TEST OF TIME

The clock is tick­ing in the sec­ond sea­son of Net­flix time travel se­ries Trav­el­ers

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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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