I am a time travel junkie. I loved the Time Tunnel from years ago. I was sad when Continuum was canceled. I have read a number of time travel novels, some good and some not so good. When I learned that NBC had a new time travel series, I eagerly awaited its debut. Unfortunately, I was not impressed with Timeless.
The concept of time travel is hard to wrap your mind around. If I were to travel backward in time and do something that changes history, which directly affects me, how would I have been able to time travel in the first place? I was pleased with how Continuum dealt with this paradox. If you went back in time and changed history, going forward again to your original time would be useless because the you, who traveled through time in the first place, would not exist in that time line. The pilot episode of Timeless did not handle this paradox very well.
In NBC’s Timeless, several people travel back in time to the day the Hindenburg caught fire and crashed. Two groups make this time jump; the first intending to change history, and the second trying to stop the first group. In the process, the Hindenburg ultimately crashes and burns, but not in the same way that is in our history books. When one of the main characters returns to her originating time period, she learns that her mother, who had been very ill, was now completely well. She also learns that the change in history has resulted in the fact that her sister was never born.
Here’s my problem. The main character has returned to an altered present time. Her mother asks her where her engagement ring is? In this altered present, this character is apparently engaged, of which she has no recollection of being engaged. This character can’t just return to this altered time line as the same person. In the altered time line, she was apparently born. However, since the time line change resulted in her sister never being born, it’s not likely that she would have time-traveled in the same manner as in the original time line. It’s true that I’ve only seen the first episode, but this paradox, should it remain, will lose me as a viewer.
In the series Continuum, Kiera Cameron was transported forward to her original time period after history had been changed. She was able to see herself in the new time line as someone who never traveled through time. The paradox, found in the Timeless pilot, is not part of Continuum.
I imagine the average viewer will have watched Timeless last week and may or may not have enjoyed it. Only a time travel junkie would analyze it as I have. What I saw from the series Continuum was a script that was given some serious thought. It seems to me like the script for Timeless was, perhaps, written too quickly.