What I didn't realize at first was that Travelers was created by some of the key members of the former Stargate TV team. Of course, two of that show's best writers, Mallozzi and Mullie, are masterminding the entertaining space opera Dark Matter. Meanwhile, Travelers is being put together by former Stargate writer and producer Brad Wright, with directing work by Stargate alumni Martin Wood and Andy Mikita. While Dark Matter is more light-hearted, Travelers carries on the harder-edged side of the Stargate tradition, without losing that show's uncanny addictiveness and entertainment value.
These days, travelers will tell you that Tahiti is no longer a dream. True, it has an international airport, and smart hotels rise within sight of the coral reef. I have seen the changes over the years, yet the island is still beautiful and still rises suddenly green to the cloud-touched mountaintops. At least from the sea, before you come too close, you can still see Tahiti as Paul Gauguin saw it— in all its extravagance and romance—when he voyaged there from France to paint.
During an update for historians, one of them dies from cerebral overload and is taken over by another traveler. The faction then breaks in and kidnaps the historians. A Blackbox is a device used to extract information from an unconscious or dying person and the team uses one to access a critically injured Hall to ascertain the location of historians. Jeff reaches out to his police sergeant to get his job back and is told to get help from a social worker first. Philip is questioned by the faction. Philip is given time with Kyle as a gesture of good will, who states that he sympathizes with the faction's goal, especially since he just saw another historian die during the update. Faction saves a TELL that Kyle provided to gain his support. Jeff reaches out to David to sign his therapy form for him to get his job back. David agrees to help as a social worker with Jeff's addiction, which the traveler doesn't actually have. Hall is able to relay information from when he was tracking his team's historian showing he ran into a faction team and was shot climbing a fence. He reveals that it was Kyle and Luca from his own team that shot him. Hall is able to show the team the location of the historians and the team is dispatched. While with David, Jeff receives a message to meet up at the location for tactical support. Philip is able to escape before being cornered by Kyle and Luca. Maclaren's team shows up just in time to save Philip and kills Luca and Kyle. The team saves all the historians while taking out many of the faction. Hall is told he saved them all and is able to pass away in peace knowing that. Jeff and Carly reconnect. Philip is seen throwing out his yellow pills that historians have to take.
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I tuned in to Travelers with low expectations. Time travel has rarely made for compelling television. Often, it's just an excuse for moving to a new historical setting each week. (Even Doctor Who stopped doing pure time travel after the first few years and started emphasizing the "relative dimension in space.") Travelers sounded particularly dreary: people from the future taking over humans in the present. Oh, great, a time travel story that lets us glimpse the wonders of... the present.
Carly loses custody of her son until the trial. Grace is due to die, so Trevor kidnaps her to save her life. Believing he is insane, she flees and is overwritten despite having avoided the accident that would have killed her. Grace and another newly arrived traveler, Ellis, are computer programmers who have fled an anti-Director faction in the future. Ellis has developed a code that is sought by this faction, and has returned to the 21st century to keep it from them. David and Marcy consummate their relationship. However, her condition worsens and Boyd stabilizes her, but Marcy is near death. In the future, Grace was in charge of social media research and identifying the candidates. She wants to correct Marcy's condition with an experimental overwrite. She offers to redirect Marcy's original transfer into the functional part of her brain, saving her at the cost of her 21st-century memories. MacLaren lets Marcy decide, and she decides to speak to David first. However, her condition becomes critical shortly before David returns home, and she is overwritten by her earlier self. Her team introduces her to David.
