There is an old adage from comedian and raconteur Fred Allen, in that “imitation is the sincerest form of television.” In other words, if one TV network plans to air a certain type of high-concept program, you can be assured that another network will create a similar program. It happened a few years ago, when, with the success of AMC’s Mad Men, both NBC and ABC aired period dramas (The Playboy Club and Pan Am). Both shows were cancelled in mid-season, though…
Another example – at one point in time, NBC debuted their medical drama set in Chicago, ER, and in the same year CBS debuted their medical drama set in Chicago, Chicago Hope. Coincidence? You decide.
Well, for the upcoming 2016-17 television season, there are four fantasy time travel shows debuting on the major networks. Now this isn’t counting time-travel shows that are already part of network schedules, such as the CW’s Legends of Tomorrow or FOX’s Sleepy Hollow. No, we’re getting four different examples of time travel and the butterfly effect and prescience and whatnot. This could be fun, or we could see four quick cancellations. Don’t know.
But as a fan of the time-travel genre, this could be interesting. And for the moment, I’d like to share the upcoming promo clips for all four shows, and at least give some example of similar time travel shows that have aired on network TV in the past.
Case study number one – NBC’s upcoming series Timeless. Here’s the clip.
In Timeless, a criminal steals a time machine and goes back in time to destroy America by rewriting its history – and, of course, a team of scientists chase him through the strands of time to hopefully make right what was once wrong.
Similar TV time travel shows – Quantum Leap, The Time Tunnel, Time Trax.
Am I going to watch it? Yeah. Let’s see how it plays out.
Case study number two – FOX’s Making History.
Making History‘s comedic concept is thus. Modern guy has the hots for 1770’s-era girl, and goes back in time to date her. But in doing so, he accidentally delays Paul Revere’s ride (the girl he’s dating is Revere’s daughter), and thus he affects the modern timeline. So he and a professor go back in time to fix what was wrong and make things right.
Similar TV time travel shows – Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventures, It’s About Time (1960’s comedy caper), The Lost Saucer (that Sid and Marty Krofft Saturday morning show about time-traveling robots).
Am I going to watch it? Probably. It looks kinda funny.
Case study number three – The CW’s Frequency.
Frequency is based on a 2000 motion picture in which a modern-day man communicates with his dead father through a ham radio. And in that communication, information that the modern-day person passes to his father of a generation earlier actually changes the timestream of today. Again, the concept is to make right what once was wrong.
Similar TV time travel shows – The Twilight Zone episode “A Message From Charity,” in which a modern-day man communicates with a 1690’s-era Puritan girl.
Am I going to watch this? Yes I am. The trailer looks amazing. This show has a chance to be a winner.
And, of course, case number 4 – ABC’s Time After Time. Here’s the extended promo clip.
I’ve mentioned this before … but here’s the concept. H.G. Wells builds a time machine, but before he can test it, Jack the Ripper gets in and travels to our time. Wells follows … and now it’s a chase across time and space.
Similar time travel TV shows – Sleepy Hollow, Timecop: The Series, Doctor Who.
Am I going to watch this show? Let’s put it this way. If you start seeing recap reviews in this blog, you’ll know why.
So yeah, four time travel TV shows for the upcoming 2016-17 television season.
This could be really interesting.
So I ask you, dear blog readers … of these four shows, which program catches your interest? Which one would you set aside space on your DVR to record? And, conversely, which one do you think has the least hope of surviving past its initial broadcast order run?
Let me know in the comments section below.
Now if you’ll excuse me for a moment…
I’ve gotta check out this Craigslist advertisement for a used 1982 DeLorean DMC-12 with a slightly worn flux capacitor. I hear it has great mileage… and the last driver only took it up past 88 miles per hour on a few occasions.