Timeless Recap

Timeless Premiere: Will Your Future Self Tune in for More of the NBC Drama?

Monday night’s premiere of Timeless, the time-hopping NBC drama from creators Eric Kripke (Supernatural) and Shawn Ryan (The Shield), was grand and clearly expensive. (How about that Hindenburg?) But was it enough to make you want to revisit the past again?

Before you chime in with your thoughts, a recap of the pilot: After ex-NSA asset Garcia Flynn (ER‘s Goran Višnjić) steals a time machine, Homeland Security recruits history professor Lucy (Suits‘ Abigail Spencer), scientist Rufus (Better Off Ted‘s Malcolm Barrett) and Delta Force soldier Wyatt (Star-Crossed‘s Matt Lanter) to stop him — in the past. How are they supposed to do that? By donning historical get-ups and using a not-as-shiny prototype machine to travel to where when Flynn is: the day of the Hindenburg disaster.

RELATED NBC’s Timeless Adventure Won’t ‘Fall Down Serialized Rabbit Hole,’ Says EP

Timeless RecapIn 1937, the trio heads to a bar, where they meet Kate, a famous reporter covering the Hindenburg’s arrival who is fated to die during the airship explosion. She immediately captivates Wyatt, who wants to save her life because she reminds him of his late wife. But changing the past is a big no-no — not that they need to rescue her. Flynn does it for them when he stops the disaster from happening.

Lucy, Wyatt and Rufus are confused about Flynn’s seemingly heroic actions until Lucy realizes that destroying the Hindenburg during its departure flight, and thereby killing several important historical figures who are onboard, would be much more damaging to America’s foundation. Flynn is trying to kill America in the crib, Lucy theorizes.

Unfortunately, in the midst of all the action, the team gets arrested. Good thing they have a clever plan to escape from jail: Rufus distracts the racist officer with a tirade about all of history’s great black men named Michael, while Wyatt uses the underwire from Lucy’s bra to break them out of the cell.

On the Hindenburg, Lucy and Rufus pose as Anarchist Black Cross members and demand the ship be grounded. Meanwhile, Wyatt tries to defuse the bomb. They’re able to save the day with only a few casualties, the most heartbreaking one being Kate, who is struck by a bullet during a standoff between Wyatt and Flynn.

VIDEOS Timeless Promo Features Many Clothes Calls as Heroes Skip Through History

Then, in a series of pilot-ending twists meant to reel you in for Episode 2:

* Flynn shows Lucy a journal featuring her handwriting, but she didn’t write it — yet. He tells her she’s important in ways she can’t even imagine, and that she should ask about Rittenhouse and why they really chose her for this mission. Homeland Security claims not to know anything about the former.

* It’s revealed that Rufus was secretly recording Lucy and Wyatt during the trip for his boss.

* Lucy, Rufus and Wyatt return home to find that history has been slightly altered by their exploits. Most importantly, Lucy discovers she is now engaged, her gravely ill mom (the always welcome Susanna Thompson, from Arrow) is alive and healthy, and her sister has been erased!

My two cents: I’m a time-travel sucker who loves Syfy’s 12 Monkeys, but I can understand the Timeless creators’ desire not to get too complicated with their show. After viewing the first two episodes, it feels like the NBC drama is going for the rollicking, humorous tone that Legends of Tomorrow can’t quite seem to hit — and a lot of the time, the show achieves it. Plus, Spencer, Barrett and Lanter (who appears to be having a blast playing an adult, finally) are a compelling group of actors.

Grade the Timeless premiere via the poll below, then hit the comments to back up your pick!

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113 Comments
  1. Drew says:

    To answer your headline question: hells yes, I’ll be back. Lots of fun.

    • jr. says:

      This time travel shows reality, is diferrent. It actually changes past events, and doesn’t correct to the original version. So we get to see, how it pans out for our present, if past events got changed. This episode, it changed how the Hindenburg actually exploded. The possibilities are now more interesting for this time show, like what if they save Elvis, stop the Kennedy assasination, stop Apollo 13, or the Challenger accident, etc.

