An Open Letter To Millenials – from Generation X

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Hi.  I know, it’s been a while.

We don’t talk much – maybe because we’re still using voicemail to reach you.  Or maybe it’s because of all those hit-pieces we’ve been writing about how you’re the worst generation ever.*  Sorry, those are all by Dave.

Dave got a Journalism degree back when a Journalism degree was supposed to lead to a legitimate career.  Now he’s struggling with car payments while competing with you for listicle space on Buzzfeed.  You’d think he’d understand that these days, all college degrees are about as useful as a 90’s BA in Journalism, but… well, he’s just so bitter.  We’re working on him, but you’re so much younger and prettier and you’ve got all these smartphone apps he doesn’t understand.

Anyway.

We should’ve had this handled.  We could’ve gotten together and started fixing things, so at least you’d be holding a lighter bag of shit (and maybe one that doesn’t have a “TRUMP” logo on it).  But we really, really dropped the ball.

I know, I know.  But look, you’ve gotta understand… we didn’t stand a chance.

When we were growing up, we had, like five TV channels – maybe seven if you were near a city.  Cable was for rich people.  But then – right when we were old enough to discover marijuana – the price of cable dropped and all of the sudden we’ve got 200 channels.  And somewhere, on one of those channels, at any time of day or night, there was some shit written back in the 60’s by some fellas who were totally high at the time.

We didn’t stand a chance!**

I mean, we actually thought Bill Clinton was gonna fix everything (no, really!) and fell asleep at the switch for the ’94 midterms, and next thing you know Newt fucking Gingrich was running the country.

But, BUT… all that TV we were watching (and memorizing all the songs from the Hamlet musical episode of Gilligan’s Island as if that was important), we did notice a few things.  We noticed that our government called the Rwandan genocide an “ethnic cleansing” so we wouldn’t have to do anything about it.  We noticed all these private prisons popping up, which the news said were “saving” all these unemployed small towns.  We thought that maaaaybe having a profit motive for incarceration would end badly, but the news never said that.   The news was busy consolidating itself into like, three different corporations.

And oh boy don’t get us started on “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”

Look.  We were just getting off the couch.  I swear.  But then they told us about this brand new thing called the World Wide Web…

We didn’t.  Stand.  A chance.

But enough about us.***

See, I think, unlike us, you do have a chance.  You’re the ones who grew up with all this technology that we had to adapt to while we were young and wasted.  You’ve been doing an end-run around commercial TV and music for your entire lives.  While that’s made TV awesome, it’s made things harder on writers and musicians.  But then, you’ve been showing writers and musicians a new way of Doing Things, where they can create a social media presence that allows them to interact directly with their fans and their wallets.

And what you did in this election HOLY SHIT DUDES YOU NEARLY GOT OUR DREAM CANDIDATE NOMINATED!*****  Also, I don’t hold the Berniebros against you.  At least they’re active.

Guys, OMG (is it okay for me to use “OMG?”  Am I dating myself?)… you have more information at your fingertips than any human being has ever had, anywhere, at any point in history.  And you know how to find it.  Seriously – I can do a Google search with people my age and still come off like a futuristic space wizard.  For you guys, it’s just second nature.  Anyone who tries to de-value that is just being an asshole.

Here’s the thing, though – I’m afraid you may be our last shot at this.  I mean, this whole civilization thing.  We’ve had a pretty good run, but those of us with children and grandchildren and 401K’s and mortgage payments are just gonna keep doing what we’ve been doing.  That means we’re never gonna understand what confirmation bias or social media bubbles or critical thinking is.  But you guys, you know better.  And in turn, you should demand better – and tell Dave to go fuck himself if he can’t get on board.

But let’s just all agree that the Star Wars prequels sucked, okay?

 

 

*Really?  Fucking really?  About a hundred years ago, a single generation failed to prevent World War I and set the stage for World War II.  But Millenials are the worst?  Are you fucking kidding me?

**But you did notice how pot’s becoming legal like, everywhere, right?  You’re welcome.

*** It is, after all, our favorite subject.****  Hey, there’s something else we have in common!

****Our second-favorite subject is playing Fuck-Marry-Kill with 60’s-70’s TV characters (Ginger, Mary Ann, Mrs. Howell, c’mon gimme a hard one).

