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17 October, 2007 / Erik

Unstuck in Time

Journeyman is my favorite new show of the fall season. This surprised me because I did not like the first episode. From the pilot, I felt they took the “Parkman’s wife” aspect of Heroes and spun it into a series. Now, I find the show much more compelling because (the main character) Dan’s traveling is portrayed as an aspect of the strained marriage that both he and his wife have to confront everyday. The creators took a series format that could have been on the air in the mid-80s, but turned left where signs usually say “turn right.” Livia, Dan’s previous love-interest who happens to be both dead and a time traveler, is not written as a beautiful snowflake, which makes Dan mourning her more complex. When he deals with her in the past, he is not treating her as “the one.” Katie, Dan’s wife, is not written as a shrill one note character(see: Parkman’s Wife) and the success of the marriage is part of the stakes instead of an obstacle to Dan’s work. Dan’s brother, who previously dated Katie before Livia’s apparent death, is not the jilted Captain Suitable, but kind of a creep in his relationships with Dan and Katie. Though Dan’s tasks in the past are A-plot, the meat of each story is increasingly in the present as these two people who clearly love each other deal with something that is utterly uncontrollable. The conflicts are have become quite interesting. Each week advances the relationship between Dan and Katie and gives us little hints to Livia’s true nature. The pace is refreshingly brisk for a modern scripted series.

If US broadcast television was equipped to handle one-season programs, I think this show would be even stronger as you could get to a rather clear and satisfying ending. The pace is somewhat worrisome in the reality of a TV market that requires more than one season.

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One Comment

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  1. David S / Oct 18 2007 11:46 am

    That’s pretty much exactly what I have been thinking. I missed the first two episodes but was totally pulled in by the third episode. The A-plots have been interesting but it really shines with the relationship issues. And Moon Bloodgood is definitely easy on the eyes.

    There have been two recent series that have worked well in a limited run even though they were canceled rather than planned with an end in mind: Jack and Bobby, and Jericho. I wish that the US TV market wasn’t so formula driven. The deliberately planned maxi-series would be great. I am sure that DVD sales would be high even though syndication might be hard.

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