      • Harvey says:

        Your post reminds me of an episode of Quantum Leap, where Sam couldn’t stop the Kennedy assassination. At the end of the episode, Sam is upset that he couldn’t save Kennedy. Al then tells him, he saved Jackie, who had died in the original Kennedy assassination.

  2. Kevin K says:

    I give Timeless an A. This is my favorite new show of the season and I hope NBC won’t cancel it.

  3. AngelWasHere says:

    I liked it A LOT! I wasn’t even planning to watch it, but I enjoyed it. I especially love the humor in it. Definitely watching next week.

  4. laurelnev says:

    Monday at 10 is too crowded; I’ll have to watch Conviction to decide if this or that gets the 2nd DVR slot. I love time travel shows, but this one just didn’t grab me 1st outing.

    • TheloNaGrapso says:

      What gets the first? MNF is the game is a good one is the only other thing worth some time at that time.

      • laurelnev says:

        I have 2 years into Scorpion, and it’s moving to 10. Now CBS is behind its own streaming paywall, and I only have 2 recorders (NOT a cable company DVR, but the Magnavox/Funai DVR w/ DVD-R, and a 2nd DVD-R, both with internal tuners. Set-up cost like $300 total and has no monthly fees.)

  5. J says:

    Really fun, and the only show I’m watching Mondays.

  6. GuessWhat says:

    It’s fluff.
    But I LOVE time travel stuff.
    So will stick with it for now.

  7. Jaime says:

    Thought it was pretty entertaining. Even putting aside the whole time travel aspect, there were some serious plot holes. Like:

    1. How could the government could be ignorant of anyone, even a private company headed by an Elon Musk clone, inventing a freaking time travel machine?

    2. Why wouldn’t said company have first class security for said machine?

    3. Why would DHS be OK with sending a black guy back in time when — as he so astutely mentioned — history isn’t exactly going to be kind to him? Nor is it going to be at all historically accurate to have a white couple be interacting with a random black man. I’m not sure how they’re going to deal with sending him back to any period of slavery. Sure, there were freed black men, but they were the exception and they were still in a lot of danger.

    Anyway, I love history and time travel is probably my favorite sci fi trope, so I still enjoyed it. Hope the writing tightens up as we go.

    • Sarah says:

      RE: 3. don’t think it would be a problem in 1937 New Jersey if the other two said he worked for them as a driver or some other plausible occupation, but seems like he should stay with the ship regardless, both for protection of their cover and because the device is too valuable to be confiscated. He would need to get out of there if it was threatened.

      Three more issues for me —
      1. the really bad delivery of the famous “oh, the humanity” quote, wtf?
      2. The lack of preparation of how to handle various situations by the historian.
      3. the soldier guy seems to be a complete idiot who has no idea what this mission is and how important it is to stay covert–I can live with other issues, but they need to make him seem like he has at least a general grasp of his job and normal intelligence. I know many shows make the “hero” act like a rash idiot, but he seemed completely oblivious of what they need to do.

    • Johnny V says:

      You expect government employees to make sensible decisions instead of bureaucratic decisions? You expect government employees to tell the truth? News flash for you. Government employees think and act like government employees.

      • Sarah says:

        I know crazy, huh :)

        I guess this show made me miss the geeky “competence porn”, as John Rogers called it, of Leverage, a show that actually acknowledged preparation and study of its leads to do the almost impossible things they did. Created a lot of inside jokes and made the details fun to watch.

  8. michelle says:

    Loved it. Gave me some Doctor Who feels, but felt fresh and new. The actors all have great chemistry. I’m in for the long haul. Hopefully NBC is too!

    Sad Kate had to die. Id love for them to bring her back or the actress.

  9. Ally says:

    I like it very much!!! maybe is the doctor who fan in me hahaha

  10. Pam says:

    I’ve been looking forward to this show all summer and it didn’t disappoint. Loved the pilot! Can’t wait until next week.

  11. A says:

    I haven’t watched NBC this much in years (not after they cancelled Mercy). But with Superstore, This is Us, and now Timeless I’m glued to the tv. So I hope this show and the others stick around.

  12. Mary says:

    I bet Flynn is Lucy fiance and she is the wife he “kill”

    • Meghan says:

      I think you missed the part of the show where Flynn had a picture of him and his fiance together, after they had returned from 1937. His fiance was definitely not Lucy.

