Timeless: Past Meets WTF-uture In NBC’s Time-Travel Adventure

Timeless on NBC Joe Lederer/NBC
TIMELESS — Pictured: (l-r) Malcolm Barrett as Rufus Carlin, Matt Lanter as Wyatt Logan, Abigail Spencer as Lucy Preston

Premieres: Oct. 3
Airs: Mondays at 10pm
Who’s In It? Goran Visnjic, Malcolm Barrett, Abigail Spencer, Matt Lanter, Sakina Jaffrey, Paterson Joseph
What’s It All About? Time travel melded with snappy history lessons, plenty of action, loads of creativity and smart laughs. Plus — and this is a big plus — time machines that look like giant Mike Wazowski eyeballs that fly by spinning their inner lids. And it’s from The Shield’s Shawn Ryan and Supernatural’s Eric Kripke.

We’ve all said it: “If I could turn back time, I’d … ”
Whatever your “after the ‘I’d’” is, NBC’s swashbuckling new dramedy Timeless might make you think twice about that.

Timeless stars Suits’ Abigail Spencer as Lucy, a reluctant but brilliant history professor summoned into service by the feds, along with gruff and grieving soldier Wyatt (Matt Lanter, 90210) and loner tech whiz Rufus (Malcolm Barrett, Better Off Ted). Their mission: Teleport into the ages again and again to figure out why mysterious Garcia Flynn (Goran Visnjic) filched a secret high-tech time machine and is messing with history’s most epic events.

“What we love is this kind of fun, romantic, epic-scope feel of, like, an early Spielberg movie — where you’re just hitting these iconic moments in history and running and gunning through them,” says Timeless co-creator Shawn Ryan (The Shield). “When you have all of history to play with, that’s a lot more interesting to us than any fictional future.” Mostly because each time Flynn — or the posse on his tail — tweaks the past, it impacts the now. And possibly the next.

“Some changes are going to be very small — they’re almost funny — some are going to be dramatic, some are going to be huge,” says Visnjic, a self-avowed history junkie. “So when Garcia Flynn goes to the past, they need to go immediately after him, because the second he changes the past, only people who are with him in that past are not going to be affected. The team is able to come back and see the changes.”

The intriguing premiere involves the Hindenburg disaster and “the second episode is the assassination of Abraham Lincoln and we’ll go from there, each time them trying to, one, stop this guy, and two, trying to set right all the things in history that he’s set wrong,” Ryan explains. “When you really think of it, a guy with a time machine is the most dangerous terrorist possible.”

Spencer says getting her time-travel on has been “a delicious treat.” “We’re shooting the 1865 episode right now, and I am in the most glorious getup of all time, with the hoop skirts and the pantaloons and the corset. And then on Friday, I’m going to be in 1960s wear. It’s been a beautiful process.”

Co-creator Eric Kripke (Supernatural) says that despite the show’s dazzler visuals and emphasis on pulse-pounding fun, the crew’s adventures also showcase how the world has changed — or hasn’t — especially through Rufus’ experiences in the past. “That’s one of the interesting things about genre time-travel shows,” he says. “You can get into things like racial identity and racism in a way that might seem heavy-handed if you were telling a present-day story. On the second episode, one of the guest-star characters is an African-American soldier who just finished fighting on behalf of the Union army in the Civil War and Rufus develops a bond with him.”

“The beauty of [Timeless] is that it doesn’t rely simply on this sort of ‘butterfly effect’ thing,” Barrett adds. “It’s also how we develop as people. We’re all going through these experiences not just on a sci-fi level, but on an emotional level, too.”

Timeless airs Mondays at 10/9CT on NBC

About Lori Acken 1195 Articles
Lori just hasn't been the same since "thirtysomething" and "Northern Exposure" went off the air.