Update on TV watching for the new season ….


I gave some shows a try, but it is time to thin the herd.

First on my chopping block is American Housewife. I said initially that I wouldn’t try it, but gave it a go anyway. It was theoretically a comedy. I have no idea as I didn’t last three minutes before I was grinding my teeth. It was complete and utter pretentious crap.

I’m pulling the plug on Conviction. The show is okay, and could be a great Cold Case-lite clone, but it is just not pulling me in for the team. If it got down to just Hayes and the former gang ADA, I’d be watching.

I already pulled the plug on The Exorcist. Creepy, not sure where it was going for future episodes (freak of the week, or continuing intrigue of single storyline), but it just wasn’t there for me.

I wanted to like Frequency. Episode 1 was okay, and I liked the actress enough to come back for episode 2, but it too is just not jiving for me enough to keep going. Pass.

Lethal Weapon was just plain bad, done and gone in a single Ep for me.

Ditto for MacGyver.

No Tomorrow may be the one I hate myself for cutting. The main actress was SO charming in the pilot that it sucked me in. And I love the “change my life through a bucket list” premise, but not enough to work my way through the secondary characters who were driving me crazy. I’m out.

Notorious was the Revenge show for this year…scandalous, fast-moving, some interesting players, an overall mystery. But bad acting and bad writing. Cheesy. Enjoyable but you know it’s rotting your teeth. I’m going to improve my life and drop it.

This is Us may be them, but apparently it is not me. I watched the first, found a bit of it quirky, didn’t mind it, but two weeks later, I have no interest in what happens to any of the characters to watch Ep 2, except Gerald McRaney and he was only in Ep 1. Easy to cut.

Oh, and I totally forgot about Son of Zorn. Blech.

I’m sticking with Bull, Designated Survivor, Falling Water, Pitch, Timeless, Van Helsing for now, although I won’t be surprised if none of them make it to the end of the season.

I’m also still watching Arrow, Blue Bloods, Blacklist, BlindSpot, DC Legends of Tomorrow, Elementary, the Flash, Gotham, Grimm, Lucifer, NCIS, Quantico (barely), Rosewood, and Supergirl. In theory, I’m also tracking for future binging on 12 Monkeys, Dark Matter, Into the Badlands, Jessica Jones, Killjoys, The Librarians, Lucky Man, Marvel’s Agents of Shield, NCIS: LA and NO, Orphan Black, Scorpion, Shannara Chronicles, Shadowhunters, and Suits.

And I’m occasionally binge-watching Buffy, JAG, Moonlighting, Colony, and I just finished Luke Cage.

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Season premiere – DC Legends of Tomorrow – 2016/17


I knew of Batman (for Gotham), Superman (for Smallville), Green Arrow (for Arrow) and the Flash (for, well, The Flash). But I am not a huge comics fan for either DC or Marvel so lots of the recent spates of shows go beyond my knowledge. DC Legends of Tomorrow is in that category, never having heard of them as a group. But I love time travel shows and was enjoying some of the characters before they went wandering through time, so it was a no-brainer for me to start watching. I confess though that the ensemble approach leaves me a bit spread out in my support for the show, and it hovers on the “watch this week” vs. “catch it on binge later” toss-up line.

When the season ended last year, the producers didn’t know yet the fate of the show. It ended up moving to the CW, but they didn’t know that at the time so the final episode ended with a cliff-hanger…the ship is headed for the sun, likely to be destroyed, etc.

Episode 1 of Season 2? Picks up as if that episode never happened. Reminds me of the end of JAG Season 1 where Season 2 started off as if that episode never happened. Took them another 20 eps to figure out how to write it into the show. Instead, DCLoT starts with the ship trapped on the bottom of the ocean, and a professor coming to see Oliver Queen as Mayor and Green Arrow to help save the ship (the professor is an amateur time detective). They go to the ship, find one crew member, hear the story of how the team chased time gremlins for six months after the death of the time masters, and then ran up against Damian Dark, the reverse flash, and Nazis, only to have the ship hit with an atomic bomb. The team got scattered throughout time to save them (totally ridiculous explanation, with Palmer hanging out with Jurassic dinosaurs) and Sara trying to get vengeance for Laurel.