      • Drew says:

        That was Wyatt (the Delta Force Army Sergeant) with the picture, wasn’t it? Flynn is the “bad guy”…

        • Meghan says:

          Oh crap, you’re right. Actually, I thinking Flynn may be Lucy’s son. Did you notice that his notebook had a date of 1961 for the entry she looked at and recognized her handwriting? Somehow, either she get stuck in the past, or she spends an extended amount of time in the past.

          • Ninamags says:

            I had this thought as well. Flynn was respectful and didn’t really threaten her, if I recall. There was a lot going on.

            But I’ll definitely be back next week.

            Is it weird of me to look for Supernatural similarities? They have a worn-out journal plus the guy is dressed in layers, like the brothers do. Plus the “Nutcracker” host was in this.
            Also the last bit of classic rock at the end.

    • Drew says:

      I like this theory. It might explain why Flynn in 1937 was more gentle with Lucy than I expected. Lots of potential holes in the theory, and we need more evidence, but this is a good one.

      • Meghan says:

        One thing is definite. Flynn, at some point in time, has some type of real relationship with Lucy that she is unaware right now.

    • Samuel Beckett says:

      First off love the show, second I think it is very likely Flynn is Lucy’s husband he is not a terrorist, he is trying fix what went wrong when he “lost her” when he did a time travel experiment and the timeline changed much like Lucy’s mom got better and her sister disappeared, Lucy has no memories of being with Flynn, that journal that is hers is from present day just not this timeline

  13. Debbie says:

    With no Doctor Who until Christmas, I’ll glom onto any time travel show I can find. This one has a good cast and an excellent pedigree so I’ll give it a chance.

  14. Meghan says:

    Definitely my favorite new show of the Fall tv season.

  15. let me guess – the bad guy gets away every week

  16. Troy says:

    Enjoyed the show but huge flaw. As soon as those “time bandits” went back in time, the future would have changed leaving them having no idea that the Hindenburg was supposed to explode. I would be fine of the premise if something changed while they were travelling and they retained knowledge of the original timeline.

    • That would be really hard to follow!

    • John NYC says:

      They start in their own timeline: return to the
      altered one.

      • DJ Doena says:

        @John NYC: Then why go back in the first place. If Flynn creates another alternate reality with another past that has no influence on their present, why bother at all?

        • John NYC says:

          Certainly the conundrum of most time travel.

          Possibly to create a timeline where there is a “better” outcome than had existed? Plus from within the story they might not realize that result.

          An alternate is they’re “out” of time when they go back so their existence (and memories) are intact but they change the timeline they return only to be a part of those changes when they return to that original time point where they came. It looks like the show is going with this one as the characters remember “their” past and an ongoing theme appears to be “restoring” her remembered sister. And I suspect Flynn is in much the same mission….

          Overall science fiction / fantasy worlds creators do get the final say in how their worlds “work”. A “yellow” sun powers a young woman’s flying and super strength? (Super girl) Bathing in a hot spring pool restores health and life to mortally injured humans? (Arrow)

          • DJ Doena says:

            But I still expect internal consistency. If your premise is that an alien from a red sun system can fly in a yellow sun system then I accept your premise. What I don’t accept is that a computer program can magically enable this ability in humans or disable in Kryptonians which AI Jor-El did several times on Smallville.

            And here’s the problem with that in Timeless: Our hero trio was not “out” of time when Flynn travelled back. They were part of the pre-travel and post-travel present without switching realities. Before Flynn travelled back, they should live in present A. After Flynn travelled back they should immediately shift to present A’.

            Just like Jennifer did when they left her in 1985A (Sport Almanac Biff timeline) and found her save and sound when returning from 1885.

  17. Rick Katze says:

    Very good but not awesome yet. A number of issues have been raised. I prefer to see how they implement them first. Tossing out a lot of breadcrumbs is easy. Making them into a consistent story is something else.

  18. Howie says:

    GREAT new show. I too am a Time Travel junkie. Sure there are questions but let it run its course. Very curious to see how it affects the present with the changes that are going to take place during the season. Wish i had the whole season on DVD right now. All in all, GREAT new show and the characters are great…!

