Airs: Mondays 10/9c on NBC
In my very first post on this blog I said I had four criteria for grading a show: Characters, plot, premise, and acting. Timeless won’t make the hall of fame going one for four.
The premise for Timeless is interesting: Man steals time travel device to do who knows what with it, while a history professor, special agent, and a computer coder chase after him. Where it falls apart, unfortunately, is when people start talking. The acting is dreadful, and I can usually tolerate bad acting if the rest of the show is okay. It isn’t. The dialogue is clichéd at best, but it was somehow made worse when they actually do have a good line (“There is literally no place in American History that is going to be awesome for a black man.”) It was beaten to death by the relentless promos that NBC aired.
I want to say I like the characters, but the lead male is an idiot. He disobeys orders not once but twice. First, he brings a modern weapon with him to the past – a past with Nazis (imagine a Third Reich with today’s technology – not so pretty). Next, he deliberately doesn’t go after the bad guy but tries to save the life of someone else (who is supposed to die). Why? Because she reminds him of his dead wife? That is just idiotic. Fortunately for him, he isn’t the only idiot. During the climactic scene, Idiot #2 runs toward (TOWARD!) the evil man with the gun who just blew up the Hindenburg – after Idiot #1 told her to run away. Her getting shot distracts Idiot #1 and allows the bad guy to get away.
On the positive side, the writers at least know that there are plot holes. They even lampshade them – Why build a time machine when you don’t intend on using it? [Asked in the pilot, but not answered]. The black man in history line was the best one in the show, but he ends up in the field anyway subject to the massive racism that exists in our dubious past – He’s a coder! Why is he in the field? Why doesn’t he just stay with the time machine? He has, by his own admission, no valuable skills and is definitely a liability dealing with the racism.
Other than bad acting, idiotic characters with bad lines, and a terrible plot, this show was great. The time travel will probably not be handled correctly – we are heading straight for a paradox. I was looking forward to Timeless, but I was greatly disappointed.
WWYT Rating: 2.1
Nielsen Rating: 1.8 This is significantly below where I expected this show to premiere. Maybe people knew that this would be bad. Though, some of the reviews I read were by people who actually liked the premiere, so maybe it won’t drop as much as it should, but it still will drop next week (and will probably steadily lose viewers throughout the season). Chance of renewal 40% (down from 49%).