There are some shows on the streamz that I have to take a sip at a time. Ozark, Breaking Bad, even Daredevil. There’s an intensity to them that precludes consuming the series in a long binge.
Travelers is the opposite. I have to stop myself watching back to back episodes so that I don’t rush through an entire season and find myself enraged that there’s no more to be had.
It’s on Netflix in Oz, so not everyone will have seen it, but for me it’s one of those shows that makes subscription TV worth the money. This is the sort of show that would've run on the Ten Network when it was cool. And they’d have destroyed it with ads and schedule changes and getting a couple of eps out of order because that’s how they roll.
The premise is cool. Time travelers are sent back from a doomed future to change the past. But they can’t return in corporeal form, only their minds can make the journey – into the host bodies of people already living here in the 21st century. (Or simply The 21st, as it’s known in the show). The transfer overwrites the original mind, effectively killing the host. Travelers are thus inserted into hosts who are about to die before their time.
It’s a neat narrative ploy which unfolds into ever more complicated origami forms of story telling as the show goes on. Characters can be ‘killed’ simply by overwrite. It’s a great screen writer trick.
Eric McCormack (Will, in Will and Grace) leads the ensemble cast of travelers in his team, and does a great job. I never watched W&G so I had no trouble imagining him into the role of a very straight FBI agent—his relationship with his wife after overwriting is a key driver of the series. The other cast members fill out a Joss Whedon-style ‘band of five’ and every episode sees them even some new mission by The Director, to save the future.
It sounds dumb, and it is magnificently, compellingly, addictively dumb and enormous fun because of it. Season One was a good set up. Season Two is much stronger, with real character development inside the team, a solid meta-narrative setting up a worthy nemesis within the mythology of the series, and lots of splodey goodness.
There’s always lots of splodey goodness.
I only have a couple of eps left and I’m already feeling pre-emptive withdrawal.