Timeless Season 1 might have caught some people by surprise, but not us. We got a chance to screen the Pilot before San Diego Comic Con last year, and we were already in love with it before we talked to the cast at the Con, and before we even watched episode 2.
But, the surprising thing about Timeless wasn’t that it was good from the start, no. The surprising thing was that it not only stayed good, but it got better. The surprising thing was that it gave us not just OTPs, but an OT3, diversity and real three dimensional characters across the board. The surprising thing wasn’t that we loved it, it was that they kept giving us reason to love it even more.
In fact, we loved it so much that you’ll find this a very unusual season review. Usually the point of this is to highlight the highs and the lows, which every show has. There is no perfect TV, and if it were, we’d probably have less to say about TV in general.
That being said, Timeless is a show to be celebrated, because it was about as good at is could – acting wise, writing wise, diversity wise, common sense wise, and yes, plot wise. So prepare for what is almost a love-letter. Nary a bad word to be found here. Just a lot of love. A lot.
I’m tempted to just write LOVE LOVE LOVE in bold for like 5 paragraphs, but I’m guessing I’m supposed to be somewhat more coherent. This is supposed to be a season review, after all.
The show is good. That’s the conclusion. Yes, Mason’s flip flopping could have benefited from a bit more screen time to be believable and there are still way too many holes in the Rittenhouse mystery, but these are minor gripes. Lucy, Rufus and Wyatt were so good I want to write odes to them, the show was both diverse and feminist, there’s a main couple with chemistry to rival the best of them, the POC character was anything but a sidekick and the show was consistently fun and engaging, week in and week out.
Plus, it did all of that without making a joke of time-travel rules. It all made sense. Can you believe that?
The Time Team: It’s hard to think of many OT3s in recent memory that have gotten so much development as a team as these three have. Perhaps Arrow’s Oliver/Felicity/Diggle come closest. The thing that made this show thrive was that it established not just a spark of romantic possibility hidden underneath the friendship of Lucy and Wyatt, but that it gave Lucy and Rufus an equally strong bond, and that it took the time to develop Wyatt and Rufus as more than two guys who somehow gravitated around a woman. These three are a team, a real team, and the team doesn’t work with one of its legs missing. It needs everyone.
Lyatt: OTPs are everywhere, but real OTPs that make your heart go pitter patter are a dime a dozen. The thing about Wyatt and Lucy is that they trust each other, they respect each other, and they’d go to the ends of the Earth for each other – and that’s before we’ve even gone into the romance. This is a relationship of two equals, who complement each other, who are friends first, and who have proved time and again, that what they feel is real – even before they could name that feeling. I can’t wait to see the rest of their journey.
Diversity: There are three white characters among the main Timeless cast – one is a woman, Lucy, another is an Eastern European male and the villain, and the third one is Wyatt, the typical army dude who is anything but typical. The rest of the cast is made up of two POC women and two POC men, which is especially important if you consider 3 of those work in STEM and one of those is a federal agent. Where am I going with this? Well – Timeless looks more like the real world than most shows on TV, with more than just one token POC character who’s there only to make jokes. And it’s beautiful to see.
Characters that go against stereotype: Starting with Wyatt, who’s the complete opposite of the soldier stereotype, to Agent Christopher, tough and no-nonsense but with a wife and a family she loves, to Mason, who, in another, less intelligent show, would have been a much more dimensional bad guy and here ended up being a complex and complicated figure – and funnily enough, that’s also something that could be said of Flynn.
What Didn’t Work
Time slot: Mondays at 10, really? It made sense for the show that came after – Taken, but it never made sense for Timeless. It was never graphic, or particularly violent, despite the fact that Flynn killed a lot of people, and it didn’t deal with any sensitive issues. In fact, the show was distinctly more family friendly than its time slot would indicate. I know plenty of people who watched it with their kids and considered it a fun way for them to learn about history.
Does that sound like the kind of show who would thrive Mondays at 10?
To be clear, the show needs to air earlier, and preferably not against other family-friendly shows. Also, it’d be nice if it’s lead in was a show whose demographic was at least somewhat inclined to keep watching. Put it with something similar and watch it thrive.
Publicity: NBC went all out for SDCC last year, and then …that was it? The publicity for Timeless during the actual season was spotty, and even though the Twitter account fought a valiant fight, it just wasn’t enough. The people who could be reached through Twitter were already watching – or were convinced to watch by those of us who were. The show needed more conventional publicity, and it just didn’t get it.
It’s almost like networks have so many ideas in the wings that they just throw shows out there and just …hope they swim. No lessons, no flotation devices, nothing. And that just doesn’t cut it in this day an age – not if networks want shows to be more than cult hits.
