when it is carrying important Americans over to the Coronation of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth, so that the disaster has an even more profound impact on present day. Switching back to the perspective of current day, the head of Mason industry (the company that created the time machine) finds that there is still an earlier prototype model of the time machine available to use, so allows the trio to use the machine to try and stop Flynn.
Whilst the idea of travelling and messing with the past is not entirely original, the show does feature a game-changing rule that shows you cannot go back to a time when you already exist or revisit a time period you’ve already travelled back to. To some extent, this helps with plot continuity as it explains why the trio cannot simply go back to the previous day and stop the machine from being stolen.
Throughout the first episode, it becomes apparent that altering part of the past seem to have a drastic impact on the trio’s own personal lives. After a rather unsuccessful venture into the past, Lucy arrives home to find that her previously ill mother is now perfectly healthy, but her younger sister no longer exists.
The overarching storyline seems to emphasise the dangers of time-travel and how small decisions can trigger a sequence of events. Overall, it is a good adventure show, but probably the kind of show you’d have loved when you were younger. The story’s humorous undertone and interesting storyline is just about interesting enough to cover up the rather awkward dialogue and two-dimensional characters.
To its credit, Timeless is wonderfully designed and it’s clear from the detailed costumes and set that the production value is high. So if you can overlook the small flaws and are a fan of the concept of time-travel and tampering with the past, then maybe Timeless is the show for you.