Friday, January 6, 2017

Weekend Watching: Travelers

"We, the last and broken remnants, vow to undo the errors of our ascendants, to make the earth whole, the lost - unlost, at peril of our own birth"
Time Traveler's version of a Hippocratic Oath in Travelers

It's a classic dystopian sci-fi premise: humans in the future ruined the earth and it's up to an intrepid time traveler(s) to set the world right years before it goes wrong. In Travelers, they do it by using tech from the future to digitally override the brains of people in the 21st century who are about to die. But is it moral to override someone who is about to die, but is not quite dead yet? And when do you know that you've saved the world? What if saving the world means losing your very existence? The characters in Travelers wrestle with these questions as they work to redeem the world, one mission from the future at a time.

Travelers is theoretically right up my alley, but I'll admit that I was slow to appreciate the show's charms. Its stars are a bit too inexplicably attractive (which for some reason works for me on CW shows but doesn't work elsewhere); it stars Eric McCormack, who is a good actor, but I will always see him as Will from Will and Grace; it's also pretty humorless... I can handle bleak (in fact, some of my favorite shows are uber-depressing... ahem, Battlestar Galactica), but bleak is only bearable with a few laughs every now and then.

The final episodes pick up the pace, however, and they start asking some better-than-run-of-the-mill sci-fi questions. Such as, where and what is God in this future world? Does fixing the future eliminate free will? How do we know we can trust the powers that be in the future? And what would it take for the future people to become so attached to the present that they forget their vow to undo the errors of their ascendants? In the end, I found that the quality of Travelers increased along the way. And the questions they asked made the binge-investment worthwhile.

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