Travelers transfer into a cult preparing for mass suicide. MacLaren's team, the cult, and many other travelers, including senior engineer Bloom, meet at the antimatter facility. Bloom reveals that the future has been subtly rewritten and is not as united as it once was. Dosed with antitoxin, they release a toxic cloud to force a local evacuation. Gleason interrogates Delaney until MacLaren returns her to the facility and explains the nature of travelers. Gleason discovers Delaney's escape and prepares to return to her lab. Using the antimatter to power an x-ray laser, the travelers intend to deflect asteroid Helios 685, saving millions of lives and preventing the environmental catastrophes and devastating wars that led to their dark future. Deflecting Helios has been the Director's main goal, even though it could possibly prevent the travelers' own births in the future. Gleason leads an assault, killing most of the cult travelers and Bloom before she can fire the laser. However, travelers transfer into his soldiers and eventually into him, sacrificing themselves to complete the mission. The traveler within Gleason fires the laser while MacLaren and his team save Delaney from the antimatter explosion on Bloom's orders. MacLaren is unsure of the mission's success, as his team remains in the present.
Nantucket was once one of the richest places in America, built on the profits of the whale oil industry. Even today in the delectable old town there are fine brick houses with silver mailboxes.Old-time sailors used to call Nantucket “The Little Grey Lady of the Sea.” On the misty morning I first arrived there, I could understand why. A woman was riding a horse along the beach to the utter delight of her family aboard my ferry, and she bore a banner that said “Crazy Aunt Rides Again.” It is a unique place.
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In 2006, a Travelers commercial titled Snowball was nominated for an Emmy. Snowball featured a man, walking down a steep San Francisco sidewalk, who trips and knocks over a table of items at a garage sale. The man and the items roll down the street, forming a ball which gathers garbage cans, pedestrians, construction materials, motorcycles, light poles, and other items, in a manner very reminiscent of the familiar cartoon "snowball" effect or the cult video game Katamari Damacy. The creators of the ad say it is simply based on the snowball effect, they have never heard of the game, and that the resulting similarity was a surprise to them.
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Resuming their hosts' lives, the team suffer paranoia and hallucinations of their future pre-Travel lives, side effects of the antitoxin. MacLaren's coworkers hold a surprise party for his 15th anniversary with the FBI. Kat confronts him about lying to Forbes; he seduces her, but she is still certain he is cheating. During their lovemaking, MacLaren hallucinates that Kat is a woman with very short hair, with Carly's number (3465) tattooed on her neck. After Rene attempts to shoplift some clothes with Trevor and another friend, Trevor confronts the two outside, in an alley. During a fight between Trevor and the other guy, Trevor possibly experiences a slippage of time, where his friend is able to connect with a punch. This will later develop into Trevor's diagnosis of temporal aphasia. Their intimacy growing, David reluctantly helps Marcy perform surgery on herself to prevent seizures. Carly rebuffs a representative of Child Protective Services. Trevor reins in his host's delinquency, and he and Renee meditate. Ray takes Philip to a twelve-step meeting for drug addicts and gets him a pet turtle to care for. Trevor and Philip learn the team has a new mission.
Kathryn confronts MacLaren about an affair she believes he is having, leading him to end his relationship with Carly. Charlotte, the misfire historian, is overwritten and murders her team. She attempts to assassinate Grace, but Trevor stops her. Grace reveals that the anti-Director faction was responsible for the team's abduction. Charlotte is shot by Jeff while attempting to kill Carly. Ellis reveals that he has built a quantum frame that the Director, an advanced AI, can use to travel to the present to escape the faction. David is held at gunpoint by another assassin but is saved by Marcy. The team arrives at the farm where Trevor has received a text to destroy the frame. Boyd reveals she received an order to kill MacLaren and holds him at gunpoint; Carly later reveals having been given the same mission. Assassins surround the farm as Ellis shoots Trevor to keep him from harming the frame. Grace jumps in front of Trevor and is shot as well. Ellis shuts down the perimeter shield in the hope that the Director will help them and delivers a message to destroy the frame shortly before he dies. It is revealed that the people surrounding them are not anti-Director assassins, but FBI agents led by Forbes.
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Even if you're not a Stargate fan, you should definitely give Travelers a chance. It's a show that really knows what it's doing. It knows how to tell stories that are morally deep, intellectually clever and emotionally satisfying, all at the same time. We've seen some really good SF on TV lately, but Travelers is the one show that I'm most excited to see more of. A LOT more, hopefully.