Category: Journeyman (Page 2 of 6)

ABC cancels “Life On Mars”

Another good show bites the dust.

Granted, I wouldn’t put “Life On Mars” on the same level as last season’s time-traveling seriees, “Journeyman,” but “Life On Mars” has (had) a stellar cast — Harvey Keitel, Jason O’Mara, Gretchen Mol, Michael Imperioli — and a great premise. It debuted to strong ratings (8.2) but in recent weeks, ratings fell to the 3.0-3.7 range, which simply aren’t good enough to justify the expensive cast and production. (Coincidentally, “Journeyman” had similar ratings at the end of its run.)

The show will complete its 17-episode freshman-season order with an episode written as a series finale, wrapping the loose story ends, explaining how Tyler was transported back in time and perhaps bringing him back to his own time.

The show was a remake of a popular U.K. series that ran just 16 episodes (as planned). U.S. networks tend to try to bleed a hit for all its worth instead of getting in and getting out. Sometimes it works (“The Office”) and in the case of “Life On Mars,” sometimes it doesn’t. It turns out that the U.S. version will run one more episode than the U.K. version, so let’s hope that the creators have ample time to wrap things up. It looks like they do.

2008: The Year in TV – Will Harris

Once the writer’s strike was over, the television industry got back to business with a vengeance, offering up quite a lot of high quality material…so much, in fact, that my TiVo is STILL loaded down with shows I just haven’t had the time to watch. Seriously, I’ve got three episodes of “My Boys” that I’ve been sitting on since July. There just aren’t enough hours in the day…and I’m a full-time TV critic, for God’s sake! But here’s at least some of the stuff that I dug and despised during the course of 2008…and sometime around 2012, maybe I can offer up a complete picture of 2009.


1. “The Big Bang Theory,” CBS

No other sophomore series came roaring out of the gate like this one. Fears that the show had already jumped the shark by getting Leonard and Penny together were dismissing before the end of the second-season premiere, the addition of Sara Gilbert to the cast was an added bonus, and the suggestion that Sheldon is a sex object to physics geeks is almost too funny for words. Mark my words: this is the year that Jim Parsons earns his first Emmy nomination.

2. “30 Rock,” NBC
There’s no truth to the rumor that you can’t be a member of the Television Critics Association if you don’t like “30 Rock,” but, really, what’s not to like? Tina Fey is both gorgeous and hilarious, Alec Baldwin can’t open his mouth without getting a laugh, and, come to think of it, there’s really no-one in this ensemble who isn’t funny. So why do they keep bringing on all of these guest stars? Beats me. But since they incorporate them so well into the episodes, it’s hard to complain.

3. “Life on Mars,” ABC
When I did my 2008 Fall TV Preview, I hadn’t yet seen the pilot for this series, but if I had, it would’ve beaten out “Fringe” for the top spot on my list of new shows I was most excited about. Rising above its “based on a British series” origins, “Life on Mars” has one of the strongest casts on television (Jason O’Mara, Harvey Keitel, Michael Imperioli, Gretchen Mol, and Jonathan Murphy), a great premise (a police detective gets knocked unconscious in 2008 and wakes up in 1973), and – perhaps most impressively – managed to survive its network’s recent purge of quality dramas. For God’s sake, don’t let it go the way of “Pushing Daisies.” If you haven’t watched it yet, it’s not too late.

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Journeyman 1.13 – “Perfidia”

So what do you say when a show is simply gone too soon? The “final” episode of “Journeyman” was a pretty fantastic exit for an ongoing piece of entertainment that was just getting started.

The episode opened with Dan having traveled to a mental hospital not to far in the past – only September of ’07. There he meets Evan, a man who claimed to be a fellow traveler. Of course, since he’s in the looney bin, his assertions are questionable. He tells Dan that he’s there to help him escape and meet up with a beautiful woman in a photograph. Evan also tells Dan that he no longer travels due to the meds he’s on, which literally keep him grounded. After some convincing, Dan provides a distraction, Evan escapes and Dan immediately travels back to the present. There he discovers Evan was killed shortly after his escape by jaywalking. So it’s back to September…

Meanwhile, Jack is busy causing a stink with Elliot Langley, trying anything he can to connect with the guy and get him to admit that he knows Dan and something about his travels. Katie is getting bad marital advice from her sister and Livia’s just plain getting married.

