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.
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.
The Director can invoke three other protocols in special situations: Protocol Alpha temporarily suspends all other protocols when a critical mission must be completed at all costs, Protocol Epsilon can be invoked when Traveler archives are threatened, and Protocol Omega permanently suspends all other protocols when the Director abandons the Travelers because the future has either been fixed or deemed impossible to fix.
It's not a special-effects-heavy show. Instead, it focuses on squeezing every drop of juice out of the slightly off-kilter premise. For a start, "taking over" present-day human hosts kills them. So there's a massive built-in moral dilemma. And it's worked out with painstaking logic. Time travelers try to pick people who were about to die anyway - but this too presents problems. The time travelers need to remain undiscovered, which means seamlessly picking up the threads of their hosts' lives. Time travelers may have motivations of their own, which need to be dealt with in the present. It all meshes beautifully.
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.
In 2018, four unconnected people suddenly undergo personality changes at what would have been their moments of death: Marcy, a young, intellectually disabled woman, is assaulted but fights off her attackers and is no longer impaired; high-schooler Trevor concedes a mixed martial arts fight after being overmatched; heroin-addicted college student Philip drops his syringe just as his roommate injects a fatal overdose; and young mother Carly stares down her baby's abusive father. FBI agent MacLaren tracks their subsequent communication and confronts them; they reveal that they are among thousands of time travelers sent from the future to avert a global crisis, and that MacLaren was to die that night while pursuing a murderer they have already killed; MacLaren is taken over by a fifth traveler, who happens to be the team's leader.
In March 2017, Travelers agreed to acquire UK-based Simply Business from Aquiline Capital Partners for approximately $490 million. Simply Business is a leading U.K. distributor of small business insurance policies, offering products online on behalf of a broad panel of carriers. It has more than 425,000 microbusiness customers covering more than 1,000 classes of business, and was named “Best Company to Work For” by The Sunday Times in 2015 and 2016. The transaction adds to Travelers' digital capabilities.