TRAV­EL­ERS

Star Eric McCor­mack gets Red Alert on board with Net­flix’s new time travel drama

SFX: The Sci-Fi and Fantasy Magazine - - Red Alert -

IT HAS LINKS TO STAR­GATE AND STAR TREK (SORT OF)

1 Trav­el­ers was writ­ten, cre­ated and pro­duced by Brad Wright, who co-cre­ated all three live-ac­tion Star­gate se­ries. “Brad Wright lost a bet,” McCor­mack jokes when asked about be­ing cast in the lead role of Trav­eler 3468, aka FBI Spe­cial Agent Grant MacLaren. “Brad wrote the episode of The Outer Lim­its that I was in 23 years ago so we’ve been sort of aware of each other for some time.” That episode, “Tem­pests”, aired in 1997, a year be­fore McCor­mack starred in Free En­ter­prise, a com­edy about Trekkies fea­tur­ing Wil­liam Shat­ner.

THE FU­TURE IS HIS­TORY

2 Trav­el­ers’ premise posits that hun­dreds of years from now hu­man­ity will be al­most wiped out. The trav­ellers are sent back in time to save it. What brings about the col­lapse won’t be re­vealed im­me­di­ately, though. “This is a time travel show where we never leave 2016 be­cause the time trav­el­ling is be­ing done from the fu­ture to now,” McCor­mack ex­plains. “It’s such a cru­cial piv­ot­ing point for a world that we find over the course of the first sea­son goes in­creas­ingly wrong.”

THE DEAD WILL RISE

3 Rather than send flesh and blood back in time, fu­ture hu­mans have dis­cov­ered a way to trans­mit con­scious­ness into minds that have mo­ments of life left. “We trav­ellers from the fu­ture don’t ar­rive in our own bod­ies,” McCor­mack ex­plains. “We ar­rive in the form of peo­ple who are liv­ing right now – it could be any­body; it could be you – but we take their bod­ies just be­fore they die. We know ex­actly when and where they die be­cause of so­cial media. So while no­body else in your life knows that tech­ni­cally you were sup­posed to have died at that mo­ment, we know.”

FACE­BOOK SAVES THE FU­TURE

4 Mark Zucker­berg as hu­man­ity’s last hope doesn’t sound like an idea that would ap­peal to pri­vacy ad­vo­cates. None­the­less, the no­tion that per­sonal in­for­ma­tion shared on sites like Face­book and Twit­ter will pro­vide an im­por­tant ac­count of our time is a key el­e­ment of Trav­el­ers. “Brad was say­ing that for him this was re­ally the be­gin­ning of the idea,” McCor­mack re­veals. “They used to say that his­tory was be­ing writ­ten by the win­ners but now his­tory is be­ing writ­ten by ev­ery­body. Ev­ery­body’s crazy texted, tweeted thought will be­come part of an his­tor­i­cal record, which is part of the rea­son why we trav­ellers come back to this par­tic­u­lar time.”

IT’S AMER­I­CAN SCI-FI DONE BRI­TISH STYLE

5 The se­ries pre­miere was di­rected by Nick Hur­ran, who cut his teeth on the late-1980s Bri­tish sit­com Never The Twain and more re­cently helmed sev­eral episodes of Doc­tor Who and Sher­lock. “We knew that vis­ually and tone-wise this show was go­ing to have a very, very dif­fer­ent feel than a net­work show,” says McCor­mack. “Nick took what he’d been prac­tic­ing on Sher­lock and he set up the shots in the weird­est way. All the other di­rec­tors were so ex­cited by what he did.”

Trav­el­ers airs on Show­case in Canada this month and on Net­flix later this year.

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