*****Gen-Xers, just take a step back and inhabit your twenty year-old self.  Tell me “Socialist Grandpa” wasn’t your Platonic Ideal of a President.

A Post In Search Of A Subject

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Well, not really sure what to do next on here. So here’s some basic updates:

I’ve considered doing a piece on how, even in the age of Twitter and texting abbreviations, that spelling matters. But then, I’m wondering if people really want to read an opinion piece from Professor Grammardick. It’s not like this is Slate or something.*

The Crown was all right, but it’s dragged down a bit by its subject matter – Britain’s Blandest Royal and Sad Old Churchill. When there’s so many great British Royal Family stories full of stabbings and coups and wars, you find yourself a bit disappointed when the biggest conflict is the princess canoodling with a mere RAF Captain.

Anyway, you can watch the trailer and see for yourself:

Oh! Okay, I’ve got a review for you in the form of a drunken conversation I had with my friend Nicole, aka Shirley Oahu:

Me: “Yeah, Joan Chen. She was in The Blood Of Heroes.”
Shirley Oahu: “The what?”
M:The Blood Of Heroes! You know, that post-apocalyptic sports movie.”
S: “The what?
M: “They play Juggers with a dog’s skull.”
S: “Are you speaking English right now?”
M: “The object of the game is to get a dog’s skull on a spike. Only one player on each team can carry the skull. All the other players have melee weapons. It starts with these armed post-apocalyptic badasses led by Rutger Hauer walking out of the wastes into a town and a kid sees them and goes, ‘Juggers coming! Juggers coming!’ And then the violence happens.”
S: “HOW HAVE I NEVER HEARD OF THIS MOVIE?”
M: “I DON’T KNOW!”

Well, now you’ve heard of this movie, and it’s free on YouTube.

You’re welcome. Honestly, this movie is better than it has any right to be.**

I’ve taken up a Three-Motherfuckers Rule on Facebook. I’m only allowed on Facebook for the time it takes me to say “motherfucker!” out loud, three times. I’m making it about fifteen minutes these days. You spend enough time on there discussing the latest piece of rage-inducing absurdism, you start to forget that things like joy and beauty still exist in the world.

And billy goats.

So here’s some mental palate cleansers for you, in the form of old forgotten memes. This one’s my favorite from this summer, c/o Anthony Hamilton and the Hamiltones:

And remember when flash mobs were a thing? I think after this one, all the other flash mobs just packed up and went home.

Okay, I think that’s it until after Thanksgiving. Have a good one, everybody!

*But really, think of this: you’re having an online discussion about Islam, and one person keeps spelling it “Mooselam.” What does that tell you? Yeah see, you already have a picture in your head of an Islamophobe, and you’re probably right. After all, it’s likely the writer has formed an opinion on Islam without ever seeing the word in print. Sometimes spelling matters.

**And STAY AWAY FROM THE TRAILER. It’s ridden with spoilers.

Are You Fucking Kidding Me? Post-Election 2016.

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Ya know, I wasn’t sure what to write next – and then I remembered that we just made a Reality TV character President.

This makes about as much sense as making a cartoon billionaire President.

No really.  Think about it, those of you who voted for anyone else:  would you be more or less worried about the future of this country (and the world) if half the electorate voted for Scrooge McDuck?

Personally, I’m on the fence.

So I’m inspired to try out a new feature called…

ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME?

…where I discuss the general zeitgeist and maybe some current events that make me go are you fucking kidding me?

I think this may have some legs in the coming weeks / months / years.  First up:

“It’s gonna be okay / Calm down / Give him a chance”

“Oh, give President-Elect McDuck a chance,” you say.  “Once the inauguration rolls around, he’ll put on some pants.

Really?  Based on what evidence, white dude (it’s always a white dude)?*  You think a candidate who’s been an utter, juvenile asshole his entire life is suddenly gonna transform not only into a grownup, but into a grownup who can run the most powerful country on Earth?

Listen, white dude who didn’t vote for him: non-white dudes (and dudettes) right now have very real reasons to be afraid. We need to learn to shut the fuck up.

