If you are like me, you spent your winter break with family, sure, but also with your DVR and Netflix. The holidays saw the release of many anticipated binge-watching candy like Fuller House Season 2 and The OA, but there was one show Netflix quietly released December 23 that probably slipped through the cracks for most: Travelers. Starring Will and Grace's Eric McCormack and a cast of intriguing newbies, the sci-fi thriller created by Brad Wright is Stranger Things meets Stargate. Do I have your attention now?
McCormack stars as FBI agent Grant MacLaren tasked with tracking down an underground hacking ring whose activity has recently been flagged by the FBI. Through his investigation he finds four strangers seemingly connected somehow. When he is able to track them down, MacLaren discovers the "hackers" are not who they appear to be or from where they say they are. Even more unsettling is MacLaren learns that they've been waiting for him.
Travelers takes you on a mind-bending ride that challenges your intellect in a way that keeps you coming back for more. So why should you binge all 12 episodes of Netflix's Travelers immediately? I'll give you a few good reasons.
Time Travel With No Time Machine
Most time travel stories typically use some sort of device to accomplish the trip to the future or past, but Travelers explores an even more intriguing vessel — the human consciousness. In the far future when humanity has almost been wiped out, humans have discovered a technology that allows them to transfer their consciousness through space and time and directly into a host body from the past.
They select a host that is shown in historical records to have died in the area and at the time they are needing to travel back to. Seconds before the host's time of death the Traveler's consciousness is transmitted into the host's body. Without getting too spoilery, let's just say not every transmission of a Traveler to a host goes as planned — and the past is nothing like they were taught to believe.
The Cast Is One Of The Best On TV
Including seasoned actor Eric McCormack, the cast of Travelers is young, diverse, and impressively talented. Not one of the leads or supporting cast misses a beat and the ensemble blends together seamlessly. Seriously, where does Netflix find these gems?
- Nesta Cooper (Carly Shannon): Cooper plays a Traveler sent into the body of a young mom named Carly who is suffering from domestic abuse, creating an intensely emotional insight into both the Traveler and young mother's life. Not to mention she has a serious right hook and a sharp tongue. My kinda gal.
- Jared Abrahamson (Trevor Holden): Canadian actor Abrahamson plays 17 year old bully, Trevor, whose body is taken by a Traveler ten times his age. Abrahamson gives one of the most stunning and impressive performances of the cast by balancing the mind of an old man living in the body of a pubescent teen. The audience is truly able to believe the far-out premise of Travelers thanks to Abrahamson's intricate performance.
- MacKenzie Porter (Marcy Worton): Violinist MacKenzie Porter plays Marcy Worton, a mentally handicapped young woman in the care of the state who becomes the host of a doctor from the future. Porter's beautiful transitions between not just two — but three — vastly different consciousnesses in Travelers is a show in its own right, and a damn good one.
- Reilly Dolman (Philip Pearson): In one of my favorite performances of the show, Dolman plays a Traveler transferred into the body of a young heroin addict. It's not long before the complications of his new host's addiction arises and watching Dolman explore the mind of an addict as a person who's not bring's a sense of humanity to the show. Dolman's performance grounds Travelers in a much needed way and the show is all the better for having him on board.
- Eric McCormack (Grant MacLaren): If anyone had been trying to keep McCormack in the box labeled Will and Grace, they can't now — his portrayal of FBI agent MacLaren in Travelers burnt it to ashes. McCormack seamlessly leads the young and impressive cast of Travelers to greatness while continually adding layers to his own character. Just when you think you've figured him out, you're wrong. That's the good stuff folks.
- Patrick Gilmore (David Mailer): Gilmore's performance as Mailer, present Marcy's unfortunate social worker, acts as a light in the midst of Travelers complicated web of sci-fi mechanisms. When things get a little too heavy, Gilmore's comedic timing and chemistry with Marcy brings the audience out of the Matrix and into the present with a little giggle. Without him, the show might be a tad too heavy to get through.
Travelers Explores Time Travel In The Real World
In reality, we may never find a way to travel through time. But what if we did? What would we be like with that capability? What would we change, prevent? Travelers does an exceptional job of exploring the ethics of playing God and what could happen if we tried.
The Travelers come to the past with nothing more than their own mind and must fend for themselves. And once they truly understand the ability, they become conflicted.
Yes, they could save a life they know will be lost, but what would that change in the future, let alone one that is already in turmoil? That one person's life could could have ripples through space and time that would do the opposite of what they are there for — to save humanity. So what is right and what is wrong?
As the Travelers become more involved in their host's life they are also torn between that and the one they left behind — their real lives. Where does their loyalty lie, to whom does their allegiance belong? In Travelers, the answer isn't as simple as it may seem.
Netflix's Next Big Hit
One of the show's greatest strengths is its ability to leave you with a million questions that are never fully answered so you are left to explore the intricacies of the characters and formulate theories. Travelers is what I like to call smart sci-fi. Sci-fi that puts the audience in the driver's seat and builds the worlds based on what they interpret. For any time travel or sci-fi lover, this show is an absolute must.
Traveler, your mission is to get on Netflix and binge away. When you are done you will want a Season 2 as much as I do and the only way to get it is to watch and spread the word. Good luck, Travelers, remember to follow protocol, and be safe out there. The future of the show is in your hands.
Signing out — Traveler 2643.
Travelers is now available for streaming on Netflix.