NBC’s Timeless is a playfully fun B-movie television show that provides a nice counterpoint to the heavier Fall TV dramas
Things move very quickly in Timeless, NBC’s new time-hopping drama. It wastes no time getting its characters into period garb and throwing around modern references in the 1930’s. In short, Timeless wants to be a fun, jaunty good time, and it pretty much delivers.
The plots of time travel sagas start with a simple concept but, of course, the details make everything much more complicated. In this show, a trio of specialists are brought together to stop a madman from re-writing history. Abigail Spencer plays Lucy Preston, a history teacher with a very sick mother at home. She’s joined by Wyatt Logan (Matt Lanter), a soldier with a dead wife sob story, and Rufus (Malcolm Barrett), a scientist. Hey, if all this time travel doesn’t work out, the three of them can start a band: Please welcome to the stage, Lucy, Wyatt and Rufus! The instructions from the government aren’t really that detailed: “Jump in this prototype time machine and stop this crazy dude from ruining, you know, everything!” I’ve taken more time reading the instructions on the back of a bag of Pop Secret, but at least Timeless gets us to the action ASAP.
Garcia Fynn, the mysterious criminal, is played by Goran Visjnic, and the last time I watched him in a television show, he had no chemistry with Halle Berry. Trust me, I want these three to stop him as much as Homeland Security does. He steals the time traveling mothership (which looks a lot like a ping pong eyeball with flashing Tron pinstripes), and heads back to 1937–just in time to watch the Hindenburg crash and burn.
Perhaps focusing on one major time travel would make it seem less like the characters are going to be spending a lot of time in a Spirit Halloween store (next week’s promo shows the Lincoln assassination), and I really hope that Rufus’ main contribution isn’t going to be distracting the racist townspeople because he’s black and Lucy and Wyatt do more major stuff. Spencer is charming and eager, and Lanter is sure to have his admirers thanks to his brooding five o’clock shadow. (Sweet merciful network gods don’t force them to be a couple. Just let them be two professional people trying to save the world!) Barrett might be the best character since he’s the one who genuinely voices how crazy this all is.
Timeless is playful in a corny, B-movie way, and it’s a nice distraction from a lot of heavier realistic dramas that have debuted this season. It’s the one show I’ve seen so far this season that wants to entertain you, and it succeeds. It’s loose and quick and mostly concerns itself with delivering a good time.