As for you, white dude who voted for him?  Fuck you.

I’ll tell you where that instinct to “comfort” people on the election result comes from – your ruined conscience.

This Is Not Normal.  If you went to the polls on Election Day and filled in the box that you knew read “racist with A.D.D.,” you need to live with that.  You want to make up for it?  Try and help the people who’re gonna get stepped on thanks to your abysmal decision-making skills.**

Do better.

“I know what the Democrats did wrong, it’s…”

Oh really, Monday-morning QB

Now excuse me while I do some holier-than-thou finger-waggling, but it seems like the left is doing a lot of holier-than-thou finger-waggling at the left for doing too much holier-than-thou finger-waggling at the right.

Cut it out, okay?  A White Supremacist is going to become the White House’s Chief Strategist.

We don’t have time for this.

Speaking of which:

Stephen Bannon – Chief Strategist Of The White (Supremacy) House

But “give him a chance.”

Guess what:  that was his chance.

Really.  Seriously.  How many chances does this guy deserve?  Isn’t that his one?

Celebrity

I’ve been watching The Crown.  It’s got John Lithgow in a fat suit and the Eleventh (Twelfth?) Doctor, so hey I’m on board.

It got me thinking of that time a bunch of paparazzi ran down Prince William’s mom.  Aside from her title, she was most famous for two things: having her husband put his dick somewhere else, and keeping children from exploding.

In that order.

And then, geez The UK just lost its fucking mind for a bit there, even turning on the Queen and saying she wasn’t mourning properly. Sure, royalty is its own thing but…

…damn.

That was a real big sign that something might be broken in all of us.  I don’t know if we listened then. I don’t think enough of us stood up when we heard Elton John yankovicking himself at her funeral and declared, “THIS IS NOT NORMAL!”

(They kicked me out of that record store, it’s a Victoria’s Secret now.
Anyway.)

I grew up in New York City.  When I was a kid, Donald Trump’s most laudable goal was bringing all New Yorkers together in universal loathing.

He was the guy who bought casinos like he was playing blackjack with daddy’s money and didn’t know how to stop saying “hit me.”  He was a walking reminder of how much the eighties sucked.  He was the Platonic Ideal of a millionaire dick. He was the one guy who made you feel a little bit better, because at least you weren’t as bad as him.

And that ridiculous goddamn hair.

Then along came The Apprentice.

[Insert rant about reality TV by someone who doesn’t watch it – well that’s not really true I like the one with the crabbers]

…but really, it’s a symptom.

Like many people, I wish I didn’t know who Kim Kardashian was. I feel like my world is just, incrementally, a little worse for knowing she exists. And yet at some point, a thought occurred that she actually pays someone to Photoshop her nude selfies. And I couldn’t get the thought out of my head.

How much does that person get paid? Do they do other stuff, or do they just wait for Kim to point her phone at herself? OMG, are they the same person who taught her how to tweet? They have much to answer for.

(Hey, remember when the President Elect made her go sell a fragrance?
Hey, remember how that was the President-Elect’s last job?)

It’s a disease, and we’re all infected.  You can see it in your feed, in the checkout line, on the ad crawl.  Breakups and hot messes.  Drunken rants and mugshots.  Upskirted limos, duckfaced selfies and fappenings.

And tweets.

That Andy Warhol prediction is looking more like he fucked us with a curse.

There’s a need in us to both elevate and destroy, and we’ve been feeding that need.  We’ve been gorging on it.  We have pop stars getting stalked by photographers 24-7 just to document it when the pressure makes them snap.  We tweet things to an actor we’d never say to anyone’s face just because they said something we didn’t like.

And Trump is the giant, orange expression of the disease.  He can be your surrogate bully or your easy target. You can make him out to be a genius businessman with his finger on the Fix My Life button, or the infant Nazi with his finger on the End-The-World button.  And he loves it.  Because there’s no aptitude test to celebrity.  No resume needed.  No common humanity even – hell, that can be drawback.

Trump is the logical outcome when people, on average, spend more time contemplating some actor’s marriage than our nation’s… anything. 

And so this is what we are.  A nation led by President Celebutard.

