TEST OF TIME
The clock is ticking in the second season of Netflix time travel series Travelers
Although it was created by former Stargate franchise-runner Brad Wright and stars Will & Grace’s Eric McCormack, Travelers has flown under the radar since it debuted on Showcase in Canada and Netflix elsewhere late last year.
Nonetheless, the series, about operatives from the future who assume the identities of people at death’s door in the present day, has earned some impressive viewer endorsements for its first season. Approval by 96% of Google users and an 8/10 score on IMDb are the kind of stats that producers of many heavily hyped US network shows would die for. Much of this success can be put down to word-of-mouth, according to actor Patrick Gilmore, who plays social worker David Mailer in the series.
“Word-of-mouth is black or white, and it’s 99% positive,” says Gilmore. “You search our hashtags on Twitter, and I think that’s where our strength is: people finding it and telling everyone, ‘Check out Travelers on Netflix’. I think we have nowhere to go but up.”
Gilmore’s prediction will be tested when the second season of Travelers premieres this autumn. Season one ended on a cliffhanger that appeared to show the FBI exposing the Travelers’ clandestine presence in the 21st century. While that first season starts off with a slow burn, however, Wright says that season two will hit the ground running.
“We pick up exactly where we left off in terms of intensity, in terms of the quality and in terms of the reveals. The show is moving at a fairly tight pace. Shit is happening. We’re not trying to stretch it out. There will always be another shoe to fall.”
Two of those shoes this season will be big twists that Wright says he hopes the viewers won’t see coming. Moreover, the team of agents led by McCormack’s character, Traveler 3468, aka FBI Special Agent Grant MacLaren, will have to overcome a new multi-layered nemesis, played by Galaxy Quest’s Enrico Colantoni, if they are to save humanity.
“His character is introduced in the first episode of season two with a very interesting origin story,” Wright reveals. “He’s a really big threat to our Travelers, and he does some pretty horrific things. Yet, the way Enrico plays him, there’s pathos there. You understand why he is the way he is, and you go, ‘Oh yeah, I can kind of see why he’s gone that way. He kind of got fucked.’”
Still, even high-profile actors like Colantoni and McCormack won’t ensure that Travelers hits new heights in its second season. Instead, it will need to continue to capitalise on the genre-spanning qualities that helped season one score big in those online opinion polls.
“It’s a smart sci-fi show, but I don’t even like calling it a sci-fi show, because we always say, if you watched the show with the sound off, you’d never know it was a sci-fi show,” Gilmore explains. “It’s beautifully shot, it’s so cleverly written, and it’s so rooted in this gritty reality, which is something you don’t see in a lot of sci-fi shows.”
Travelers returns to Showcase in Canada on 16 October, and to Netflix in the UK at a later date.
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