Monday, September 10, 2007

Fall TV Preview - Journeyman - Pilot Training

Journeyman - Pilot - directed by Alex Graves, written by Kevin Falls
Premieres Monday, September 24th, 10pm on NBC/Global

A newspaper journalist Dan Vassar (Kevin McKidd, Rome), (at this point) inexplicably gets sent back in time and discovers he must fix something, fix someone's life. Unfortunately by disappearing to the past, his present life starts falling apart as his wife (Gretchen Egolf), brother (Reed Diamond, one of those character actors you always see around) and boss (Brian Howe) wonder about his constant disappearing acts. Even more unfortunate for Dan, he has no way to control when he gets sent back. He also ends up seeing his former fiance Livia (Moon Bloodgood, Daybreak) in his trips to the past, before she died in a plane crash and before he married his now wife, who had earlier been together with his brother. Yes, a lot of soap opera antics even before the shows started but it's a nice set up with a nice twist to the time travelling genre.

Yes, everyone is comparing this to Quantam Leap but is that such a bad thing? The pilot made it feel a little less Highway to Heaven and more family dramatics and modern, and Kevin McKidd is a strong lead as the Journeyman. I've loved him since I first saw him in Bedroom and Hallways and loved the different characters he plays, despite the fact that he looks like he should always play the straight good man, which he finally does here.

I'm a bit of a sucker for these time travelling shows, and I like that sci-fi element is taken out of the equation in the pilot, and that it really focuses on Dan Vassar figuring out what the hell is going on, and how to fix his current life back home because of his journeys to the past. I'm not sure I like Gretchen Egolf as the wife but that might be on purpose since the pilot seems to set up Livia as the girl to root for, since she's seen only in a romantic notion in Dan's past.

Solid pilot with yet another actor I've been rooting for for years (along with Zachary Levi in Chuck and Lee Pace in Pushing Daisies), and there's a nice set up to string these time travelling jumps together, and there's a nice family drama base to keep us caring about the characters between what could be a plodding "saving someone from the past"-of-the-week premise so typical of what we've come to expect of these types of shows. 3.5 stars (*** 1/2).

Here is the promo video clip for Journeyman:

Kevin McKidd

Gretchen Egolf

Moon Bloodgood

Reed Diamond


Anonymous said...

I saw the pilot via Comcast On Demand. I agree with your review. It feels like it could be a hit. Here's my one and only issue: the casting feels off to me. I didn't warm to either the wife or the former girlfriend. The cop brother seems like a good fit but why is he the older of the two? I'm not buying that. The actor who plays the son is just too adorable. The seasons between Kevin McKidd and the kid really pulled me in. The female casting was really my only major pet peeve. The rest of the show was great and I'll absolutely watch it.

Anonymous said...

Oops, meant 'scenes' not 'seasons'-my bad!