Good luck, everybody.  I think we’re all gonna need it.

And finally…

2016, are you fucking kidding me?
In no particular order:
David Bowie, Prince, Leonard Cohen, Maurice White, Mose Allison, Paul Kantner, Keith Emerson, Merle Haggard, Phife Dawg, Dan Hicks, Toots Thielemans, George Martin, George Gaynes, George Kennedy, Garry Marshall, Michael Cimino, Peter Schaffer, Harper Lee, Elie Wiesel, Steve Dillon, Gwen Ifill, John McLaughlin, Anton Yelchin, Steven Hill, Gene Wilder, Kenny Baker, Michu Meszaros, Eric Bauersfeld, Garry Shandling, Bert Kwouk, Sagan Lewis, Patty Duke, David Huddleston, William Schallert, Robin Williams, Ken Howard, Alan Rickman, Dan Haggerty, Doris Roberts, Pat Harrington Jr, Miss Cleo, Muhammad Ali, Joe Garagiola, Gordie Howe, Jose Fernandez, and Abe fucking Vigoda***

 *Yes, I know President Obama said it as well but he’s a better man that I am / the exception that makes the rule / what else can he say?  “Well that’s it, America.  We had a good run, but it’s over.  Start stocking up on potable water and ammunition.  Also, GET FUCKED.”  I mean it mighta been appropriate, but it wouldn’ta been Presidential.  I have a feeling we’re ALL gonna miss him.

**So instead of saying stupid “comforting” bullshit that makes your receptionist feel even worse, how about you shut the fuck up and donate to the following:
The Southern Poverty Law Center
Planned Parenthood
The American Civil Liberties Union
Human Rights Watch
Doctors Without Borders
And if you already do, donate more, until it hurts.  You have A RECEPTIONIST, you can cover it.

***That list is not complete, I kept it to deaths that meant a little something to me.  But if you don’t recognize a name, plug it into Google and you may be surprised to know that we lost R2-D2, Admiral Ackbar, Alf, Cato, Schneider and The Big Lebowski. 
And yes, I know we lost Phyllis Schlafly, Antonin Scalia, Nancy Reagan and Glenn Frey too.  No, it doesn’t make me feel any better.

Time Travel TV Roundup #3: Frequency

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Before you proceed, SPOILER WARNING.  Some of my review will give away some plot twists.

She’s a New York City detective in 2016.  He’s an undercover cop in 1996 – and her father! With the help of a Magic Ham Radio, they fight crime!

This is a show meant for adults the CW.

I’M THE DOCTOR

Frank is the undercover cop. He was killed in 1996 after a drug deal gone bad. His daughter, Raimy, took up the family business with a huge chip on her shoulder about her dad.  She’s been told her dad was dirty (and we learn all this with narration uh oh right before we smash cut to “72 hours earlier” are you fucking kidding me UH OH).

Frank and Raimy reconnect with a ham radio that can transmit through time.  They’re good guys, so they use this power to fight crime.*

WIBBLY-WOBBLY, TIMEY-WIMEY

A ham radio attached to a homemade antenna in 2016 is struck by lightning, which makes it communicate with the same ham radio back in 1996.

According to the show itself: the lightning  made the ham radios quantum entangled, experiencing what Einstein called “spooky action at a distance.”

I’m not kidding, they say this in the show.

Dr. Neil DeGrasse Tyson, would you care to weigh in?

…thank you, Dr. Tyson.  Very helpful.

Let’s just say this is not how “spooky action” or quantum physics or electricity works.  Let’s also say it would make more sense if our heroine just got the ham radio from a witch in the forest.

BIGGER ON THE INSIDE

Uh boy.  In the lead-up to writing this review, I’d forgotten I’ve got a whole section where I have to say something nice.

David Tennant? Little help?

…thank you, Mr. Tennant.

Well.  Everybody in this show, man… they’re trying.  I’ll give them that.  And if you like top ten hits from the nineties, BOY IS THIS THE SHOW FOR YOU.

