This by-the-numbers time-travel drama disappoints.
History professor Lucy Preston is recruited by the government for an incredible mission: stop terrorists from altering history. Terrorist leader Flynn has stolen a top-secret time-travel device, and Lucy, along with rogue Delta Force soldier Wyatt Logan and African-American pilot/engineer Rufus Carlin, are sent chasing him through time, trying to figure out Flynn’s ultimate goal, while stopping him from changing the past and harming the present. But while foiling Flynn, the team learns that their own actions also affect the past, and their own private lives…
The first episode of Timeless contained a fair amount of violence, with Flynn and Wyatt stabbing and gunning down various guards, terrorists, and civilians, and engaging in brutal fight scenes. There were also some sexual references (the show demonstrates Lucy’s brilliance as a history professor by showing her lecture her college class on the size of President Johnson’s genitals) and profanities like “ass” and “bitch.” Also, while in the past, Rufus is frequently the target of racist slurs and abuse.
Time travel has become a familiar device in popular entertainment, from science-fiction TV dramas like Quantum Leap, Sliders, and Doctor Who to movie comedies like Back to the Future, Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure, and Hot Tub Time Machine. With its familiar “stop the bad guy from changing history” structure, Timeless aims for the lowest common denominator. In a world where audiences are increasingly sophisticated about science-fiction and fantasy concepts, Timeless is nothing sci-fi fans haven’t seen done before — and done better.
Timeless premieres Monday, October 3 at 10:00 p.m. on NBC.