Categorised | Canadian TV

Tags |

Third-episode verdict: Travelers (Canada: Showcase; UK: Netflix)

Posted on November 1, 2016 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

BarrometerTravelers.jpgA Barrometer rating of 2

In Canada: Mondays, 9pm ET, Showcase
In the UK: Acquired by Netflix

So I have to admit to really rather enjoying Travelers, Canada's latest piece of world-beating science-fiction in which a group of time travelers from the future project their souls back into the bodies of people dying in the present day, so that they can prevent a terrible disaster from happening. They possess the skills, they know what they've got to do - what they don't know is what their 'hosts' lives were like before they died.

The first episode was a nice, edgy but still humorous piece of work that introduced us to the team's old hosts, before introducing in less detail the team themselves. Episode two then gave us more of an introduction to the team members and the types of missions they'd go on.

I thought that would be the pattern laid down for the rest of the series, but what became clearer in the third episode is that the show may essentially bea spy show with a bunch of sleeper agents waking up from their normal lives to undertake secret missions, but it's also as much about relationships and character as anything else. As well as continuing to focus on the different lives of the hosts to demonstrate how much detail there is that can get overlooked and what patterns of behaviour are expected of us, it also looked at the psychological impact of knowing how the future will turn out and who will live, who will die, how and when. Could you stand back and let others perish, knowing all you had to do was say "Don't go left there for another minute" and they could live?

What saves the show from being a gloomy, self-important piece of sci-fi is a combination of the performances and the characters. Eric McCormack of Will and Grace is cast against type as an FBI agent, and his character manages to give the show a much needed sense of humour. MacKenzie Porter's closed performance makes her formerly learning disabled host come smart doctor a source of intrigue, while Reilly Dolman's douchebag school quarterback turned kind engineer gives the show heart and gentility. 

But there are jokes, too. No show that can use pre-pubescent children as temporal radio transmitters can take itself too seriously.

Travelers is a thoughtful, but often action-packed piece of science-fiction with feeling that isn't that bothered with saving the future - there are dozens of other 'travelers' around the world so maybe they'll do it. Instead, it's more concerned with people. It could do with fixing a few plotholes and making its crack team of spies just a little bit better at blending in, but its focus on the little things in life is welcome in a genre so focused on the intellectual and the abstract.

Barrometer rating: 2
Would it be better with a female lead? N/A
TMINE's prediction: Should run for a good few seasons


Related entries

  • November 7, 2016: What have you been watching? Including Falling Water, Hyde and Seek, Lucifer, Supergirl and Timeless
    The TV I watched in the week ending Monday 7th November 2016
  • November 14, 2016: What have you been watching? Including Frontier, People of Earth, Stan Against Evil and Ghostbusters
    The TV I watched in the week ending Monday 14th November 2016
  • November 28, 2016: What have you been watching? Including Goliath, Finding Dory, Chance and Frequency
    The TV I watched in the week ending Monday 28th November 2016
  • November 21, 2016: What have you been watching? Including The Grand Tour, Hypernormalisation, Doctor Doctor and Hyde & Seek
    The TV I watched in the week ending Monday 21st November 2016
  • November 25, 2016: When's that show you mentioned starting again, TMINE? Including Travelers and Timeless
    What acquisition premiere dates have been announced in the week ending Friday 25th November 2016
  • December 22, 2016: Question of the year: what were you favourite new shows of 2016? Here's my Top 12!
    What have been the 12 best shows I've seen in 2016?
  • December 5, 2016: What have you been watching? Including פאודה (Fauda), Incorporated
    The TV I watched in the week ending Monday 5th December 2016
  • December 12, 2016: What have you been watching? Including Jason Bourne, Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency and Ash vs Evil Dead
    The TV I watched in the week ending Monday 12th December 2016
  • December 19, 2016: What have you been watching? Including Rogue One, Nobel, The OA and Chance
    The TV I watched in the week ending Monday 19th December 2016
  • December 23, 2016: What have you been watching? Including Travelers, Falling Water, The OA, Shooter and Dix pour cent (Call My Agent!)
    The TV I watched in the week ending Friday 23rd December 2016

Read other posts about:

Allowable comments

You can leave just about any kind of comment you like. You can argue, suggest I am (or anyone else is) wrong, leaving general messages of love – anything. However, you absolutely can't leave messages that attack other commenters (or me), are simple variations of "your review sucks" or that are misogynistic, racist, homophobic, etc: your comment will either be edited or deleted and you'll be barred from leaving any further comments. We want to keep it civil here.


You can hide a spoiler by putting <spoiler> before it and </spoiler> after it. Hover over a spoiler to reveal it!

Featured Articles

Twin Peaks

Lynch at his best in years