Monday, September 24, 2007

Quantum Leaps into Journeyman on NBC!

I love time travel - hey, I've written one novel, The Plot to Save Socrates, which is completely time travel, and another, Borrowed Tides, in which time travel plays a role, and I've written half a dozen time travel stories, some of which have been nominated for awards, one of which was made into an award-nominated radio play and a low-budget movie* ... so, you can see how much I love the genre.

Among my favorite episodes of Star Trek are "The City on the Edge of Forever" (Star Trek: The Original Series) and "Yesterday's Enterprise" (Star Trek: The Next Generation). 12 Monkeys is one of my all-time favorite movies, and I really liked Deja Vu, too. And if we're talking classic science fiction, well, Isaac Asimov's The End of Eternity is one of my all-time favorite novels, and Robert Heinlein's Door into Summer is right up there, too...

So, how does Journeyman stack up?

Well, it's off to a pretty good start.

Dan Vasser gets yanked around in time. Kevin McKidd plays the role well, and does have a timeless quality - likely because he was so memorable as Rome's Vorenus on HBO.

The getting yanked around gives Journeyman a Quantum Leapish flavor - and Quantum Leap was a pretty good series - but I have a feeling Journeyman will be better. Quantum Leap was mostly the story of the leaps, and only rarely (and powerfully) told the story of the leaper, Sam Beckett. But Journeyman, at least in the first episode, was if anything a little more focused on Vasser's story - more focused on that than the situation in the past he had to resolve (sent to do that by whomever or whatever, we do not quite know, as yet).

Since Dan Vasser's story looks pretty interesting, keeping that on the center stage of Journeyman looks to be a good move. The woman he was going to marry was killed on a plane crash. Moon Bloodgood as Livia Beale looks almost as scintillating as she did in ABC's shortlived Daybreak, and that's good, too. Turns out she was not killed, but is also part of this time-yanking business - I realized that a minute or so before it was revealed - and that's the kind of set-up I like to see in a time-travel story. Dan was already being touched by time travel 10 years before our story began tonight.

Meanwhile, Dan married Katie, who ten years ago was involved with Jack Vasser, Dan's brother. This also creates the makings of a nice hornet's nest of tension.

I also liked the way Journeyman handles gadgets. It looks like Dan has an iPhone in the present - he turns it sideways to see a video - and when he takes it or whatever cell phone it was to the past, the screen suddenly tells us no network. Hey, you don't have to travel to the past to get that message, but it was a nice touch.

I have high hopes for this series, and I'm looking forward to next week. I think Journeyman has the potential to be one of the best time-travel series ever on television...

*That would be "The Chronology Protection Case", the trailer for which you can see right here ...

and here's a free podcast of the complete radio play...

See also my reviews of Kevin McKidd as Vorenus in HBO's Rome

and my reviews of other Journeyman episodes ... 2 ... 3 ... 4 ... 5 ... 6 ...7 ... 8 ... 9. Dan Unravels His Present ... 10. Jack's In! ... 11. Livia's Beau//Save the Newspaper, Save the World ... 12. The Perfect Time Travel Story ... Lucky 13

8-minute podcast analysis of Journeyman

The Plot to Save Socrates

"challenging fun" - Entertainment Weekly

"a Da Vinci-esque thriller" - New York Daily News

"Sierra Waters is sexy as hell" - curled up with a good book
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