Those who have stuck with the character rich science fiction of Journeyman know that the show is a rare commodity, despite its slipping ratings. Its paradoxical place in the television universe as an expertly crafted character piece nuanced by the clichés of time travel pulp science fiction make Journeyman as far from a ‘niche’ show as one could possibly get. Journeyman is, in fact, more for those expecting multiple layers of pomp and circumstance seasoned with a touch of the bizarre. None the less, the show does have a chance, and with the peek into the mythological aspects of its story last week, and the fortuitous order of three more scripts from NBC, the layout of the coming weeks could either make or break Dan Vassar’s chance at securing a back nine.
One issue that plagues Journeyman is the prejudice that it experienced as it was awaiting release. The central device of the story, a character who travels in time to right wrongs, was laid bare for a nit picky swarm of science fiction fans to brand as banal and over done, without ever coming to know the differences that existed between the story of Vassar (Kevin McKidd) and his more familiar contemporaries.
Journeyman’s writing staff would be well advised to learn a few tricks from their lead-in, Heroes. Heroes broke the serial sci-fi formula by taking a popular complaint of the sole serialized success at the time, Lost, and providing an outlet of satisfaction for those critics. In Heroes’ case, it was the lack of answers to smaller mysteries. Heroes, for some time, became adept at solving short term, but highly intriguing bits of character and circumstantial conundrums.
Perhaps Journeyman’s key for survival in the NBC board room lay in the ability for the show to ‘game change’ in such a way that the story ceases to be the repetitive device driven drama that we know it will be from week to week. Something that has been hinted at by Lost’s producers year after year, but never truly accomplished.
Right now, the constant chatter that Journeyman is just another time travel show ala Quantum Leap and Sliders is eroding the interest amongst the unindoctrinated. Show them that the show is, in fact, nothing of the sort, and bravery of such a ‘game changer’ could echo loud enough for a new crop of viewers, and the NBC board room, to take notice.
– Jon Lachonis, BuddyTV Senior Writer
(Image Courtesy of NBC)