As this summer’s TV seasons start winding down, it is time to turn attention to the upcoming fall roster. With a wide variety of incoming new shows, viewers can weed through new pilots while treasuring premieres of renewed favorites. An interesting trend for the approaching months is time-travel. Though it is not a new plot line in the science-fiction genre, its resurgence is fascinating.
With cult followings, timeless classics, such as “Doctor Who” and “Fringe”, have explored time travel for years. Recent shows that delve into the time-travel pool include “The Flash,” “Legends of Tomorrow” and “Continuum.” The success of the aforementioned “Flash,” “Legends” and long-running “Doctor Who,” which has had multiple surges of interest over the years, might have contributed to three major networks developing shows in the time-travel category.
In the fall, audiences can look forward to new shows from ABC, NBC and FOX. From executive producer Kevin Williamson (“The Vampire Diaries”), “Time after Time” is an ABC show that follows the science fiction author H.G. Wells (Freddie Stroma, “Pitch Perfect”) as he travels to present-day Manhattan pursuing Jack the Ripper, an infamous serial killer from the 1800s. The show is based on Karl Alexander‘s novel and will premiere mid-season.
Similar use of a time machine to change history is the plot of NBC’s new show “Timeless,” which will air Oct. 3. Criminal Garcia Flynn (Goran Visnjic, “Pan-Am”) steals a time machine to rewrite history, such as the Hindenburg explosion. A scientist (Malcolm Barrett, “Better Off Ted”), a history professor (Abigail Spencer, “Cowboys and Aliens”), and a soldier (Matt Lanter, “90210”) use a prototype of the time machine to follow Flynn back in time. The unlikely team tries to foil Flynn’s plan of forever changing the history of the world.
FOX’s take on the time-travelling theme falls into the comedy genre. From Director Jared Hess (“Napoleon Dynamite”), “Making History” will join “Time after Time” as a midseason premiere. A computer science professor (Adam Pally, “The Mindy Project”) travels to the 1700s. He establishes a better life for himself than his modern one and dates Paul Revere’s daughter (Leighton Meester, “Gossip Girl”). Since his actions are changing history, such as Paul Revere’s famous ride, he enlists his friend, a history professor (Yassir Lester, “Girls”) to go to revolutionary times. The trio navigates through history and the complications of time travel together.
Hopefully, the three different premises will set the shows apart, despite their common theme of time travel. With heightening interest in science fiction tales, the popularity of the topic of time travel has grown but may have reached its peak. Current technological advances, specifically in animation, will make it interesting to see the varied portrayal of time travel and the events of the past brought to life again, from the Hindenburg in “Timeless” to the revolution bound to occur in “Making History.”