The times, they are a-changin’
Main Cast: Eric McCormack, MacKenzie Porter
Creator: Brad Wright
First, a disclaimer. I had to go back and re-watch all of Season 1 before I was ready to take on Season 2 of Travelers. The bad thing about being able to binge a bunch of episodes of a show is that it feels like a LONG time in between seasons. Also, as a voracious consumer of visual media, there has simply been a whole lot of TV, movie, and book water under my memory bridge. If you’re anything at all like me you might have to back up and re-binge to get your bearings.
Anyway. Travelers Season 2 takes up the moment Season 1 left off. Our time traveling friends are in a seriously precarious position in the 21st. Suffice to say they all live to see another day – which is why we have a whole second season to watch. The entire main cast returns and finds out that their missions, and their 21st century lives, aren’t going to get any less complicated.
The basic premise remains the same. We have a group of five people, all from the unspecified but fairly long from now future, who are working with others in their time (with whom they communicate in a variety of quite ingenious ways) to save mankind from the harrowing timeline from whence they came. The catch is that, unlike conventional TV time travel, they did not arrive in our century in their own bodies. Their consciousnesses (that’s totally not a word but I’m going with it) are transported into already existing bodies at the moment those people died, according to the historical record. The traveler is then tasked with carrying out missions to save the future while also carrying on the lives of their hosts. It’s a whole lot of multi-tasking.
Season two is, in a lot of ways, a logical continuation of season one. MacLaren (Eric McCormack) leads the team and deals with his wife Kat (Leah Cairns). Marcy (MacKenzie Porter), who has gone from mentally challenged to the team physician, deals with the mess that entails, especially with her case worker David (Patrick Gilmore). Phillip (Reilly Dolman) is the group’s super-amazing historian and exists in a host addicted to heroin. Carly (Nesta Cooper) is the team tactician and the single mom of a baby whose father is an abusive alcoholic cop. Lastly there’s Trevor, who is my personal favorite. Trevor is the oldest member of the team by many, many years, and his host body belongs to a 17-year-old high school student. I’m not sure of his official role on the team, but he is definitely the one with the largest amount of institutional knowledge and the greatest appreciation of the chance to live in a world with breathable air and in a body that is young and strong.
This season sees a lot of character development not just of the team members but of the people in their lives as well. They are finding out that the challenges of this era are not quite as simple as they seemed from a distance. Their missions are also complicated by their own actions, which are changing the future. A changing future means mixed signals and a whole lot of improvisation. There are also some other fun twists to keep you guessing.
I really enjoyed this second season of Travelers. Creator Brad Wright is allowing the characters to grow and change while keeping a pretty tight grip on the complexities of time travel – something that can get really out of hand and far-fetched if not properly managed. The story arc is interesting and suspenseful, and the individual episodes are brilliantly crafted for binge watching. I don’t think there is a single one that doesn’t leave you wanting to just keep watching (I try to limit myself to two episodes at a time, just so I can enjoy the series for more than a day). The actors are all really feeling at home in their characters and it shows in their performances. Do note that this is not a show you can watch while you check Twitter – if you aren’t paying attention you’re going to get confused. And definitely don’t start the series here – start at the very beginning of season one. Maybe do that even if you’ve already watched season one. I enjoyed the refresher as much as I enjoyed season one the first time through. Overall this is a really, really well done sci-fi series that keeps an eye on its characters and doesn’t implode with its own intricacies. It has already been renewed for a third season set to premier before the end of 2018 and I’m looking forward to more adventures with the team.
Both seasons of Travelers are streaming on Netflix. The first season is also available on DVD or to buy or rent on Amazon Streaming.