HomeOur ObsessionsTV on the right side of history: Why ‘Timeless’ deserves to be saved

TV on the right side of history: Why ‘Timeless’ deserves to be saved

TV on the right side of history: Why ‘Timeless’ deserves to be saved

When historians (or time travellers) look back on this era, they may well stroke their chins at the manner with which we all voraciously consume television shows and the jaw-dropping volume of content created on the regular. (They’d probably also be horrified to take a peek inside the White House, but for the sake of our argument here, let’s pretend they’re total media buffs.) They’d also likely define our current TV-obsessed time as being one ruled by fandoms and where networks inexplicably cancelled some of the most beloved shows for the most baffling of reasons. Timeless is one such show.

We can see that the show may be hella expensive to film and appreciate that the ratings (from a network perspective, at least) may not have always been high enough to support the cost of producing the show – but goddammit we want it to be saved, regardless. Furthermore, we think the show and the fans are both worth the investment – here are seven pivotal reasons as to why.

 

It’s a deliriously fun, dramatic romp

First and foremost, this show is just a rollicking good time. It’s packed full of intense twists and drama, mysteries appear and unravel with care, there’s drama and pathos aching from every scene, and it’s also brimming with a rare dark humor that’s frankly life-affirming. History and the very concept of time can be daunting and a little terrifying, but Timeless always approaches it with a wry smile, a snappy punchline, and a knowing wink that are always masterfully executed.

The main troupe of time travelers (and the cast who play them) are also a major part of what makes this element such a success. Wyatt Logan (Matt Lanter), Rufus Carlin (Malcolm Barrett), Denise Christopher (Sakina Jaffrey), Garcia Flynn (Goran Višnjić), Jiya (Claudia Doumit), Connor Mason (Paterson Joseph), and Lucy Preston (Abigail Preston) all bring their own unique qualities and skills to the story and their chemistry as a cast of characters is extraordinary. But there’s one character in particular who has absolutely won our hearts.

 

Lucy is one of the best female protagonists on TV

Every TV show worth its gold in streaming data has a “strong female character” somewhere involved in the principle cast, but so few develop their “badass” women to be more than just wise-talking ball-breakers. Lucy (Abigail Spencer) is more than just the average strong female character. Complex and captivating, she’s passionate, driven, outrageously smart, and despite being arguably the most impacted by the grave changes she’s helped to make in history, she remains tough and resolute.

She might be an absolute boss, but Lucy is mercifully still open to showing vulnerability alongside her strength. It makes her come across as even more loveable and relatable, particularly when we can see just how much she loves saving history. Lucy is the quickest, toughest, sweetest, and the most knowledgeable, and dagnabbit we just love her, alright?

 

It does time travel and history better than anyone else

When you think of time travel shows, your mind can immediately leap to narratives revolving around Nazi Germany and World War II like The Man in the High Castle or that one episode of The X-Files involving the Bermuda Triangle. Or you think of woefully under researched tales about populist figures like William Shakespeare with all the production value of an episode of Wishbone. Timeless doesn’t fall into such a trap and features consistently well-researched and intelligent explorations into a diverse cornucopia of historical intrigue, and it does so better than any other show on television.

Timeless has lept deep into stories involving such compelling figures as Harriet Tubman, Muddy Water, the Rat Pack, Harry Houdini, H.H. Holmes, and Marie Curie (for whom Lucy absolutely and understandably loses her shit). For self-identified history nerds, Timeless is an all-you-can-eat buffet of historical entertainment, packed full of wondrous factual tidbits and witty references delivered for the glee of every history buff watching. It’s no surprise then that so many fans of the show feel such a personal connection with it – the attention to detail is so specific that it engages and can enrapture every history obsessive watching in a way that no other scripted fictional show can.

 

It has infinite potential storylines to be explored and we’re curious about all of them

Seriously. This show can literally go anywhere and do anything. It has the vast storytelling stretch of history at its fingertips, ready to be probed, inspected, and languished upon. Why any network in their right minds would see such a colossal opportunity and think “nah, we’re good with generic limited storytelling ideas, thanks” is absolutely beyond us.

 

Timeless fans are just the best – okay?

Here’s a fact you may know all too well if you count yourself as a fan of the show. Timeless fans are some of the boldest, smartest, and most tenacious fans of any TV show around right now. When Timeless was cancelled after S1, they fought hard for its return and NBC eventually relented and reversed their decision and gave the show (an amazing) S2.

The fans still haven’t given up on Timeless despite being cancelled for a second time by the network and they continue to fight for its survival. SNL star Leslie Jones even threatened to “march nude in front of” the NBC offices (where she works) unless they agreed to renew the show for a third season. That’s fighting talk, folks!

 

It’s an Emmy contender for hair and makeup, for crying out loud!

Right, sure – cancel a show that might win a fucking Emmy. That makes perfect sense.

 

That S2 finale knocked the wind out of us and we need to know what happens next

We don’t want to give too much away for anyone who might be reading who hasn’t seen the show, because good lord you should. But the S2 two-hour finale is stacked with breathtaking character development and world-changing revelations, including a bombshell cliffhanger ending and a certain major character’s life left hanging in jeopardy.

We think we’ll join Jones on that naked march if we don’t get to see a resolution to that finale.

 

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Amy Roberts is a freelance writer who occasionally moonlights as a hapless punk musician. She’s written about pop culture for websites like Bustle, i-D, and The Mary Sue, and is the co-creator of Clarissa Explains F*ck All. She likes watching horror movies with her cat and eating too much sugar.

amy@filmdaily.co