They don’t want to change things too much on Timeless, co-creator and executive producer Eric Kripke shared when discussing putting together this series. That means the changes we’ll see are more personal than world-headline big. The EP also discussed balancing episodic and serialized storytelling, exploring the “what if?” questions and more.

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Watch the video interview with EP Eric Kripke:

Here are the highlights:

  • This has turned out to be the most logistically challenging show he’s ever produced by a mile. “Creating an entirely new historically accurate period every week is incredibly painful,” he shared. They’re trying to bring the audience into the reality of what the different time periods were like, and that level of detail takes incredible levels of effort, a lot of money and a lot of angry phone calls.
  • They want the present reality that the team is fighting for to be the audience’s reality, “our world.” So it’s like fighting a battle in a museum where you can’t knock anything over. Inevitably, you’ll break stuff. The best way they’ll do reality changes is to make them more painful and personal to the characters, like with Lucy’s sister, rather than changing world headlines. They’re trying to do a grounded version of the show.
  • The goal is to be the modern version of Quantum Leap or Back to the Future. They want it to be fun.
  • When it comes to balancing episodic and serialized television, Kripke’s influences in TV were The X-Files and Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and as he was learning to do the job, early Smallville. He points out that people forget Buffy was a procedural.
  • The EP explained the 80/20 split formula: come up with a self-enclosed story, but advance the serialization and drop in something that rewards the recurring viewer. Then have a big mythology episode every fourth or fifth episode. He honed it with Supernatural and got a lot of experience on how to do it and not to do it, but said that Joss Whedon and Chris Carter invented it.
  • To him, sci-fi isn’t about the gadgets, it’s about the “what if?” Those are universal and emotional, and good sci-fi is about that. It’s about the people.
  • He and Shawn Ryan wanted to show angles of history people hadn’t before, so by conscious design, they made one of the characters female and one African American. “What was it like to be a black man during those times? What was it like to be a woman during those times? Spoiler alert: not easy at all.” They wanted to entertain people and present “an honest version of history” that leads to an “honest reality” to it.
  • Kripke called the original version of Rufus’ rant in the jail cell that he and Ryan wrote a solid B, but then when they had Malcom Barrett give a speech, they used it in the episode.

Timeless airs Mondays at 10/9c on NBC. Want more news? Like our Timeless Facebook page.

(Image: Meredith Jacobs)