A couple of centuries in the future, having screwed up the planet quite badly, humans come to the realization that they almost universally make bad decisions, and cannot be trusted with the making of policy. They turn such matters over to a higher power, an artificial intelligence called The Director. The AI concocts a plan to modify the past and prevent the ecological disasters that humans caused with their bad decision making. Thousands of volunteers are enlisted in the project.
Like most underground organizations, this one is divided into cells (teams), each of which operates independently, under orders from The Director. Marcy explains that messages from The Director are transmitted through children, because, “only prepubescent brains are malleable enough to receive and deliver messages without damage.”
The team on which the show focuses is headed by Traveler 3468, in the body of FBI Agent Grant MacLaren (Eric McCormack). There are four others on the team. Marcy (MacKenzie Porter) is the team’s doctor, who was erroneously projected into the brain of an intellectually disabled person; Carly (Nesta Cooper) is a weapons expert who in the future is Traveler 3468’s lover; Trevor (Jared Abrahamson) is the team’s engineer in the body of a high school football star; and Phillip (Reilly Dolman) is the historian who was accidentally inserted into the body of a heroin addict.
At the end of Episode one, we get a short explanation of the technology used for time traveling, when Phillip and Marcy explain it to the soon-to-be-deceased MacLaren:
PHILLIP: “In the future we’ve developed a technology that allows a traveler to project his or her conscious mind into a host body by knowing the precise time, elevation, latitude and longitude of their death.”
MARCY: “A traveler’s consciousness arrives moments before that historical time of death, overriding the host’s mind, then resumes his or her life by using their knowledge of historical records and social media.”
We never get to see the future, so we have to envision it based on descriptions given by Travelers. Apparently the Earth’s atmosphere has become largely unbreathable, and people live under protective domes. The good news is that future folk are vegans. The bad news is that the reason for that is that most non-human species are extinct (or nearly so). Do the volunteers who project their consciousness into the past become comatose in the future? Or do they continue their own lives there, and merely project a copy of their conscious mind that functions independently in the past?
The reason for using the moment and location of death as a transfer point is because it is often precisely recorded. But it does not seem to be a necessary condition of the projection of consciousness. Traveler 4022 (Aaron Donner, played by Jason Gray-Stanford) was found guilty of treason and his punishment was death by immediate overwrite. Another traveler was projected into his mind, and his consciousness was overwritten. This seems to imply that another mind can be projected into any brain at any time, so long as its exact T.E.L.L. is known.
Somehow, Assistant District Attorney Peckham’s impromptu tribunal which convicted Donner of treason must have made their exact location, time, and results available in the future as an encoded historical event, so that The Director could know it was necessary to send Traveler 4024 to overwrite Traveler 4022.
MINOR QUIBBLE: At one point in Episode four, MacLaren calls Phillip from his big black SUV and asks for directions to a specific latitude and longitude. (He has received a message from The Director through a dying man.) His vehicle should have a GPS system adequate to that task. Does he not know how to use it?
Coordinating the historical implications of thousands of time travelers must be a challenge even for The Director. Why that many? It would seem more logical to send fewer travelers at once, making temporal calculations simpler and less prone to error. Might the AI have ulterior motives?
Three episodes of TRAVELERS were directed by women. Episodes six and seven are directed by Helen Shaver, and the Season One finale is directed by Amanda Tapping. Seven of the twelve episodes were written by women.
Alysssa Lynch (Rene Bellamy) will be Lola in BEFORE I FALL, an adaptation of Lauren Oliver’s novel which stars Zoey Deutch and Jennifer Beals, After Samantha Kingston (Deutch) is killed in a car crash, she finds herself reliving the critical day several times trying to change the outcome, and trying to atone for her heartless, self-centered behaviour (while at the same time trying to save the life of a bullied and depressed girl). The film will be released in the US on 3 March. A trailer is available on YouTube.
Jared Abrahamson (Trevor) will be Felix in GREGOIRE, a film loosely based on real life events. The story follows four young adults and the choices they make. Misha dumps her boyfriend, is fired from her job, and learns that she is pregnant. Her best friend Alexa, who gets fired at the same time, tries to figure out her next moves. Brothers Felix and Louis rob convenience stores for a living and their mother tells them to find real work or be kicked out on their own. Their paths cross and their choices affect not only themselves, but their friends and families. Nicole Muñoz is also in the cast. Shot in Fort MacMurray, Alberta in June 2015 (before the fire), GREGOIRE should be released in late 2017.
TRAVELERS airs on Showcase in Canada and on Netflix everywhere else. As of this writing, the show is number eight on IMDB’s Most Popular TV Shows list. Creator Brad Wright tweeted on 5 January: “No green light yet [for season two] but I’ve started writing anyway, with fingers crossed. #typos”