Tag: TV

Latest Series Binged– Travelers. Intriguing but what happened in . . .

. . . Episode 10? 

And with the end?

My initial thought was the series is a mashup of the movie Millennium and my concept in The Rock, where time travelers from the future try to change the past to stop their current awful present. Of course, I’m not the only one to have that time travel concept, but hey, there are only so many ideas.

If you’ve never seen Millennium, it stars Kris Kristofferson and Cheryl Ladd.  Seriously. Don’t let that turn you off; it’s actually kind of interesting and worth a see. The small touches are always nice; such as Ladd, the traveler from the future, having to smoke all the time because our air has too much oxygen for her.

But back to Episode 10. Which also features a plane. I’m trying not to give spoilers away, but seriously? You expect us to believe MacLeran just hung on, given the impact? And wasn’t turned into smoking protoplasm? At least do what Dan Simmons did in Hyperion with the cruciform or something. And then we were in MacCleran’s backstory so much in that episode it really dragged and took away from the momentum.

The season finale was a real cliff-hanger. Not as bad as who shot JR, and not as bad as last year’s Walking Dead, but it might have been a bit much to ask people to wait and wait. Of course, we’re now a generation of people who can’t wait for much.

Overall, though, I really liked it. Again, pleasantly surprised. Some really good writing on these scifi shows lately. I like the social worker character and what they did with Marcy in the reboot.

The last episode did hint at something very significant– a conflict between being guided by an AI quantum computer or by humans. Again, something I find fascinating and explored in Burners, where Dealer, the quantum computer, starts making decisions for the future of mankind. We probably won’t like a lot of those decisions. Then again, a lot of us aren’t too thrilled with our human decisions lately.  Just saying. After all, we’re irrational beings.

NBC’s TIMELESS. A review. Don’t try this at home.

Time Travel—one of the few topics I warn writers to stay away from. And, of course, am writing an entire series with it at the core. The other topic is the President and I have two books my President’s series, so do what I saw, not what I do!

NBC premiered Timeless this week and I watched it last night. Time Travel has been fodder for TV series as long as there has been TV. Anyone remember Time Tunnel?

Quantum Leap was a lot of fun, although it made little sense and, of course, jumped the shark near the end. But it was focused on emotion and feeling good.

I grew up with Sherman and Peabody. I love the trailer for it—but does he say Wolf of Wall Street or Woof of Wall Street?

img_3807Back to Timeless. It was getting a big push at Comic-Con in San Diego, where I was visiting my two future leaders of the Resistance Against the Machine, Riley and Haydn. We recently discovered that my writer’s brain dysfunction seems to have a special effect on babies and I’m the Haydn sleep magnet as seen to the right when he’s sleeping on my lap as I try to get some work done during his last visit.

Timeless also has been getting a big promo push on media. At first I wasn’t too impressed. It started with the obligatory character build up to make you care about them, but I’m sort of like: hey, I care about the time travel! Get to the characters later. One of the reasons I start my Time Patrol books with the burst of six action scenes from each of the missions. But that’s me.

I meander. Anyway, I don’t want to give away spoilers but it felt kind of cliché for two of the three character backgrounds. Rufus, apparently, didn’t have one, doesn’t need one, but near the end maybe he’s an enigma? The Delta Force guy was also pretty bad at close quarters battle, getting his butt kicked a lot. Of course there was a frying pan in one fight that brought up memories of Agnes and the Hitman.

The show got interesting in the last 15 minutes. Got no clue what the bad guy’s motive is. They threw out “stop the United States something something”. But Rufus also has a hidden agenda working for his boss, who invented the time machine. What’s intriguing is the bad guy might not be bad and the guy running the lab that invented time travel has some sort of hidden agenda and Rufus is involved in it.

As a writer, one thing struck me—the little girl with her mother on the Hindenburg. They showed her in the same scene twice, then getting off the craft when she was supposed to have died, so methinks she was important? BTW my father told me that when he was a boy, he saw the Hindenburg fly over New York City that day.

The twist in Timeless, and you must have a twist, is a good one: history is actually changed and thus when they return, their present is changed. For Lucy, the apparent protagonist, this produces a good news/bad news scenario that’s intriguing.

Worth watching.

Did You Watch Quantum Leap?

quantum leap“Theorizing that one could time travel within his own lifetime, Dr. Sam Beckett stepped into the Quantum Leap accelerator and vanished. He woke to find himself trapped in the past, facing mirror images that were not his own and driven by an unknown force to change history for the better. His only guide on this journey is Al, an observer from his own time, who appears in the form of a hologram that only Sam can see and hear. And so Dr. Beckett finds himself leaping from life to life, striving to put right what once went wrong, and hoping each time that his next leap will be the leap home.”

That’s a pretty good summary and the way every episode began. It ran from 1989 through 1993. By the end, they were starting to violate their own rules, but it’s TV. And here’s the deal on rules: they’re made to be broken. After all, even just watching the show you have the premise of time travel. Once you do that, what are the rules? It’s hard to remember all that stuff, even with a series “bible”. I just realized at the last minute editing the next Time Patrol book that I had violated one of my rules, actually two. I caught them and fixed them, but when you’re writing multiple story-lines, you’re juggling a lot. Add in multiple timelines, actually an infinite number, and you also have infinite possibilities.

Notice that Sam never jumped into somebody just sitting on the couch watching TV. Or a toll-taker on the NJ Turnpike. The casting was key. Scott Bakula was perfect for Sam. Dean Stockwell as Al worked really well– was hard seeing him in Battlestar Gallactica and not thinking of Al.

The essential premise though of putting right what once went wrong is a very common theme. Think of The Equalizer. Which has been redone how many times? They’re even remaking Magnificent Seven, although the previews leave me cold despite the star-studded cast as it seems more focused on violence and stunts than the ethics, which the original had at its anchor.

I digress, as I usually do.  My take is Quantum Leap was one of the better time travel shows. More emotion than brains, but emotion is more powerful than brains. After all, Kirk trumps Spock every time.

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