  19. James D says:

    meh. It was okay. the acting wasn’t that great and the writing was weak (plot holes galore and shoddy history), but I hate to judge a show on a pilot so I’ll watch it for a few episodes.

  20. Jan says:

    Honestly, I have to say it—The actors are good, and the villain is the very best–but this is the “sissy-man’s” time travel with a Stargate-style..(sorta)…time machine. Diana Gabaldon (stellar author of the books) does it better in Scotland with the help of Moore and Davis from the newer “Battlestar Galactica” (2004-two thousand-something?) fame on the new Comi-con favorite “Outlander” . Binge-watch that on Starz and you will see THE time travel-er of the past two seasons. I have been hooked since reading H G Wells and then watching the time machine Rod Taylor journeyed on….but Outlander is the best one out there! Give it a look!

    • Penny says:

      I love Outlander, don’t get me wrong, but it is nothing like a time traveling show. Claire traveled through some stones…and stayed. Because she feel in love. Yes, she will travel through them again but it’s to the same time period and she has NO control over that. She can’t pick what year or where to go. No disrespect because Outlander is one of my favorites, but not the same.

  21. ndixit says:

    I definitely agree that this show hits the funny, swashbuckling tone that LoT aims for and often misses. This basically is LoT but it has a more manageable core cast. I like the core trio and it was fast paced and there are immediate consequences to actions as seen in the end.

  22. Shaun says:

    Holy Wayne!

  23. Ph says:

    No science fiction writers here. Why not that the prototype machine back to 5 minutes-or seconds, I don’t know how fine the control is-and stop the terrorists?

    • John NYC says:

      That wouldn’t have filled a 53 minute production goal?

      As a thought.

    • ninergrl6 says:

      Wasn’t that addressed when they said they couldn’t (or shouldn’t) go to any time when they already existed? They can’t (or shouldn’t) encounter themselves.

  24. parstl says:

    Decent show. I set my dvr for the series. I wish the actress from the Flash would be around for future shows but guess not. Reminds me of the original Star Trek episode with Joan Collins in Depression era America.

  25. Red Snapper says:

    I liked it but I’m definitely a sucker for time travel shows though. I am a fan of the main cast from their previous shows. Abigail Spencer is great in everything, Matt Lanter is easy on the eyes, I loved Malcolm Barrett in Better Off Ted and I’ve had a massive crush on Goran Visnjic since I was a little girl and he was Dr. Kovac. I wanted to marry him when I grew up.

    Anyways, the chemistry with the 3 were great and they setup a nice premise. I think that Lucy and Flynn are connected through her future and his past, maybe the dead wife that was mentioned. I am a major history buff and can’t wait to see when else they go. I also love alternate histories and the butterfly effect of time travel scenarios. This show is right up my alley. It wasn’t perfect but it was fun. I’m trying not to get my hopes up or too invested until they get a full season order or at least a back 9.

  26. I’m a fan of the Time Travel Genre, and have often pondered the conundrum of a Protagonist in charge of protecting the Timeline, faced with an antagonist who is averting historical disasters…

    the Villain on the surface appears to be doing good deeds, and in order to protect time, the Hero technically has to do bad things

  27. Dakota says:

    Well besides the awful acting, writing, directing and editing it was ok. The sets and FX were amazing.

  28. Life sucks and the world sucks. I hope the bad guys win. Because we need a
    better world than we’ve got today. I’d would defly go back in time to change events
    that gave us this corrupt polluted poisoned world. One thing for sure, I will stop
    watching this latest TT mixmash if they develop a sappy ongoing love plot.

  29. Anthony says:

    I’ll probably check out more but I can’t watch this live with Scorpion and Conviction now on at 10pm.

  30. TONY GOINS says:

    Oh my gosh, how is this only viewed bad by 6% of the people submitting this poll?? There’s a few things wrong with this premise, I can’t see this show lasting pasting one season so I’ll point out a couple of things that probably only “6%” of us sees…

    1. In relative to time travel, anything that the antagonist did would instantly have an effect on the future so everyone except himself would see the altered timeline as their history. They wouldn’t be discussing prior to jumping into the 2nd time machine about the real history of the crash because it doesn’t exist. THE ALTERED HISTORY IS THEIR REALITY! If both machines went back simultaneously then they could stop him and the real reality would remain the same.