What We Wanted to See More Of
I’m not going to repeat what I said in the What Worked section, but I am going to be honest and say that although 16 episodes was probably the perfect number and it eliminated the need for filler episodes, I would have watched 16 more episodes of this wonderful show, no complaints.
But, fine, if I have to pick just ONE thing, I’m going to go with:
Jiya: We had a chance to interview Claudia Doumit, and we fell in love with her and by extension, her character, long before we got more of Jiya, and as a result – we really just wanted even MORE than we got near the end of the season. Thankfully, it looks like the show agrees with us and we’re going to get a lot more of her in Season 2.
What We Wanted to See Less Of
Blasphemy. I just want more.
No, for real, I can’t find anything I wanted less of, just a bunch of stuff I wanted more of. Even Mason, arguably my least favorite character and the one I understand the least, was okay in small doses, probably because he had layers, just like Flynn. This mostly speaks to how consistent Timeless was and how great of a job they did at giving us not just an friendship between the 3 main characters, but an OTP and a separate friendship between Lucy and Rufus and Wyatt and Rufus. Add to that how great it was to see Rufus and Jiya come together, Agent Christopher’s family life and even Lucy’s family and their involvement with Rittenhouse, and the show really just left us wanting more. Of everything.
“The Alamo” (Episode 1×05) – This was not the first episode where I felt that Lucy, Wyatt and Rufus were a team, certainly not the first episode I felt for them, but it was the episode where I realized that Timeless could tell both a romance story and a friendship story and do them both justice.
“Stranded” (Episode 1×07) – This episode cemented the Time Team as, well, a team. It was painful to see them arguing, but it was also necessary for them to get to the point they were in in the finale.
“Last Ride of Bonnie and Clyde” (Episode 1×09) – LYATT! My shipper heart was set aflame in this episode, because not only do I see it – Lucy and Wyatt do too!
“The Red Scare” (Episode 1×16) – The season finale was not just effective, it was emotional, it deepened all the relationships and it set up season 2 in a very interesting way.
Least Favorite Episodes
I refuse to acknowledge this section exists. I can’t find any episode to put on this list. Sure, some episodes (see above) were better than others, but there was no huge misstep in the season, no moment I can point out to say, see, THIS is what the show shouldn’t do. In fact, if anything, it felt like what I needed – wanted – was more time for the show to continue telling the stories they were already telling, the ones they knew how to tell. That’s rare, and that’s why I’m keeping this subheading in, basically so I can scream:
I LIKED ALL THE EPISODES. FIGHT ME.
Season Finale Impression
Coming into the season finale I remember thinking – how are they going to tie up this whole storyline? There’s nothing they can do that would make sense! And then – they did what they did.
Was it a bit rushed? I’m hesitant to say yes, though it all developed a bit quickly. The reasons why it did made sense, and the whole storyline with Ethan Cahill didn’t feel rushed at all, if nothing else, the jump from Lucy being in the past explaining to Lucy walking in to see him with Wyatt in the present was a little jarring. Still, the episode was effective, it kept to characterization, it advanced specific storylines and deepened the group dynamics, and yes, it solved the Rittenhouse problem – at least temporarily, and it did all this while it set up a possible season 2, so what can I do other than call this one a win?
Next Season Speculation
There’s a season 2, hallelujah! I can speculate. I can plan. I can …get excited about what was, arguably, my favorite new show of the past season, getting a chance to stretch its legs and become even more awesome.
What do I think it’s coming? Well, obviously Rittenhouse isn’t dead and Lucy’s Mom is going to be a big player. I’d say the mission to save Amy is off, as well – and of course, Wyatt is staying. We can’t break up the Time Team! Now, the real question is – why would the Time Team become the Time Team again, and what’s going to happen to Flynn?
Smart money’s on Rittenhouse doing something with the mothership and our favorite trio having to take the lifeboat again. Maybe things will be desperate enough to require Flynn’s help? I don’t anticipate we’ll see Flynn as the everyday bad guy, I think the show is ready to pivot towards Rittenhouse, but Rittenhouse still needs a face, and so the show will have to introduce a new bad guy – or maybe, possibly, make Noah more than he looked to be in Season 1?
And if that happens – or even if it doesn’t, I can pretty much guarantee the show will be moving forward with their OTPs in a way they couldn’t in season 1, cause setup. Jiya/Rufus are already there, after all, and hey, the fun part of Lucy/Wyatt can start now. Though I’m still pretty sure that when they finally take that plunge, we’ll get Jessica back. Because pain and TV and all of that.
What were your thoughts on Timeless season one?