January 18, 2015
First, yes, this series is a re-imagining of the 1995 film of the same title starring Bruce Willis. Second, it has been a very long time since I’ve seen the film (we’re talking around twelve or thirteen years). Despite my love of Bruce Willis, I was young enough at the time that I didn’t have the attention span to keep up properly. So, this review will not be a comparison of movie vs. series. Instead, I’ll re-watch the movie after the season finale and do an overall comparison review. As a re-imagining, there are going to be serious differences, most of it regarding story play due to having extended time the movie did not. A lot of the rest will revolve around the artistic and directional differences of the director choreographing this series and the writers behind the set. Therefore, I will review this without the expectations of the movie.
For those who don’t know, the basic concept revolves around a plague that wipes out the majority of the human race. A man is sent back in time to find the doctor who was working toward the cure before succumbing to the plague herself. As of the first episode, the man is relatively unknown. We only know a name (Cole) and the fact he was recruited for this mission.
Now, that’s just the first 10 minutes. I’ll admit, my first reaction was just a casual nod at the plague wiping out the population as it’s a common theme recently. Thankfully it’s not paired with zombies, as I’m a bit zombied out currently. The idea of going back in time to attempt to change things is also a common theme and it’s something that many of us can relate to in the sense that, we all wish we can turn back time to correct something. But the bigger question is, what are the ultimate consequences? In the attempt to change the past, what changes in the future besides the main goal?
So while everything started off relatively simple and mainstream, it very quickly evolves into something much more complicated and intriguing. I think the story moves fast enough to get all the necessary basics down without losing focus of what needs to be told. By the time the episode was over I was nearing the edge of my seat and wasn’t quite ready for it to end.
This show will require full attention if the rest is set up like this episode was. It moves very quickly and there is quite a bit of jumping back and forth between 2043 and 2015.
Having said that, I appreciated the fastness of setting up where this story is truly going. I wasn’t sitting there wondering when they were going to get to the point. But it’s a different sort of action. I don’t want to call it thrilling because that’s not quite right either.
From an artistic stand point: It was very easy to determine the difference between years by appearance (lighting/makeup) alone, though the captions kept away any sort of lingering doubt that might have occurred otherwise.
From a scientific stand point: Now, obviously I’m not a scientist, but as someone who has grown up watching sci-fi and had a huge interest in technological advancements, I do watch for inconsistencies with basic physics. Time travel, for example, has had it’s fair share of screen time as well as in books. There are certain laws of physics that take place that many would say render time travel impossible. Paradoxes is one of those that are most often addressed. Thankfully, for someone like me who is not a true scientist but loves details, this show has already answered some questions regarding time travel. I have several other questions, but I’ll bring them up later as they become relevant. It answered enough, for me, to suspend my own sense of reality and belief and accept their reality. And you know, if a story can do that, they are right on track.
From a writer’s stand point: As I said, it moved very quickly, but that’s because there’s a much larger, more important force at play. The stuff at the beginning was mere set up. Not to mention that any back story that will be relevant to the main story line is necessarily important at this point in the story. As a writer I’ve always been told, “show don’t tell”. It will be made clear when the moment calls for it.
From an entertainment stand point: There’s some humor but it’s not distracting. I found that it enhanced the story giving it something realistic to grab on to. After all, I mean, time travel. Being able to giggle at something simple despite the seriousness is a huge tension relief, and if used right, is one of the best tools.
To keep this simple, I will end by saying, I am extremely intrigued and will definitely be watching episode 2.
This review is strictly the view and opinion of the author and does not necessarily reflect the view of other Spellhawks admins and members.
Jonayla is an aspiring sci-fi/dystopian writer with a background in filming, screen play, playwriting, and technical stage/theater development.