The episode was okay, but *spoiler alert* it ends with the Captain presumably lost, and the team set to go forward without him but with the new professor as the historical expert. As much as I am unsold on the ensemble, it only works for me if it stays stable. Predictable. Knowable. I have the same problem with Arrow this season — they’ve recruited a new team. Most of whom are likely to be fine, but really, I don’t care about their issues and their eventually-to-be-revealed backstory. I at least like the new Professor, just hope it doesn’t kill the show’s momentum as they devolve into a constant state of bickering about what to do next since nobody will be in charge.

Okay episode, not great.

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Season premiere – Supergirl – 2016/17


When Supergirl debuted last year, I wasn’t sure it was fully going to work. The “aw, shucks” innocence of Kara was hard to take without more backstory, but it was precisely that missing backstory that probably made it work. There are few “other” Supergirls to contend with…Laura Vandervoort played her on Smallville, and was decent but only amassed about a season’s worth of episodes overall, and often as a secondary character. And of course Helen Slater in the Supergirl movie. Let’s forget about her though. Which is easy to do. So, when Melissa Benoist started as SG last year, she had almost a clean slate.

But the first episode of Season 2? Her cousin stops by. Yep, Superman. Clark Kent. The Man of Steel. The big ICON that everyone knows. And honestly, I wasn’t that excited by it. Sure, the Flash stopped by last season, but that was Grant Gustin, who is already playing The Flash. This one is an entirely new Superman. A HUGE ROLE. For anyone.

I love Smallville, mostly as it focuses so much on the origin — how he learns to become Superman as opposed to “hey, look, I’m Superman today”. And Tom Welling was perfect in that role — not sure how I would like him in the suit, but as young Clark Kent, he was awesome. Other TV options include Dean Cain, George Reeves. In the movies, you have Henry Cavill, Brandon Routh, Christopher Reeve, or Bud Collyer. Sure, lots of others too, but those are the main ones. For me, Christopher Reeve was one of the few who got both Clark and Kal-El “right”. It’s really hard to not make Clark look “like” Superman, but not “like Superman”.

So who is the new Superman? Tyler Hoechlin. Wait, who? Sure, he might have been big on 7th Heaven or Teen Wolf, but I didn’t watch either. For me, he is brand new. And you know what?

I loved him. He is good as Superman…looks pretty young, almost a bit “youthful”. But he is GREAT as Clark Kent. Not bumbling, some steel in his role as reporter, confident, settled. The contrast with Kara was of course deliberate, but I was totally sold on him being Superman. Not like the others, all his own rendition. But believable. Totally in line with the way they have Kara written, with a bit more edge.

Overall, great episode. I’m not sure I want the entire series to be “Flying Cousins”, but for an occasional visit, it’s nice.

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Season premiere – Conviction – 2016/17


Back in the day, I used to love watching Cold Case. The twists, the turns, the realization that something someone said was taken out of context, misinterpreted, and it led cops in one direction that ended up going nowhere. Some twenty years later, they get a new clue, a fresh perspective, something, and it leads them off in a new direction. Often, the solution starts with someone admitting something they knew back in the day but didn’t share…like maybe the dead guy might have been cheating, but his buddy didn’t want to drag it out and destroy the memory at the time, but now, 20 years later, he’s willing to share. Less emotional trauma.

Conviction has a bit of the same premise, but instead of a case that was never solved, these are ones where the case WAS solved…except the person claims, even years later, that they were and are innocent of the crime, despite having been convicted. These aren’t Innocence Project cases where DNA might save them, these are high intensity cases where the person was tried, convicted, and everyone went home to a good night’s sleep. Except the convicted still claims innocence. Not claiming “not guilty beyond reasonable doubt”, they’re still claiming they were completely innocent. So the D.A. in NYC creates a Criminal Integrity Unit to go back and look at the cases one more time. Five days of review, start to finish, see if there is any merit to the claim. And at the end of the five days, they either recommend the conviction be vacated, or that the case was likely solved correctly and the conviction stands. Note they aren’t overturning cases, it’s not a judicial appeal, it’s seeing if there is enough evidence to completely vacate the conviction.