Wait, there’s a bit I liked:

In the 90’s, when Frank took his undercover assignment, he set up a secret dead-drop with Raimy so he can still give her birthday presents.  When Raimy’s in 2016 and hears Frank over the Magic Ham Radio, she’s a bit skeptical (naturally).  To prove the Ham Radio is Magic, Frank puts a picture of himself in the dead-drop in 1996, and Raimy digs it up in 2016.  It’s actually a nice bit.

SMALLER ON THE OUTSIDE

After my last review, we had a Facebook discussion involving suspense of disbelief.  Sure, these are time travel shows, and that’s already a ridiculous premise.  Science tells us that time travel is practically impossible – not to mention the fact that we’ve never met time travelers.**

But hey, I’m a big fan of that show about the flying phone booth, and that show about the cowboy robots, and that show about a demon-making cookbook.***  All these shows have ridiculous premises that I’m on board with.  Because within, say, a show where a talking horse and his human roommate go on adventures,**** there’s narrative consistency.

In Frequency, an undercover cop gets on a ham radio to talk to strangers and uses his real name.

Yeeeah.

This show is jam-packed with characters acting like idiots and crazy people.  Especially Frank.

First thing that happens once Raimy and Frank believe each other: Raimy warns Frank that he’s about to die… and he doesn’t believe her.

Well, it turns out he hides a gun at the meet in case something goes south (and he knows the exact alley in a shipyard where they’re going to execute him, somehow). He doesn’t tell Raimy any of this because DRAMA. Of course, he comes off looking like a heartless crazy person, but hey DRAMA.

Anyway, Frank lives and now in 2016, Raimy’s mom (Julie) is dead because of course she is.

Raimy tells past-Frank that Julie’s gonna get murdered, so Frank tries to keep Julie from leaving the house. After multiple scenes where Frank makes his estranged wife think he’s a paranoid crazy person, he finally takes her to the garage to talk to future-Raimy on the Magic Ham Radio.  There’s no answer – not because Raimy’s not sitting at the Magic Ham Radio (she is), but because she got mad at Frank a few scenes earlier for no reason.

Award winning producer and master of script construction Tina Fey – anything you’d like to add?

…exactly, Ms. Fey.

There are more examples.  This section got a severe edit.

Yeeeeah.

PHONEBOOTHS

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I’m a big fan of sci-fi. I particularly love time travel shows. I put my layman’s scientific knowledge aside when watching, because most of the time… well you just have to. But you do appreciate the show who assumes you’re an intelligent viewer who asks “wait, how did that happen?” and tries to give you an explanation you can live with – even if it’s “aliens did it.”*****

Frequency just assumes you don’t ask questions – such as, “wait, if Raimy gets new memories on top of her old memories every time they change the past, isn’t she gonna go crazy within four episodes?”
That’s because Frequency just assumes their target audience of 18-24 year-olds are a bunch of idiots.  But judging by the writing, I’d say their target audience is way smarter than they are.  And those viewers are gonna let the show know… by not coming back for the next episode.******

 

*Well, they’re TV good guys.  I think even real good guys would be telling 1996 to buy Apple stock.

**Nobody came from the future to warn us about Tuesday. PROOF TIME TRAVEL IS IMPOSSIBLE.

***Doctor Who, Westworld, and Ash vs. Evil Dead, respectively.

****BoJack Horseman.  OMG BOJACK HORSEMAN IS SO GOOD.

*****This is the go-to explanation in the Stargate shows for just about everything.  If you haven’t seen any of Stargate, you should.  It’s super fun. Start yourself off with Stargate SG-1‘s season 4 episode, “Window Of Opportunity”.  You’re welcome.

******I could be wrong.  I thought Vampire Diaries played like a 45 year-old Twilight fan with a learning disability wrote it, and that’s been going on for… HOLY SHIT EIGHT SEASONS!  Sometimes I don’t understand these kids.

Time Travel TV Roundup #2: Travelers

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This is Showcase / Netflix’s entry to the genre.  Premiering soon on Netflix, now airing on Showcase in Canada.

I’M THE DOCTOR

Imagine what someone would make of your life based on nothing but your Facebook page.  What would they have right?  What would they miss?

Now imagine someone has to navigate your life – as you – with nothing to go on but your Facebook page.

And that’s life as a Traveler.

