Can ‘Timeless’ change history on NBC?

Timeless, one of NBC’s upcoming fall shows, is sending its protagonists back to the past to thwart a villain intent on changing history.

Sound familiar?

Of course it does, because “time travel shows have been done to death,” said a few Internet complainers in the trailer’s comment section.

But what is a TV producer to do? Do the armchair critics feel the same way about cop, doctor and lawyer shows?

There are only so many genres and stories that can be told, but I’m happy to see another time travel show. It’s fun to see how the past is presented and the new wrinkles the show brings to the sub-genre.

Read NBC’s description of the show:

A mysterious criminal steals a secret state-of-the-art time machine, intent on destroying America as we know it by changing the past. Our only hope is an unexpected team: a scientist, a soldier and a history professor, who must use the machine’s prototype to travel back in time to critical events. While they must make every effort not to affect the past themselves, they must also stay one step ahead of this dangerous fugitive. But can this handpicked team uncover the mystery behind it all and end his destruction before it’s too late?

The show is from Eric Kripke, Shawn Ryan and the producers of The Blacklist — familiar, successful TV folk.

After viewing the trailer, I’m immediately intrigued when the criminal steals the time machine and goes back in time to the Hindenburg.

Why is he time traveling? Does he cause the Hindenburg disaster? Is this ‘criminal’ really the enemy?

I want to know! (I’m an easy mark for these TV writers.)

There are light, comedic moments as well, mirroring the type of humor seen in prime time these days; one running joke features the character played by Malcolm Barrett, who is hesitant about where the crew is going back in time because he’s black, and so “there’s literally no place in American history that will be awesome for me,” he says in one scene.

Female lead Abigail Spencer looks solid and Matt Lanter is tough as the soldier providing the crew’s muscle. It’s the time traveling A-Team!

Timeless is scheduled to premiere on Monday, October 3, 2016 at 10 p.m. on NBC.

-Jason H.

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