    2. Even with that said, the antagonist jumps back in time only a few hours prior to the event yet organizes a whole crew to help him cause mayhem getting them all on the same page to blow up this blimp…please!

    3. Ok, our main characters found the bomb on the blimp and they choose to disarm it in the blimp’s kitchen instead of ummmmmm THROWING IT OUT OF THE WINDOW THEY WERE LOOKING OUT OF INTO A DESOLATE FUELD BELOW!

    2. The show’s writers seem to care less about the plight black people went through but instead spinning jokes on it like the back of the bus joke they put in there said by the black character. But they tried to smooth it out by having the black character rant about future black accolades like that would make it all better…please!

    I can’t understand why all you people thought this show was sooooo awesome, I guess it goes to show how feeble we can be as a society. All you have to do is plop some hour long tv programming with more holes than a golf course to catch a simple mind…

    • Katherine215 says:

      If you’re going to throw stones, make sure you’re not standing in a glass house – 4 comes after 3.

    • ninergrl6 says:

      Regarding (the first) #2, Flynn brought his crew with him. They all jumped in the time machine in present day after they broke into the building.

    • Tom says:

      I agree with most of the points you make, the show was very mediocre. Point 1 is a common problem with time travel stories, its not just this show. But the bomb thing is so stupid, I can’t believe that no one working on this show noticed that they can just throw the bomb through a window instead of trying to ground the zeppelin and have a guy who’s never really worked with bombs before try to disarm it. Not to mention another common idiocy, the bad guy putting a digital timer on the bomb for no reason whatsoever.

  31. grazelled says:

    I liked this pilot but it really made reminded me of what a great show Forever was. I do like that it looks like it’s not going to get too complicated for a 10pm show.

  32. ninergrl6 says:

    Loved it. Great cast, great look, great potential. This was probably my most anticipated new show, and it didn’t disappoint. It’s like Quantum Leap but opposite — making sure events don’t change, unable to travel within your own lifetime.

  33. dman6015 says:

    I’ll be there for Episode 2.

  34. sunshine says:

    I think the public at large is being careful about where it learns its history, having been burned by Hollywood too often in the past. For example, back of the bus seating was only in the deep south, nowhere else in America, The Hindenberg crashed in New Jersey. So there’s that.

    • Lange says:

      Thank you. That’s where they lost me last night. The subliminal preaching on the civil rights history was ridiculous and would not have been an issue in New Jersey. That era was in love with jazz, Louis Armstrong, Cab Calloway etc.. It would not have happened in NY or NJ.

      • JScout says:

        “would not have been an issue in New Jersey” in the 1930s? Are you delusional? You and sunshine think racism was only in the deep south? That’s crazy talk. It’s still here in all kinds of forms in all parts of the country. I don’t really know what to think of your ignorance on the subject, it’s astounding.

        • Collette says:

          You’re mistaken. My parents married in Chicago in 1929. I was born in 1931 and I rode streetcars and buses in Chicago my whole life. There was no back of the bus, white only drinking fountains etc.. And Chicago was nowhere near as progressive as New Jersey.

        • ET says:

          My family is from New Jersey. They never had segregation laws or Jim Crow laws. In fact I had a great aunt who married a black musician and a great uncle who married a neighborhood girlfriend who was black. Now that doesn’t mean New Jersey had no racist, but people were civil about it and treated each other humanely. There were a few KKK chapters in New Jersey that I had heard about, but they were definitely in the minority.

    • I was thinking that myself. The North was not that racist as they led you to believe. My Grandfather was friends with blacks in Detroit at that time. There was none of that overly racist stuff going on like this show says there is. Also, why do they feel the need to toss that in? I hope it ends there cause I am so sick of this crap in every tv show in some form. And of course they have to throw Obamas name out there, Why?? What was the point? someone needed to put their failed God in?? Unreal. Other than that, it was not a bad show. But if they keep up with this PC crap like they did with Keifer Sutherlands new show I will turn it off like many others did.