WIBBLY-WOBBLY, TIMEY-WIMEY

So you’re a Traveler.  You come from a post-apocalyptic future – but hey, you’ve got a time machine!  Great, you can go into the past and stop the apocalypse.  But there’s a catch:

  • The time machine only sends your mind into the past.
  • It only works if you can jump into a person from the past who’s about to die (these people are called “hosts.”)
  • The hope is that you’ll stop your host’s historically recorded time of death right before it happens. (I mean, happened. I think.)  At which point, the host’s mind is gone and yours takes over.

If you haven’t seen Doctor Who:  Now you know why “wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey” is the category title.*

BIGGER ON THE INSIDE

Travelers uses the ol’ “show, don’t tell” to explain its premise, which gets me on its good side right away.**  In the first four scenes, the main characters jump into their hosts as there’s a ticking clock on the screen marked “Recorded Time Of Death.”  One “jump” happens right before an attempted sexual assault, another interrupts a “domestic dispute” about to go very, very badly for the ex-wife.  So sometimes, these jumps-in – with the victim being replaced with an experienced fighter – are very satisfying.

But the real drama here isn’t the whole “save the world” plot (in fact, the whole “save the world” plot is glacially paced).  The fun is in watching the Travelers adjust to their hosts’ lives – especially since there’s been a few mistakes in the host selection process. For example, their tech genius is stuck in the body of a junkie.

Oops.

These things happen when the future only has old social media posts and the odd obituary to go on. There are some things that might be a BIG part of someone’s life that don’t merit public social media postings – like an enthusiasm for heroin.

SMALLER ON THE OUTSIDE

Travelers will live or die by its actors. If you don’t like watching all their little character beats and moments, you’re gonna lose interest pretty quickly. And unless you’re a big fan of Vancouver-filmed sci-fi, you’re not gonna see many familiar faces. The most well-known actor here is Eric McCormack (Will & Grace).**

And I’m gonna admit – I had to go back and watch the opening sequence again just to see how the whole time-travel dealie worked.  (I’ll also admit that I may have been a bit distracted with current events and bourbon when I watched the pilot the first time.)

PHONEBOOTHS

 tardistardistardistardis

This is character-driven lower-budget sci-fi in the best sense. It’s not aiming for big ratings in a comfy network timeslot, it’s aiming for a small audience of binge-watchers. And yes, binge-watching recommended on this one, it’ll help with the slow pacing.

*Really, seriously, if you’ve gotten two parts into some teeny website’s opinion articles about new time-travel shows and you haven’t watched Doctor Who… I’m wondering if you’re a unicorn or something.

 **This is a good exercise for when you’re trying out a new show: is the pilot showing you who these people are and what their world is like… or do they have someone telling you?  If you’re watching a pilot where one character starts explaining who all the other characters are, well… I hope you don’t like that TV show, ’cause it’s DOOMED. The producers stopped giving a shit before they even started filming.

***If you are a big fan of Vancouver-filmed sci-fi, you’re gonna be going “hey it’s that guy from that thing” every five minutes. And then you might go over to Eric McCormack’s Imdb page and realize he’s done a ton of things since Will & Grace that you’ve never seen or completely forgotten about.
Damn, Eric. You do good work, I think you need a better agent.

Time Travel TV Roundup #1: Timeless

timeless-tv-show-on-nbc-season-1-canceled-or-renewed-e1463361967783

What’s with all the Time Travel TV?

By my count, there are three new time travel series this season.  For some reason, a plurality of TV executives think their current viewership may like the idea of going back in time to change the past.

No idea why.

Anyway.

All three shows have been out for a month or so.  I’ve watched at least the first three eps, and I’m gonna be evaluating each on a set of criteria that will make little sense if you’ve never watched Doctor Who.*

So first we have Timeless, on NBC.

CRITERIA ONE:  I’M THE DOCTOR

A trio of TV stock characters (Plucky Ladydoctor, Discount Jack O’Neill and Black Nerd) chase a Bad Guy With An Accent (or BAGWAA) in a stolen time machine.

