Wednesday, October 17, 2007

"Why am I always answering your questions when you never answer mine?": Journeyman

Each week Journeyman continues, I become more and more certain that this premise would work much better as a two-hour film than as an open-ended television show. "But Carrie," I hear you say, "Quantum Leap had a very similar premise, and ran for years! And was sort of awesome!" To which I answer yes, that show was sort of awesome, because it fully embraced its own inherent silliness and allowed the audience to connect with the new characters each week by having the time traveler inhabit their world instead of him just being a periphery player in it each week. Journeyman, on the other hand, bogs itself down by attempting to straddle the past and the present each episode, and by splitting the hour in half like this it only succeeds in making the viewer half invested in both worlds.

Take this week's time travel story, for example. Wait...I can't give the example because I honestly can't even remember what happened. I think it had something to do with Dan helping a woman who killed her husband plant evidence so it looked like she did it in self-defense, which seems a bit shady. Beyond that, though, what significance are we supposed to take from this story? Perhaps I'm being too harsh, but what about that story causes a viewer to want to stick around and see who Dan helps next week? Without that driving force, these stories simply seem like a waste of time.

The larger portion of the episode dealt with Dan and Katie's marriage (again) and how his time travel affects his home life in a negative way (again). Although I know it would be frustrating to have your husband disappear into thin air and take the car keys with him, after four episodes this is already getting old. Seeing as we never had a chance to see Dan and Katie be happy, and they are both pretty horrible for being together since Katie used to be with Dan's brother, I don't know how we as an audience are supposed to be invested in this relationship at all. Because the show tells us to be? That's just not enough.

As always, the most compelling parts of the episode occur when something happens to further the mystery of why Dan is time traveling. This week, it occurs when Dan contacts a scientist named Elliot Langley to inquire about something called tachyons, to which Langley jokingly asks if Dan is "building a time machine" and rushes off the phone, promising to call him back at a more convenient time. The scientist does call Dan back, but it's on the humongous 90's phone of the past while Dan is in the past. Could this guy be the key to why Dan is time traveling? Is there something more sinister going on here, like a government conspiracy? I really would like to find out, but seeing as these compelling things take only about five minutes of the show each week I'm not sure I have the patience to do so.

(By the way, the second the Spin Doctors played on the soundtrack I said "It must be the 90's!" Two Spin Doctors/90's references on two different Monday night shows. Disturbing.)


Nea said...

I left a very belated comment about this show on the last review you did. So if you didn't read it, I will just refer you back to it:) I did not watch Monday's show, so I have no new comments!

Carrie said...

I saw that, in fact your Quantum Leap comment inspired my opening paragraph. I very much would like to read Time Traveler's Wife. They are making a movie out of the book (starring Rachael McAdams!) so I want to read it before that comes out.

Nea said...

I didn't know they work making a movie out of it! You should read it. It makes me teary eyed just thinking of the book.

Nea said...

By the way, I was planning on trying to watch this episode, so I did not read your summary. I completely did not see the shout out to Quantum Leap! I loved Scott Bakula (sp?) :)