      • Kathy Bergeron says:

        I am so glad I am not the only person who was aggravated by the PC garbage. I knew this was the direction they were going as soon as the guy made that comment about “no place in America was it good for blacks” or whatever it was he said exactly. Sick of this kind of crap in every revisionist history show. Will give it one more try, but the more I think about it, the more negative I feel about the premiere. And I share your thoughts about Designated Survivor as well for similar reasons.

  35. JK says:

    It has been the best NEW show that has premiered this fall- like it feels like it KNOWS what it’s doing… not trying to “find” itself. I like it better than the Blacklist. I’m obsessed.

  36. Matthew B Lawler says:

    The problem with the fact that they allowed history to be changed in such a dramatic way by the Hindenburg exploding on the wrong day and all of the original people that were meant to die living except for the female reporter Kate who was a total fictional character actually googled to see if there was a real reporter that died during the Hindenburg explosion and there was not and then coming back to a change timeline is now the historian and her knowledge are completely useless because she remembers a timeline that no longer exist and has no knowledge of events as they occurred in the current timeline

    • Yes, I saw her knowledge of history getting less and less useful every time they don’t put it back until she has no more idea of history then anyone else. Unless there is some type of “fixed point” (Dr. Who) effect and certain large events remain the same as long as they prevent Flynn from significantly changing history.

  37. brawl2099 says:

    I really enjoyed the premiere. It was fun, and messy. I’m looking forward to seeing what they do throughout the season to the timeline. It’ll be fun.

  38. a p garcia says:

    The Swastika in the Hindenburg was dull and almost black. In colorized photos it was bright red and white and not almost dark.

  39. Want to travel back in time a little bit? Google Timeless lawsuit.

  40. Kathy Bergeron says:

    Was eagerly anticipating this one and was slightly under- whelmed. I didn’t hate it and will give it a couple more episodes, but certainly didn’t love it. I did like the cast and generally like time travel stories, so I will wait and see.

  41. LLA says:

    I really enjoyed it–a fun watch. Not a Sci Fi fan–esp shows/movies that are about the future or anything to to with other space ha. But, I do enjoy shows that go back in time. I was wondering how things would change when the past was altered. However, was not expecting what Lucy found when she got home. Great little cliff hanger till next week. I like the actors and remember Abigail S from Mad Men. The epic was a fun ride and I will be back for more

  42. Joann says:

    After all the promoting of this series, I expected so much more. I couldn’t even get through the first episode without it putting me to sleep.

  43. Jan says:

    I really like the premise, but Spencer’s acting (?) threw me off. I’m willing to give it a few more tries.

  44. rita says:

    Loved it! Can’t wait until next week and I sure hope they don’t cancel this show….best one this season so far.

  45. Johnny V says:

    According to the FBI and the NY City bomb squad the Hindenburg was blown up by a bomb, not static electricity. Also, the Hindenburg operators were NOT Nazis. They hated Nazis for propagandizing their flying machine. That said, the show was unusually good.

    • John NYC says:

      Improbable: time it precisely to just before it lands? A bomb and the entire craft would have simply disappeared during that long trans Atlantic flight.

      Forensics back then was bucket chemistry at best. The timing of during the landing implicates events involving the landing: a bomb would have gone off long before.

  46. Tahoe Mike says:

    Watching the first few minutes, we are introduced to the main characters. We meet the Amy, the sister, and I think wow there’s a pretty face; I recognize her from somewhere…, I look her up and it’s Bailey Noble, whom I last saw/loved as Adilyn Bellefleur in True Blood. Sure enough the one character I was looking forward to seeing more of gets disappeared from history in the pilot.
    I’m not sure I’ll be sticking with this show much longer than she did.

  47. N says:

    Loved it! Fav line “We’re from General Hospital”

  48. Dave says:

    As long as we don’t keep hearing black people are oppressed. Once is enough already. All Lives Matter! Otherwise, It’s fun!

  49. Roy says:

    How long until NBC decides to cancel this show? I though the pilot was pretty good but NBC always winds up screwing viewers once they get invested in the series.