So the premise, generally, is interesting to me. The rub is how they package it.

The premise is that a former President’s daughter (aka Chelsey Clinton mixed with Lindsay Lohan) got into a lot of trouble with the extra limelight growing up, went to law school, worked as a defense attorney and now teaches law. Busted for cocaine possession, she’s blackmailed into being the head for the new CIU. Of course, that’s not great news for the planned head, a former ADA with years of handling gang cases, or the other members of the team — an ex gangbanger who has expertise in forensics, a former witness who got an ID wrong when she was a kid, and a former police detective. She’s hoping to be a figurehead consulting from a beach, but her Mom is making a Senate run (aka Hillary) and wants her to clean up her act. Make it work for three years or they’ll prosecute her for intent to sell. At least that’s the premise.

Of course, you know by the end of the first episode she’s going to find her “calling” and passion and dig into the cases. Which she does. Of course, the actress (Hayley Atwell) is used to playing the hero — she’s been embodying Peggy Carter in the Marvel shows for several years now. I confess I liked her better as Peggy, but she has more available range here, which is either going to be great or just chaotic to watch. Eddie Cahill from CSI:NY plays the DA in charge of everything, but that’s not a huge plus for me…he was one of the weakest elements for me on CSI:NY.

Shawn Ashmore plays the ex-ADA in charge of gang cases, and I really like the Ashmore brothers. I think Aaron is awesome in Smallville and Killjoys, and everytime I see Shawn (the twin brother), I have to stop and remind myself it isn’t Aaron. Of course, when they are side by side, it’s obvious, but individually I think it is Aaron each time. I haven’t seen as much as Shawn’s work, but definitely a plus for me having him on the show.

Merrin Dungey, Emily Kinney, and Manny Montana round out the team, but they are all relatively new to full series status for me…although they were in other series, or guest starred on other shows, they weren’t on shows that I watched. I find all three a bit earnest in the first episode, but hopefully they’ll find their character.

When I did my early predictions, based on premise alone, I thought I would give it one episode, and I’m willing to come back for more. However, unless it kicks up the quality pretty fast or has some gravitas like Cold Case, I’m still holding on to my “half-season” prediction with no renewal.

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HR and switching classifications


In my presentations about competing for public sector jobs, one thing I talk about is the idea of landing the “dream job” even though it is way out of your current classification. That doesn’t mean you’re not qualified, it just means that it’ll be a challenge. Here’s an example:

  • You work in administration at Health Canada (AS-02);
  • Your dream job in agriculture comes up at Canadian Food Inspection Agency, and it’s one level higher (AG-03).

Now maybe you have enough experience to apply, etc. Here’s the challenge (think of it like figure skating, gymnastics or diving):

  • Switching departments usually is about half- to one-degree of difficulty…there’s always at least some bias towards internal candidates because they already know the department;
  • Aiming for the promotion in level is always at least one degree of difficulty; and,
  • Switching categories is always at least one degree of difficulty and is often two degrees.

So the AS-02 trying to get an AS-03 in the same area would only be one degree of difficulty, but switching categories, increasing level and changing departments raises your challenge to four degrees of difficulty.

Does that mean you have no chance? No, it just means you need to prepare and practice a lot before trying to land it in competition. And, equally, you can try it in competition, but you also are going to need other lower level jumps/dives/routines that you can land more easily. And unlike the athletic comparison, you don’t have to land all three pieces at the same time.

Take, for example, a question I received by email this week and which is a type that people ask semi-frequently. The question is from someone who has an entry-level job in the PM category (program administration / management) and they want to find a way to switch to the PE category (personnel i.e. HR).

