Or Nah? is a feature where we watch and review the first episode of a new TV show. We’ll let you know if it’s worth checking out. As always, these reviews are the opinion of the reviewer, but we’ll try to adequately explain why you should or shouldn’t give the show a chance and provide shows for comparison.
What’s it about?
The United States government recruits a scientist, Rufus Carlin, a history professor, Lucy Preston, and a solider, Wyatt Logan, to utilize their collective expertise to travel back in time to stop a seemingly ruthless criminal, Garcia Flynn, from altering the past.
Unbeknownst to the U.S. government, scientist Connor Mason invents a time machine, only to have it stolen by Flynn, who just only a year ago killed his wife and child. Lucy, Wyatt, and Rufus follow Flynn back to the Hindenburg disaster of 1937 using another one of Mason’s time machines. As Lucy so eloquently explains, the German airship exploded during the crew’s attempts to dock it due to the static electricity that was created by the landing ropes being dragged through damp grass. For reasons unknown to the team, Flynn prevents the documented 36 causalities of this catastrophe by advising the crew to not allow the ropes to touch the ground.
With the Hindenburg now set to fly key players in subsequent historical events back to Europe, Lucy figures out that Flynn only wished to delay the disaster by a few days to kill people significant to American history, such as Omar Bradley. The team is able to thwart Flynn’s plan, but Lucy begins to ponder his true intentions after he reveals her journal seemingly from the future and implores her to ask the government the real reason she was chosen for the mission.
The trio returns to the present day in which Lucy distressingly discovers that her previously dying mother is perfectly healthy, but that her sister Amy no longer exists. The episode ends with the trio being recruited to once again follow Flynn to another past historical event.
Unlike other time travel shows, Timeless involves actual past historical events as opposed to dealing with a completely fictional world. I enjoyed learning about the Hindenburg disaster and the causations behind it. From the previews, it appears that the audience will receive a history lesson each week as the trio travels to events like the Lincoln assassination.
Furthermore, Timeless does not shy away from the ugly components of American history. It was unsettling to see Rufus be so uncomfortable in his black skin and for him to be addressed as “boy,” but that is true to the culture of 1937 America. Sadly, this further reminds me of how in some aspects America has not changed in present day.
What didn’t work?
Throughout the episode, I never really felt like the trio was a true team. There is some sexual tension between Lucy and Wyatt that I am for certain the show will play with throughout the season. These borderline filtrations come at a cost to the overall team dynamic. It feels more like a duo plus one rather than a trio. However, this distance may have been formulated on purpose since it is revealed towards the end of the episode that Rufus is reporting back to Mason with recordings of Lucy and Wyatt.
The premise is not an entirely new concept. As I was watching, I was reminded of Legends of Tomorrow and make comparisons along the way. I might have been more intrigued by the “go back in time to save the future” premise if Legends was not so freshly on my mind. Additionally, it was not made very clear how the trio’s skill set could be put to practical use in stopping an armed villain like Flynn.
Although I did find Timeless entertaining, it is not novel or captivating enough to be added to my DVR recordings. I didn’t care enough about Lucy’s misfortune, Flynn’s next move, or Rufus’s scheming to want to tune in again next week.
Timeless series premiere
I would suggest watching Timeless if you are a major fan of anything relating to time travel. Just don’t expect anything too nuanced.