Time travel returns to television with the debut tonight of Timeless on NBC and the October 5 premiere of Frequency on the CW, but neither series ever rises to do the H.G. Wells-coined expression and genre justice.
In fact, as I say in my video review above, the problem with both the Shawn Ryan and Eric Kripke- created series from the Comcast-owned net and the Jeremy Carver developed CW show is that they don’t really go anywhere. In a TV landscape where right now you have the strong era jumpers like Starz’s Outlander, Hulu’s 11.22.63 and of course the gold standard Time Lord of them all, BBC America’s Doctor Who, that’s a quantum leap off the narrative cliff – even more so when ABC’s Time After Time and Fox’s Making History are set to debut later this season.
You can hear more of my critique of Timeless and Frequency in the video review and where their respective butterfly effects go sideways. But, from what I’ve seen, another flaw in both shows is that they waste the talents of their leads Abigail Spencer and Peyton List.
In the reimagining of the 2000 flick of the same name starring Dennis Quad and Jin Caviezel, List portrays a 2016 NYPD detective who discovers she is able to speak to her long dead and supposedly corrupt NYPD detective father, played by Riley Smith, back in 1996 on a ham radio. There actually is an interesting daughter father relationship explored in Frequency but unfortunately, its signal gets frequently lost in the show.
As for Timeless‘ premise of Spencer’s resident historian, Matt Lanter’s soldier and Malcolm Barrett’s scientist-chasing rogue NSA agent Flynn, played by Goran Višnjić, and his stolen time machine though history – well, the costumes are great but it all gets old rather fast despite some potentially interesting if not very original stops.
So, with time of the essence especially when it comes to Timeless‘ 10 PM post-The Voice debut tonight, click on my video review of the NBC show and Wednesday’s Frequency and tell us if you’ll be making the trip with either of them this week.