Timeless, starring Abigail Spencer, Matt Lanter, and Malcolm Barrett, is an ambitious sci-fi drama that crafts a tapestry of history, action, and speculative fiction.
The show is an exhilarating journey through significant epochs of American and world history, using a time-travelling trio as our guides.
With a suspenseful plotline, nuanced characters, and meticulous historical reenactments, it's a rare series that also educates and provokes thought.
What Is Timeless About?
In a nutshell, Lucy Preston is a history professor who is asked to take part in a very secretive job. That job is to accompany Wyatt Logan (a soldier) and Rufus Carlin (an engineer) on time-travelling missions.
A company called Mason Industries has cracked the code to time travel and has created two time machines. The first has been stolen by Garcia Flynn who is heading back to 1937 for the Hindenburg disaster so the team must use the backup to follow and stop him from changing history.
And that's ultimately the premise of the show. Each episode focuses on a different time, place and major historical event.
So we get to see the Time Team travel to Nazi Germany or meet Benedict Arnold. They travel back to 1865 and the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, 1934 with Bonnie and Clyde, 1882 to the death of Jesse James – you get the idea.
Which begs the question, why would Flynn, played by Goran Višnjić, want to change history?
Well, that's sort of complicated. The real bad guys in Timeless are a faceless organisation called Rittenhouse.
If they can alter history then they can create a present day in which they rule the world from behind the scenes.
Flynn's family were murdered by Rittenhouse and he is now trying to go back in time and change history so that they are never killed. However, you cannot travel to a time or place in which you already existed.
That means he can't just hop back a few years and stop it. So instead he must go through time trying to change events that would have led to the death of his family.
Timeless Official Trailer
Is Timeless Worth Watching?
Across its run, the series manages to weave an overarching narrative that explores the moral ambiguities of time travel. Despite the procedural “era-of-the-week” format, the series often ends episodes on cliffhangers, compelling you to see how the altering of past events might ripple through time.
One of the most commendable aspects of Timeless is its dedication to historical accuracy. The show brings different eras to life with meticulous attention to detail in costumes, dialogues, and social norms of the time.
Each main character experiences significant growth throughout the series. Their experiences during their time-travelling adventures make for compelling arcs that add depth to the narrative.
Plus the show successfully raises questions about the ethics of time travel, the impact of history on present-day society, and vice versa. It often provides commentary on social issues like race, gender equality, and patriotism, making it intellectually engaging.
However, the series sometimes struggles with pacing, particularly when it attempts to juggle the “era-of-the-week” procedural elements with its overarching narrative.
And though the show generally maintains interest, it sometimes falls into the trap of repetitive storytelling, where similar scenarios are played out in different historical settings without much variation. So it becomes a little ‘samey'.
All that said, it's engaging and entertaining even if it did get cut short way too soon.
How Many Seasons Of Timeless?
Only two seasons of Timeless were made. With some cliffhangers at the end of the second season, a TV movie was made to wrap everything up.
The first season introduces the main characters and the concept of time travel.
The team chases Flynn through various eras, all while uncovering clues about a mysterious organisation known as Rittenhouse that seems to manipulate history.
It also becomes clear how Flynn knows about his family with a bigger twist about Jessica's killer.
In 2018, the series delves deeper into the operations of Rittenhouse and its connection to the main characters.
The season focuses on the group's attempts to dismantle the organisation while also having to save Rufus as it explores the personal lives and regrets of the characters.
After the series was cancelled, a two-hour movie aired in December 2018 to provide closure to the story.
The film wraps up loose ends and offers a satisfying conclusion to the show’s narrative.
Why Was Timeless Cancelled?
Timeless was cancelled largely due to low ratings and viewership numbers. Despite having a dedicated fan base and critical acclaim for its storytelling and character development, the series struggled to maintain a strong viewership.
This is often a decisive factor for networks when determining whether to continue a series. The show initially aired on NBC, and even after being cancelled at the end of its first season in 2017, fan outcry was so significant that the network reversed its decision and renewed it for a second season.
However, the second season also struggled with ratings, leading to its cancellation once again in 2018.
It's worth noting that producing a time-travel show like Timeless can be expensive, due to the costs associated with creating various historical eras, including costumes, sets, and special effects.
When a show with high production costs fails to attract a large audience, it becomes difficult to justify its continuation from a financial standpoint.
Timeless TV Series Cast
Abigail Spencer as Lucy Preston, a history professor and leader of the team
Matt Lanter as Master Sergeant Wyatt Logan, a United States Army Delta Force officer on the time team
Malcolm Barrett as Rufus Carlin, a programmer and pilot of the time travel machine
Paterson Joseph as Connor Mason, head of Mason Industries, creator of the time machines
Sakina Jaffrey as Denise Christopher, the Department of Homeland Security agent in charge of the “Lifeboat” team
Claudia Doumit as Jiya Marri, a talented young programmer at Mason Industries.
Goran Višnjić as Garcia Flynn, an ex-National Security Agency asset turned terrorist whom the team chases when he steals the “Mothership”.
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