What we’re dealing with: Dan Vasser (Kevin McKidd) is a newspaper reporter (But not a mild mannered one) who funds himself taking trips through time, to past events in his hometown of San Francisco. Not knowing the purpose of these trips at first, he realizes soon enough that he has to influence past events and change the course of history. Not necessarily in his life, but in the life of others. However, he’s missing from present day SF for the duration of these time travels, and when combining that fact with his past addictions to alcohol and gambling, it’s obvious that his friends and family are getting quite suspicious of him. And as if things weren’t complicated enough, he meets his former sweetheart in the past, which he thought was dead, only to find out she’s involved with these trips.
For Fans of: The first show I thought of when watching the show (Actually, when I just heard about it) was Quantum Leap, which I really liked back in the day, but it also takes some elements from Early Edition.
The Good: Excellent acting. Kevin Mckidd plays his role very well, but he’s not alone. I always keep a soft spot in my heart for graduates of Homicide: Life on the Streets (One of the best shows of all time) so it’s nice to see Reed Diamond there, as Dan’s brother. Another thing I liked is the attention to details in the jump between present and past, like Dan’s cell phone suddenly losing reception. The set designers also did a good job on past and present SF.
The Bad: The story is too complex to follow. It’s intriguing and has a lot of potential. But the pilot bombards us with so much information and so many plot lines we need to follow that it’s hard to keep up. It’s not only the time travel. We also have to follow his relationships with his current wife and supposedly dead girlfriend. And his wife and brother may have a history together. Add to that the mystery behind those trips and it’s a real mess trying to keep up. I’m not saying TV shows have to be one dimensional and dumb themselves down for the audience, but throwing too much stuff in the pilot seems like an attempt to open up as many storylines as possible in order to see what works, without having a solid plan from the get go.
In Closing Journeyman is worth a shot. The storytelling in the pilot was very flawed, but the show definitely has potential if it finds its focus and direction. Journeyman will also need support from NBC. The network put it in the dreaded Monday night at 10:00 time slot which last year hosted two very good shows (Studio 60 and The Black Donnellys) Which didn’t survive due to poor ratings, despite being a couple of the best shows of last year. If NBC wants to climb up the ratings chart as a network, it will need to show more drama series the patience it showed Friday Night Lights last year. Journeyman might not be a hit off the gate, but with time and focus can create a solid following. Give it a chance (I know I will, at least for a few more episodes) and hope that NBC does the same.
Sir Linksalot: Journeyman