CRITERIA TWO:  THE WIBBLY-WOBBLY TIMEY-WIMEY

Time is linear and there is no branching off into parallel realities when you change things.  Watch out for that Butterfly Effect.  It’s a doozy.

BAGWAA is trying to change history for reasons unclear.  Our heroes are mostly competent, so BAGWAA’s plots are mostly foiled, but he always gets away and the heroes come back to find the world slightly changed for BAGWAA’s – or their own – interference.

CRITERIA THREE:  BIGGER ON THE INSIDE

I’m reminded a lot of Rewind, the aborted SciFi show that didn’ t go past the pilot.  Here, watch it if you’d like, it’s on the Youtubes.  You look like you could use some distraction today:

Timeless is a bit a different since the time machine goes with them. (In Rewind, it does not.)  They both have a beat-the-clock element, except in Timeless, their “timer” is the exact time and date of the historical event which Plucky Ladydoctor knows everything about – she’s an historian!  This is a step up from Rewind, in my opinion, where they just throw a bag clothes at Team Time Travel and say “good luck!”

Okay, I’m exaggerating.  But only a little.

Anyway, Timeless does a little River Song / Time Traveler’s Wife riff where BAGWAA has met our heroes’ future selves, and of course he has a “spoilers” moment with Plucky Ladydoctor. The riff is a bit overused in time travel fiction – but here they use it to show that maybe BAGWAA isn’t all B.

I really liked Black Nerd’s misgivings about time travel. I mean, if your business trip was to a place where you’d be 3/5ths of a person, you would probably have some serious reservations.

Also – Malcolm Barrett’s playing his exact same character from Better Off Ted. This is NOT a bad thing.  I miss Better off Ted.  Thank you, TV show.**

I like that they jettisoned the “using modern pop culture to make up names” cliche right after the pilot. Yeah sure, it’s funny watching Plucky Ladydoctor introduce Discount Jack as “Dr. Dre” once…

Once.***

CRITERIA THREE:  SMALLER ON THE OUTSIDE

There’s this narrative problem with all time travel fiction: here, let me illustrate the problem with a couple Timeless characters discussing their show’s premise with just a skosh more genre-savvy than they had on-screen:

Discount Jack: So a BAGWAA stole your time machine.

Machiavellian Genius Billionaire Who Is Naturally British: Yes.

Discount Jack: But you have a crappy spare time machine.

MGBWINB: Yes.

Discount Jack: And you want us to chase the bad guys around time in your crappy spare time machine.

MGBWINB:  Yes.

Discount Jack: (rubs temples) Okay, just spitballing here, but… why don’t we take the crappy spare time machine back to right before the BAGWAA stole your GOOD time machine?

Tough Ladyboss: We’re wasting time!

Discount Jack: No we’re not!  We CAN’T!  WE HAVE A TIME MACHINE! 

In reality, we get (and I’m paraphrasing) :

MGBWINB: Our spare time machine is only designed to find the good time machine.

Discount Jack: Time travel problems.

For some reason, I found that exchange unsatisfying.

Also, the pilot ended with a time travel cliché so worn out that another show I’m reviewing did the exact same thing.

PHONEBOOTHS (out of 5) :

tardistardistardis

Overall, you’ve got a fairly by-the-numbers time-travel show that has room for improvement, but I remain cautiously optimistic. Malcolm Barrett could use the work (I’m pulling for you, buddy).

*You’ve never watched Doctor Who?  Stop reading this and GO, go to Amazon and start binge watching. I recommend starting with Series Five. From there, you might be tempted to go right to Series Six, but I’m gonna recommend you backtrack to Series Two so you can catch the David Tennant run. And if you’re enamored of Rose by then, go back to Series One. Or keep on going from Series Two and you’ll meet the Wonder That Is Martha Jones.

I added a lot to this footnote after Tuesday night.  I thought you might want  some guided distraction.
You’re welcome.

**Watch Better Off Ted too. You can stream it on Amazon, or get the DVDs (I KNOW, right?) on Netflix.  But for now, you can watch their filthy outtakes reel. (Also, you’ll be treated to a fine formula for expressing your feelings about what happened yesterday I’m sorry I shouldn’t have brought it up.)

***I feel bad about that last footnote, here have another distraction.