Timeless has been on Netflix for a while, but I haven’t seen it until now. What a waste would it been if I failed to see it during 2017 and if I was unable to blog about it (since I blog about new programme only).
The series is amazing, and I am half way through in less that two days. It has lots of episodes so plenty of enjoyment for time travel lovers like me. Yes, you heard right. This beauty is about time travelling. However, that’s not all. This beauty shows importance of knowing history and promotes the position of historians as a desirable and useful profession. As a person who has done a PhD in historical sociology using Croatian 19th century history as a case study, and as a person who is currently researching public relations history, it goes without saying that I absolutely loved this.
In summary, a group of three people are going to the US past to save history because one man is trying to distort it and change it for his own benefit. The three fighters are Lucy Preston (Abigail Spencer), a University professor in history, Rufus Carlin (Malcom Barrett), a pilot of the time machine and Wyatt Logan (Matt Lanter), a US soldier. The bad guy is Garcia Flynn or no more or less but Croatian actor Goran Višnjić (see profile) (and Netflix spells his name correctly like I just did, WOW).
Lucy is a central character in the defence team because she knows history and thus it comes easy for her to guess what will Garcia try to change, because she knows important events in the US political and social history. However, while Garcia is at first portrayed as a bad guy slowly his role is changing and we learn he is trying to erase from history an organisation called Ritterhouse. This secret organisation that influences and rules America from the shadow has killed his family because he raised an issue of who they are so he wants to erase them from history to get his family back.
Thus, in all episodes our time travellers travel through history to save important events and we get to learn about US (and to some extent European) history, which was really interesting. I knew some things but I also learnt others. Needless to say, the history is presented in an appealing way and those who dislike history will not find themselves bored to death.
However, history always gets changed at least a little bit and in some instances this has devastating consequences. For example, because the history of Nazi Hindenburg airplane was changed and many lives were saved, Lucy looses her sister because her step-father never gets married with her mother for he marries a grand daughter of a women who survived Hindenburg disaster, which was originally never meant to be born. A moving moment in the film is when Garcia goes back to the past and other then trying to disrupt US space programme also visits his mother and saves his stepbrother’s life. He boldly tells his mother that all his memories of her were where she was sad and miserable and this has been changed now, and that it was good to see her again. Obviously, she does not know what is going on but the moment is moving.
The concept of time travelling in this film follows a pattern according to which one cannot time travel back to time when one was already born but only further in the past. Thus, history has to be changed in a way to investigate origins of the problem and tackle it at the beginning. This is different than in some other time travelling films where characters do go back to the time where they already existed but make sure not to meet themselves because of catastrophic consequences. A good example is legendary “Back to the Future” film series, second film in particular.
In addition, what is interesting in this series is a notion that history as we know it is created in part because of time travelling. The concept makes sense because if any of us would go back in time, we would worry not to change anything that would affect our present lives but we would also naturally end up telling our ancestors stuff they did in a way as if we are telling them what to do, which would make the present happen. For example, time travellers tell comedian Harry Houdini who to hire for his assistant to achieve fame and because of his involvement in helping time travellers and saving lives of Henry Ford and other influential Americans they naturally come to his plays later, after invited to do so, which then obviously gives him fame. Thus, history has been created through time travelling as well because Houdini had an empty room for his shows prior to helping time travellers. Even though time travellers came from the future where he is already famous it only happened because of time travelling. In the same vein, if I was to travel back through time I would go centuries back to meet my ancestor who presumably caused an outrage at the time and preserved our family surname by giving children her surname instead of their father’s. This enabled my recognition of our roots in 2010, and if I was to go back to meet her I would naturally end up telling her to do this so it would happen.
A very interesting series, with slightly different concept of time travelling than a time travelling series I watched recently, “Dark”. However as I have written before, this is natural for there are several understandings of how time travelling would work (see here).
I will not go into any more details not to spoil anything, but seriously watch this.
Thank you for reading.