Friday, September 28, 2007

Series Premiere Review: Journeyman

Journeyman [s1 ep01]: "Pilot"

*** Spoiler Warning ***

Key Plot Points of Season Premiere

  • Dan Vasser (Kevin McKidd) is a normal husband and father, of one son, who works as a newspaper reporter for the San Francisco Register.

  • For some unknown reason, Dan begins traveling back and forth through time, particularly 1987, 1997, and 2007.

  • It appears he is meant to save the life of a certain person, but he eventually realizes it is the man's wife and child that are in danger, and he must save them instead.

  • Along the way, he runs into his ex-fiance, Livia Beale (Moon Bloodgood), as well as the 1997 version of his 2007 wife, Katie (Gretchen Egolf).

  • While in 1997, Dan runs into an older version of Livia who says cyrptic things about his disorientation and things he should do during his experiences, implying she's jumping around in time too. Livia should not appear to be that much older because she died in an airplane crash in 1997 or not long after.

  • Dan's jumps through time occur at random, including while he's driving, and keep him away from 2007 for hours or days at a time, worrying his family. At one point, his wife and friends arrange an intervention for him, but his police officer brother Jack uses a plausible (but ultimately unprovable) hit-and-run charge against Dan to get him out of it, suspecting the problem is almost anything but drugs and alcohol.

  • During one jump to 1997, Dan hides a 1997 newspaper and his wife's ring, that he's recently gotten re-sized, in a toolbox in the ground behind the house that would someday be his. To prove he's jumping around in time, he has his wife in 2007 watch him smash up their patio, laid in 2000, to get to the toolbox he hid in 1997.

Opinions and Observations

  • This looks like an interesting show. The pilot episode is almost all setup, but hopefully we'll get more character development in future episodes. I'm willing to continue giving it a chance.

  • The comparisons to Quantum Leap are inevitable (and already exist), but I think the show is unique enough to stand on its own. Also, Quantum Leap was very episodic, but Journeyman exists in the era of continuing story arcs (thanks to the style being revived by Babylon 5 in the '90s). So, I'm hoping and assuming that there are layers of underlying storline to be revealed gradually over the course of the show.

  • As an added twist on time travel, Dan faces the moral dillema of loving his wife Katie in 2007 and still having an attraction to ex-fiance Livia in 1997. He's tempted by Livia in the first episode but doesn't screw up his vows yet. I think it will be interesting to see how he handles this in future episodes, especially since there's both past and present versions of Livia and that Katie was a friend to both Dan in Livia in 1997.

  • According to Journeyman's entry at Wikipedia, Dan Vasser's house in the show is right next to the house inhabited by the Haliwell sisters in WB's Charmed.

Hopes, Concerns, or Expectations for New Season

  • The show doesn't bother explaining the science behind the time jumps or who's controlling them. I'm okay with that in the pilot, but I hope we do get some hints as to the science fiction element later on.

  • I hope future episodes have better sound quality. Several times in the pilot I felt like the music was drowning out the dialogue and that some dubbing was really obvious, especially dialogue spoken by the Livia character.

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