The first question I would ask is “do you have the background experience?”. Because that is the first thing that is going to screen you out. It’s a sad cliché that “I can’t get the job without the experience and I can’t get the experience without the job” but it is only partially true. In this case, the person may not be a PE, but if they had NO experience or background at all, I would recommend two things. First, beefing up the educational side of their resume (there are courses at colleges and universities, and certifications available in HR, etc.). Note these are not simply “hey, I did the course, now you’ll hire me?” because that’s not the way it works. The second part is you need some relevant experience. Maybe you ask your boss to let you sit on selection boards hiring more junior staff, or let you help out with the administration when they’re running a competition for other positions. Maybe you ask if you can manage the budget items for HR or a staffing request. What types of things should you do? Look at the poster for the type of job you want (PE-01, 02, etc.) and see which experience requirements you might be weak on, and get some experience related to those areas. It might not be “fixed” in a week. Maybe it takes you a year or two to find it.

The second question I would have is “are there any annual recruitments that you can apply for?”. The reason I mention it is because lots of people look and might see PE-02 jobs a lot, but no PE-01 jobs, and there are three reasons for that. They may only hire PE-01s when they do annual recruitments, rather than one-off competitions. And in those annual recruitments, the requirements are usually lower or at least more flexible / open-minded because they are targeting people who do not already work for government so they have to adapt to lots of different backgrounds. It also may be that the working level for the jobs is PE-02. I am in the EC category, which has 8 levels officially, but EC-08s are being phased out of use except in specific circumstances (they were supposed to be special advisor type roles but people have used them as director-equivalent roles and tasked them with management functions that are inappropriate to a non-pure-management category). In addition, EC-01 is virtually non-existent. The starting level is EC-02. Or the other reason why there might not be many PE-01 jobs actually opens up a new avenue and links into the degree of difficulty mentioned above — they use AS-01s and -02s for the PE-01-type work.

That last sentence is one that drives union-types completely batty. “AS should not be doing PE work, you have to get the classification right, blah blah blah”. Except here’s the issue…AS is a broad category including administration, filing, information management, finance, HR coordination, etc. What distinguishes it most is decreased “analytical work”, increased “coordination” and “process”, and usually, a broad set of files. I hesitate to use the word “generalist” (and you’ll see why in a minute), but a generalist function is part of many of the duties with lots of areas to cover.

So, when it comes to HR, there are AS-01s and -02s who might spend all of their time, or most of their time, working on HR files, coordinating all the input and sending it to HR. They aren’t doing the official “HR” that the HR branch does i.e. formal classification, analysis, applying controls, verifying delegations and checking the rules but they do put all the paperwork together to send it to them. So they coordinate it in the policy or program or delivery branch and liaise with the PEs who work in HR branch itself. The reason why I hesitate to use the word generalist is that some of those AS working in the non-HR branches actually have a fair amount of expertise they have developed over time or through extra education, so they are HR specialists, but they are not PEs and they do not have the same accountabilities as PEs.

A gross over-simplification is that the AS is responsible for following the HR rules, filling out the forms and sending it all to HR. The PEs in HR are responsible for actually DOING it i.e. posting the job, signing off that the box had the right classification, ensuring the person signing had the right delegations, verifying applicants were eligible, etc. Some argue it is the difference between simple coordination and actually doing HR, but the real difference is what each is accountable in a holistic HR process. While most wouldn’t call the AS world “informal”, the PE world is VERY formal. Almost rules-based. And in some organizations who are all about the rules, they may even act almost like auditors more so than enablers. It happens.

Sooooo, where does this leave the PM person who wants to move from PM-01 to PE-01 or -02? They should be looking at the AS-01 and -02 categories. PMs and AS positions are practically kissing cousins. Much of the wording in their classifications is virtually identical, particularly at more junior levels, and in fact, the Public Service Commission once described the difference between the two as simply “who are the clients?”. If the clients/stakeholders you deal with are mainly external, you get classed as a PM; if you deal mostly with other government people and internal clients, you are an AS. Which isn’t to say PMs don’t often also have lots of Gs&Cs roles that AS types don’t, and that AS types don’t have HR or finance roles that PMs don’t, but rather that the type of work they do in all of it is similar (coordination, consolidation, applying rules, handling processes, etc.).

