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Fall TV First Impression: Timeless

The broadcast networks have nearly 20 shows debuting this fall, including Kiefer Sutherland’s term as POTUS, Michael Weatherly’s NCIS follow-up and the story of MLB’s first female player. To help you prep for it all, TVLine is offering First Impressions of the not-for-review pilots.

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THE SHOW | NBC’s Timeless (Mondays at 10/9c, premiere date TBA)

THE COMPETITION CBS’ Scorpion and ABC’s Conviction (new)

THE CAST | Abigail Spencer (Rectify), Matt Lanter (90210), Malcolm Barrett (Better Off Ted), Goran Visnjic (Extant), Paterson Joseph (Law & Order: UK), Sakina Jaffrey (House of Cards) and Claudia Doumit

THE SET-UP | One of several time-travel dramas bound for your living room this TV season, Timeless — from Eric Kripke (Revolution) and Shawn Ryan (The Shield) — sends a history professor (Spencer), a soldier (Lanter) and a scientist (Barrett) in pursuit of a criminal (Visnjic) who has stolen a state-of-the-art time machine for mysterious, surely nefarious purposes. Their first destination: May 1937, just in time for (what should be) the Hindenburg disaster.

THE FIRST IMPRESSION | Though the fast-moving pilot doesn’t spend much time with Visnjic’s Garcia Flynn, we instead get a very good sense of the heroes’ strengths (Lucy’s a walking encyclopedia) and weaknesses (tough guy Wyatt has a soft spot), plus just a hint of hidden agendas. Versus ABC’s midseason entry Time After Time (which adopts a wink-winkier, Sleepy Hollow feel) or The CW’s superhero-charged Legends of Tomorrow, Timeless makes clear that it will have some fun with the “butterfly effect” by assigning curious (and/or soul-crushing) consequences to the team’s actions.

Among the cast, Spencer imbues history geek Lucy with an infectious joy of discovery and fuss over details, while Barrett is a highly amusing assemblage of neuroses. Jaffrey, Joseph and Doumit populate the government agency for which the trio (begrudgingly) travel time.

THE TVLINE BOTTOM LINE | Timeless is launching from a primo time slot that has bore the Peacock a series of freshman hits, from Revolution to The Blacklist to (the Wednesday-bound) Blindspot. Boasting a buzzy premise and exciting visuals, and with ABC’s stalwart Castle gone from the equation, the future looks promising — as well as thrilling — for this sci-fier. (Bonus points for having a great title logo.)

Watch a trailer for Timeless, then vote in our poll below.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4glJzvUunOE