Thursday, May 10, 2007

Traveler - I'll Go Where They're Going


ABC FINALLY "previews" Traveler, a show I've been excited about since I first heard about it last year before the Upfronts were announced (which is why I've avoided looking into the pilots this year, for fear of getting attached again to things that will never be seen).

It follows three buddies, Jay, Tyler and Will Traveler as they finish Yale graduate school and embark on a road trip before they start their careers. After being roommates for 2 years, they have the usual guys camaraderie, though there are hints of the usual imbalance in friendships (a nice touch that usually isn't explored in Hollywood). They reach New York and Will suggests a prank at the Drexler Museum (aka The Met), where he will videotape Tyler and Jay rollerblading through the museum in a race to the exit. The boys cause trouble, escape the museum, just as Will calls them and apologizes and the museum blows up.

Jay and Tyler find themselves on TV right away (already a clue), and the feds think it's an act of terrorism with the two as their main suspects. There is no trace of Will, and Tyler thinks it's a set up. Did Will just betray his friends?

Okay. I'm totally hooked. Despite a few flaws in some overdirection in camera angles. It's got me hooked, line and sinker. Add Viola Davis and Steven Culp (Desperate Housewives, Thirteen Days) as the feds, William Sadler (Roswell, Wonderfalls) as Jay's rich father, who knows something must be wrong and worries that it's a bigger conspiracy against them, and Matthew Bomer (Tru Calling) and Logan Marshall Green (The OC, Off-Broadway's Dog Sees God with Ugly Betty's America Ferrera, and the current King Lear with Kevin Kline) as Jay and Tyler, the boys on the run, and you've got a winning cast. Pyro Aaron Stanford (X-Men, Tadpole) plays Will Traveler, who Jay wants to hunt down for an alibi, while Tyler doubts his innocence and according to the feds, doesn't exist.

Now, ABC has only granted this show 8 episodes, and since it's only starting showing the episodes NOW, at the end of May Sweeps (it will continue on Wednesdays at 10pm starting May 30th), there really lies no hope in an extension to this show unless miracle ratings happen, but that might be okay. I'm not sure how long they would be able to sustain this level of (semi-logical) exciting twists and turns (well, 24 has had 6 seasons but again, I said semi-logical) with the whole show basically being a cat and mouse and mouse game, but it seems like a Smith only with protagonists that we might actually like and care about. I like that the boys actually react like how someone would normally react in their situation. Completely freaked and actually scared, with little heroics involved, and only reaction and panic. Maybe this show will arc away a short but satisfying run (think the British versions of The Office, Coupling, or pretty much anything else they do) or as a cable network series. Based on the pilot alone, I will give it 4 STARS though I usually reserve a 3.5 stars for the series as a whole until I see more (because, maybe there was a reason why ABC cut the show down from 13 to 8, or maybe they just got scared by the negative reaction to The Nine, Six Degrees and all the other network new serial shows).

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