Now if you go back to the four-degree of difficulty example at the top, what does that tell you? It means the AS-02 wanting to move to the AG-03 position can try to land a quadruple jump in one go, or handle it through three steps:

  1. Switch departments (Health to CFIA), stay as AS-02;
  2. Get relevant experience in AG work, maybe do an assignment, try to land AG-02 position; and,
  3. Try to get promotion from AG-02 to AG-03.

Three steps to land the quad, not just one jump. It takes longer, but it is much easier to land, and there’s nothing stopping you from still trying to land the quad or a triple or a double along the way. Still making progress rather than risking crashing and burning every attempt.

In the PM’s case that wrote me, that would be the same format for the advice, just a bit more detailed:

  1. Try to get relevant non-HR-branch experience in the AS world while also ensuring you have the requisite educational background needed…aim for assignments, help out on competitions, see if you can fill in for someone while they’re on holidays, etc…put it in your learning and development plan, for example;
  2. Try to switch to the AS category and aim to focus on HR…this is not that simple, I confess. There are LOTS of people in the AS category who hate general admin duties providing support to directors or divisions, handling correspondence tracking, etc. They too are doing what this person would be doing i.e. trying to get into general AS and then moving into an AS-02 position focusing on finance or HR (two of the areas within AS that often have enough work to have someone coordinating that mostly full-time);
  3. Try to jump from AS-02 to PE-02…this too, will not necessarily be that easy. Those same AS types who focused on HR above are may also be competing for PE jobs. PE-02s usually pull from one of three groups — PE-01 (obvious), AS-01 or 02 (laterals), or CR (clerical) who might have already been working in HR branch.

Of course, the person can still try to land a PM-01 to PE-02 jump, or look for open annual recruitments for PE-01s, but in the meantime, they can keep slowly edging themselves closer to the job they want and a little more away from the job they have.



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Season premiere – Frequency – 2016/17


I should confess upfront that I didn’t see the movie that prompted this series. I thought, at the time, that it was some schmaltzy homage to fathers and sons, more Field of Dreams than Silence of the Lambs. “If you talk, he will answer” type storyline.Not so though. And apparently the similarities between the two storylines are pretty clear.

In both, it is a ham radio connecting across time. Child convinces Dad of veracity through knowledge of baseball games. Child tries to alter the past, succeeds, but it also changes other things too, including somehow increasing the success of a serial killer.

The real change for TV is Dad goes from being firefighter who died some years earlier to cop undercover who DIED TWO DAYS LATER in the original timeline. Randy Quaid as Dad gets replaced by Riley Smith, who has a long history of acting credits, particularly in shows where his storyline lasted last than a year (dun dun dun). The son though is now a daughter and played by Peyton List.

She first showed on my radar on the show Windfall (1 season and done) but the show didn’t excite me enough to watch. I was however watching FlashForward that was unceremoniously cancelled after one season and I liked her in it. Not awesome, but watchable. She showed up in Smallville as Lucy Lane, but wasn’t around long enough to really notice her. Then she made her big splash – Cara in The Tomorrow People. I have to confess though, she was one of my least favorite characters in the show…too angst-y for my taste, which is more about the character than the acting, and it shows here. She’s pretty good in this first episode. The writing has her overcome her disbelief pretty fast, but well, the show has to establish its premises early I guess.

I am, indeed, intrigued, but I am far from convinced the show has any legs. I said I would try 1 episode, and it’s good enough to keep watching, but I doubt it will get past the mid-season winnowing process.

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Season premiere – Arrow – 2016/17


Did someone in Greg Berlanti’s organization replace the Green Arrow TV series with a video game? There are at least three sequences in the opening episode of Season 5 where it is basically CGI-like fight scenes, straight out of the latest spy/fight games. Cool looking, but almost looks animated. Very disappointing scenes.