The story of Evan was a tragic thing of beauty. All he wanted was to reconnect – even if only for a moment – with the wife he sacrificed during his travels. He sacrificed their entire marriage so that she could live a full life, while it turned out that the time line wasn’t so kind to Evan: he was destined to die on the same day no matter what Dan and Livia did to try to help him.

In the episode’s final moments, Dan and Langley finally have a confrontation of sorts. Elliot admitted to not only knowing Dan, but also knowing a fair amount about what was going with him and that it would be dangerous to continue on with an acquaintance. He also told Dan that the “system” was breaking down and that he was the last traveler. Dan replied, rather Yodaishly, “No, there’s another one.” He of course was speaking of Livia. He then went home to Katie and stood his ground, saying that even though through meds he too felt he could ground himself, that it wasn’t that path he wanted to choose. Rather ironic and sad that while the character of Dan Vassar chose to continue traveling, NBC is the meds that are going to keep him from doing so.

Is “Perfidia” an appropriate ending for “Journeyman?” Well, it wasn’t ideal and certainly had that feeling that there was plenty more story to tell, but since it’s the only ending we’re likely to get, it served its function and didn’t leave viewers hanging in any major way. One of the great little moments of the piece was Dan seeing himself traveling for the first time in the cab. It’d sure be great if someone would greenlight a “Journeyman” miniseries to give a proper ending to the story, although that’s highly unlikely.

Journeyman 1.12: “The Hanged Man”

It’s all beginning to feel a bit anticlimactic, isn’t it? Oh, not to imply that the show’s going downhill for its two-part finale, but rather the knowing that this is probably “it.” Good thing NBC found a place on the schedule for 1.13 as this would’ve been a dreadful place to stop.

In some ways, “The Hanged Man” was the strongest episode of “Journeyman” yet, because its premise was so simple and, at the same time, so powerful. What’s a time traveler to do when a minor mistake in the past erases one of the most important people in his life in the present – and replaces them with someone of equal value? That’s what Dan had to face when he discovered upon returning from a mission that his son, Zack, had been erased from existence and replaced with a daughter. And of course the timeline had changed to accommodate the rewrite for everyone else as well, including Katie, who was aghast at the idea that Dan might try to take away their daughter and replace her with a son she never knew. And Dan will now live the haunting memory of a daughter he only knew for a day and was responsible for “killing.”

Here’s the strongest example yet of Dan’s awareness of the changing timelines, while the rest of world is unable to see the major shifts in the world around them. And it’s a huge shame because through this episode it’s become all too obvious the lengths to which this series could go if only it got a chance to do so. The character of the psychic was also a noteworthy addition, because she was present and serving the same function in both timelines. And of course she dropped a major doozy when she spoke of Dan’s birthdate and how it tied into his special abilities – and that Livia’s birthdate was also special. And exactly how does a genuine, functioning psychic play into the “Journeyman” storyline?

In the end, Dan went to see Elliott Langley (Tom Everett) and we were left with a massive cliffhanger as Langley refused to speak with Dan and claimed to not even know who he was. Timey-wimey? Or just plain subterfuge? I guess we’ll find something out on Wednesday night, but whatever it is, I doubt seriously that it’s going to be a proper end to this series. We’re going to be left dangling with promises of what will never be.

Is “Journeyman” truly now on the journey to oblivion?

That’s what the Hollywood Reporter would have you believe. Fortunately, however, we figured it’d be best to get the status of the show from the man who created it in the first place, so we dropped a line to Kevin Falls and asked if the series still had a pulse.


It’s not getting a back nine this year, but then I don’t know if any show will. It will be interesting to see if they let the actors go. They usually hold onto them for awhile. I would say life support is an apt description. But we do get to air our last two shows and it’s only going to make people more upset. They’re really good, “Journeyman” at its best.

So there you go.

Granted, as the show’s creator, it’s to be expected that Falls would be more optimistic than most…but, then, as a man who’s been around the TV block a few times, he knows the reality of the business, so let’s just do the equivalent of sitting by the patient’s bedside and keep tuning in for these next two episodes. After all, resuscitation still remains a possibility ’til the plug has officially been pulled.

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