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Keep the Lifeboat Flying: Why Timeless Needs a Renewal

The timeship may have jumped before, but there’s no sign that it will jump again or that another network will save it. This is it.

Photo Credit: NBC

When I first joined Geek Confidential, NBC’s Timeless had premiered a few months prior. I kept hearing GC host, Luke Kerr, and co-host, Melodie Aikels, bring up this show and how it was a different take on time travel shows. I was pretty skeptical. After all, it was competing with The CW’s DC’s Legends of Tomorrow, as well as since-departed shows, ABC’s Time After Time and FOX’s Making History.

I also was not sure about getting invested in an NBC show. I have a poor record of getting invested in NBC shows, only for them to be cancelled and leaving me broken hearted. No fault to NBC, but it did not leave me with a lot of faith.

However, after a couple of months of convincing, I gave in and checked the show out. I was amazed by the level of intelligence the show carried itself at. Lucy (Abigail Spencer) was a fierce and brilliant woman, determined to save her sister, Amy (Bailey Noble). Wyatt (Matt Lanter) was a jaded soldier, struck by the grief of his deceased wife, Jessica (Tonya Glanz). Rufus (Malcolm Barrett) was an intelligent engineer, no where ready to enter the spotlight of what would come.

This team would slowly come together and form a cohesive unit, determined to do their best to save time, and even though they would sometimes fumble the details, time stood strong, thanks to their noble efforts.

Even after the first season followed the history hunting of antihero Garcia Flynn (Goran Višnjić), while blurring the lines of what it meant to protect history for a cause versus what it meant to protect history from a cause, the ratings did not reflect the brilliance of the story coming off the page and the performances on screen.

Even with engrossing guest stars like Nadine Ellis, Elena Satine, Brandon Barash, and Sean Maguire bringing to life historical figures who helped our heroes keep history safe from Flynn and his schemes, the ratings did not reflect the beauty of seeing new facets to characters we previously could only read about in history books.

Even with the threats of Rittenhouse, a shadowy organization that has lasted for generations in history itself, engulfing the moral compass of our heroes, forcing them into compromising positions, the ratings did not reflect the spectacular and complex performances that Spencer, Lanter, Barrett, and Višnjić, as well as team members, Agent Christopher (Sakina Jaffrey), Connor Mason (Paterson Joseph), and cyber expert Jiya (Claudia Doumit) were all giving.

It baffled me. How could a show with so much going on, not reflect its quality in the one measure necessary for the show to succeed? How do you keep the Lifeboat in the air with so many other factors attempting to keep it grounded?

I still do not have the answers to these questions, and as we waited to hear the fate of season one, we were met with the cold reality of television as it was momentarily canceled. We were left with so many unresolved feelings, regarding the plots of Rittenhouse, the internal conflict Lucy was experiencing with her mother, Carol, (Susanna Thompson), and the visions Jiya began to have, as a result of being the fourth person on a Lifeboat only commissioned for three passengers.

When the show was picked up for a shorter season, I remained hopeful. I saw it as an opportunity, and luckily, so did the writing staff. The brilliance of executive producers Eric Kripke and Shawn Ryan shined through as the season was tightly packed with gripping stories that allowed women and minorities throughout history to take the spotlight. It was riveting television and completely fresh from the threads of last season. The hunting of Garcia Flynn was no more, with the team slowly realizing that while his methods were wrong, they were ultimately on the same side in stopping Rittenhouse.

Carol and Rittenhouse agent, Emma (Anna Wersching), retrieved Nicholas Keynes (Michael Rady), Carol’s grandfather, from World War I. Through his vision, Rittenhouse placed sleeper agents throughout time, and it was up to the Time Team to keep them from changing history.

The plots of week were bound together like your favorite childhood book, while still allowing dynamite performances from guest stars like Christine Horn, Erica Dasher, Grant Jordan, Kamahl Naiqui, and Joseph Lee Anderson to shine, just like in season one.

The team was faced with new challenges. Whether it was Jessica’s unexpected return in the midst of Lucy and Wyatt’s budding romance, to Jiya and Rufus coming to grips with her perilous visions, to the staged prison break of Flynn, to Agent Christopher’s very history being threatened, the stakes kept getting higher.

The series culminated in the death of Rufus, an emotional blow for the team and an even harder blow for fans. Rufus is, was, and will always be the heart of the team. He was the voice of the fans when things got hairy. He spoke to the struggles that African Americans face in any time period they may find themselves in. Most of all, he had an intoxicating romance with Jiya, who had been tortured with the repeated visions of Rufus’ grizzly demise.

When all hope seemed lost and the team was drowning in their grief, a new time ship arrived, carrying Wyatt and Lucy from the future, determined to not allow this to be the end of Rufus.

Just like Timeless fans are determined, that this not be the end of their beloved show.

While the lead-in for the Timeless season two finale was marred by a delay, due to golf and NBC’s Genius Junior, the show sparked discussions on social media like wildfire, making #Timeless the top hashtag on Twitter. Even comedian Leslie Jones, singer Kelly Clarkson, and actor William Shatner voiced their support for the instant NBC classic.

While the show has had to come back from the dead before, let history not repeat itself this time. The timeship may have jumped before, but there’s no sign that it will jump again or that another network will save it. This is it.

This is where fans need to unite and heed the call. This is where the buzz they generate on social media can matter. Hard numbers speak harder truths, and for Timeless fans, let us make any consideration to cancel the show the hardest decision the network has had to make yet.

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