Meanwhile, basically there are three things happening in the episode. First and foremost, there’s a new baddie in town who wants to take on the Arrow so kidnaps some people to do it. Second, Team Arrow is seriously undermanned on the street side, with Diggle, Thea, and the Canary all gone. Speedy is around, but she doesn’t want to be part of the Scooby Gang on the street side anymore. She just wants to be the Mayor’s right hand.

Neither of those storylines is particularly compelling, but the third one is how Oliver became a member of Bratva, one of the flashback story lines from his third year missing, when he went to Russia to keep a promise to kill someone. Highly entertaining and potentially character-revealing.

The rest of the episode? Not so much.

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Season premiere – The Flash – 2016/17


If you follow TVGrimReaper on Twitter, you’ll know that the popular view for ratings is that once a show is renewed for Season 3, they are pretty much guaranteed a Season 4 because S4 is where the syndication money kicks in. My question is more “Is Season 3 good enough to keep pumping money in or will we do S4 on a small budget to eke out every last dime no matter what it does to the show” (Hello, Andromeda, I’m talking to you!).

The reason I mention this is that Season 3 of The Flash can either be “swing for the fences” with conservation and judgement or go crazy and do whatever you want. With the S2 season finale where Barry goes back in time and messes with the timeline to save his Mom, S3 was looking like “anything goes” might be the order of the day.

In this timeline, Barry is still a CSI but because Mom and Dad are alive and well in an idyllic world for Barry, he was never adopted by Joe, never grew up with Iris, etc. Instead, there is a “kid Flash” that turns out to be Wally and a rival Flash battling it out. Barry doesn’t even have to be the Flash, cuz someone already is.

He goes out of his way to meet Iris, sets it up so he can ask her out on a date which she surprisingly says yes to, and tries to help Joe (who’s a spiraling drunk). The problem is that Barry’s memory of the alternate reality is fading, and as he tries to let the new reality take hold, Wally gets hurt to the point of near death. In other words, Barry has traded his mother for Wally, Joe, Iris, Cisco, and Caitlyn.

In the end, he has to go back in time and let the other Flash kill his mom after all. Then when he returns to the new timeline, Reverse Flash basically teases him that it won’t be the reality he was expecting. Everything starts off the same, and then he finds out Iris and Joe don’t talk. Not the world he left. Reverse Flash changed something, which looked like how he killed the mother (perhaps a knife instead of a vibrating hand).

I confess I was shocked they reversed the timeline that quickly. I was sure it would run several episodes at least. But overall good yet not awesome.

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Season premiere – No Tomorrow – 2016/17


I really want to hate this show. I do. I really want to. Up front, I watch very few comedies on TV. Frasier, Cheers, Mash, sure. Friends, not so much. Seinfeld at times. With all the TV watching I do, the only one that currently makes my “possible” list is The Big Bang Theory and I have missed lots of episodes. I enjoy it but it’s lost its appeal as it approached everyone’s coupled status.

Romantic comedies for movies? Almost never. Heck, I’d almost prefer male slapstick stuff, and I *hate* that. It’s like Porkies for a less T&A-oriented crowd.

So what attracted me to this 1 hour romcom about two young 20 somethings? It wasn’t the RomCom side. It wasn’t that she works for the equivalent of an Amazon distribution centre leading an Office-Space-like position. The first ten minutes are almost mindless to watch. I simply didn’t care about Evie’s life. Fate, serendipity…zzzzz. But there was something a bit intriguing about two people ticking off things on their bucket lists.

When she actually meets Xavier, he’s awesome. Except for one minor red flag. He believes the Earth will go bye bye in about 8 months because of a meteor. So he’s quit his job, living each day to the fullest, ticking off things on his bucket list. Or his apocalist. And he wants someone to share the last 8 months with.

Xavier lives life to the fullest; Evie takes no chances. And that is the basis for two thirds of all RomComs out there, which I don’t watch; and the basis for some shows like Remington Steele, Castle, Moonlighting, etc., that I do like, but those are mysteries. So why the RomCom? Here’s the catch.

