2016 was a year that many people wish came with an undo list and as we begin the New Year, those same people wish that they could somehow retreat to a happier time and place. Perhaps these feelings formant desires to fix past mistakes. As if only we could go back and change one little thing, then maybe things would be different now, maybe even better. But what if that happier time and place was here and now? Such a situation forms the premise for the Netflix science fiction TV series, Travelers (Trailer).
The past is history,
the future a mystery,
but today is a gift.
That is why it is called the present.
Time travel is such a well-worn troupe that by now it is hard to mine anything more of value from it. It is then a testament to this Canadian born show that it does so well with it. Hundreds of years in the future, after a sequence of catastrophes, humanity finds itself on the doorstep of extinction, when time travel is discovered. Teams of numbered travelers from the future project their consciousness back in time and into the bodies of host victims moments before the time of their recorded deaths. These travelers assume the identities of their hosts and then working as a team take on missions to change the future.
Creator Brad Wright’s Travelers revolves around one particular team of five that is led by a FBI agent (Eric McCormack) and comprise an intellectually disabled woman (MacKenzie Porter), an abused single mom (Nesta Cooper), a high school senior (Jared Abrahamson) and a heroin addict (Reilly Dolman), an eclectic group of people to be sure. Short on special effects for a Sci-Fi drama, this show makes the most out of the everyday difficulties that these foreigners find, while trying to fit into their newfound lives and our then modern times.
While they come from a dystopian future, where even a high school cafeteria’s cream corn tastes like a rare delicacy, the overall tone of the show is rather upbeat. The mantra that is voiced over in the trailer speaks to these character’s rather healthy sense of altruism. The team abides by a set of protocols that are reminiscent to Star Trek’s prime directive and the show is laced with humor. As in the casting-against-type of a school bus load of Reverend Jim Jones like octogenarians, whose bodies are repurposed as fire support for our team, at least while they’re not having to run off to the bathroom to pee again.
Travelers is not great TV, but it is enjoyable TV. It doesn’t make great demands upon its audience. What serious issues that are dealt with in this show are handled rather lightly. The action is not too rough and the tension is never too great. Think of it as comfort television that is pleasant to watch and escape with for a while to a happier place and time. What’s past is past and the future is unknown. So, on these cold winter nights enjoy this little present for now.