Evie is charming. The two of them together are even more charming. I am sick this week and taking tylenol to keep any fever at bay, but I may be losing my mind cuz I really like the show.

I’ve seen Evie before or rather the actress Tori Anderson. She played Sabine on Killjoys last season, and will likely come back in the future. She was badass there, here’s she’s sweet and, umm, well, charming. Delightful even. Totally light. Xavier is played by Joshua Sasse (Galavant) and while I don’t know him, he’s pretty good here as the roguish bachelor tempting the sweet princess. Right up until he commandeers her phone and sends an email to her boss as her, saying she resigns. That wasn’t so cute. Given the control issues that go with stalkers, and men who isolate women, I didn’t find it a particularly appealing note, particularly when she forgives him later. A fickle hand of fate does seem to be playing with their lives, making it better as it goes, but still.

The sister and mother are beyond annoying though, complete caricature characters, as are some of her friends and coworkers.

Hopefully as the two focus on their bucket lists, the final premise of the show, the others will fade into the background.

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Season premiere – Timeless – 2016/17


I confess up front — I’m a complete sucker for time travel shows. Within Star Trek, Quantum Leap, anything really. If time travel is involved, I’m probably watching. What do I want? Time travel! When do I want it? Irrelevant!

So when I saw there was a new time travel show called Timeless, I was good to go before the screen even filled in the first pixel. Which is not to say I’m not nervous…you can really end up with bad shows about time travel. (Time Bandits, I’m talking to you!).

And if you see Abigail Spencer in the trailers as the lead “historian” (they always want a historian), you might think, “Hey, she looks like the chick from Sliders!” And she kind of does. But Spencer always sparkles. She was fantastic on Suits as Scotty, even with the limited role for her. I liked her when she guested on How I Met Your Mother, The Glades and Castle (I really liked her on Castle). I even vaguely remember her from Angela’s Eyes back in the day, and that’s saying something. So despite her fish out of water, bopping around time, wide-eyed innocent doe role, I was excited to see her in a full show.

Her sidekick in crime time is played by Matt Lanter. He seems familiar to me, but the only thing I’ve really seen him in is the original Heroes, but that’s not where I remember him from. I think they’ve just got him done up as generic soldier boy #27 and so he looks like other actors. Good, not awesome.

And they need a techie, with the chance to make him black and give them some plot points for time travel (or as his character puts it, there is no point in American history that is going to be good for him as a black man). Again, good, but not awesome.

And the story for the pilot is kind of weak. ** spoiler alert ** Terrorist steals time machine, goes back to Hindenburg, and stops it from exploding. Sort of. Actually he wants a bunch of industrialists to get on board for the outbound flight and then he intends to bomb it. So it will still explode, just not in the original way. The team goes back to stop it, bungles it initially, and the Hindenburg lands safely. When it goes to take off again, they have to stop the bomb. Which they don’t do very well, but they do save almost all the passengers.

The show has established the basic ground rules:

  • Super genius invented machine, it’s a prototype;
  • It uses gravitational power to force time to fold back on itself momentarily to allow the machine to cross between times;
  • You cannot go back in time to any point you have already lived through, for fear of “doubling” yourself;
  • Ergo, you can’t do the same time event more than once either.
  • Change one thing, butterflies ripple throughout history.

It’s the last one that is the cool part here. Frequently, the focus in time shows (Star Trek, Time Cop) is entirely on “I stopped things from changing and therefore everything back home is the same”. And when the team returns semi-successful, some small things have changed, but it looks relatively the same. Put a checkmark in the win column for now.

Until Spencer’s character, Lucy, gets home to her house and finds out that her Mom isn’t dying of cancer anymore (good), Lucy’s engaged to someone (who?), and oh yeah, her sister doesn’t exist (oops).

It will be interesting to see if they “correct” those anomalies, or they accumulate more and more anomalies towards almost an alternate timeline. One that only the time-traveling three will know is different.

Weak episode, but it’s still time travel. I’m still in.

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