TV SHOW REVIEW - Travelers: Season 2
Okay so there have been a lot of the superhero TV show reviews recently and although I’m all for it, I did want to return to a show that impressed me with its first season. I’m of course talking about ‘Travelers’, a show from 2016 which premiered on Netflix. It told the story of human beings from the future who hijack the bodies of people living in the present who are about to die, with their consciousness. They work in teams to undergo missions, sent by a sentient A.I. in the future called “The Director”.
Season 2 of ‘Travelers’ sees Special Agent Grant McLaren and his team shut down the massive generator that was supposed to act as a vessel for the Director to come to the past. In doing so, however, they unlock a new threat that is facing both the present and the future. It appears that in their attempts to save the future, they have begun to change aspects of it that they’re not aware of. One of these aspects is the creation of “The Faction”, a radical group who are also capable of sending people back into the past and who are acting against The Director, believing their mission to be just as important. Meanwhile, each of the main team members is going through their own challenges. Grant, whose marriage hits the rocks, attempts his best at reconnecting with his wife and soon they are expecting a child together. Grant understands that this goes against the rules of his mission, but proceeds anyway. Carly, who at the start of the season, has lost custody of her child must come together with her partner to prove that they can get Jeffery Jr. back from the social services. Trevor finds out about a previous trauma that his host has gone through and attempts to get justice. Marcy, who was reset in the last season, struggles with the loss of her memories and doesn’t know how to get them back. However, of all the characters, it’s Phillip who is most affected by the actions of the Faction, when a traveller he believes is on his side, gets him addicted to a new drug so that the Faction can use his brain to create a global pandemic. On top of all of this drama, despite the numerous battles with the Faction, it appears that there lies a mysterious figure behind the shadows who is determined to take out all Travellers, irrespective of their allegiance. Can the team figure out who this person is? And how will the future change from all these new actions and reactions?
When this show was suggested to me, I was hesitant to give it a try. I’d seen a lot of these sci-fi shows and although the concept seemed quite interesting, I also kept in mind that it’d never really become mainstream. The first season, however, was extremely engaging and had me hooked. So you can imagine that when I started this second season I expected the show to up the ante. Well, it’s been a mixed bag. I think the character development of the team has been fantastic. We’re now delving into the pasts of a lot of these characters, and the Travelers having to deal with the consequences of decisions they’ve not made was something that the first season really lacked. That being said, I felt like the overall plot of the season was not as good as the first season. Sure, there was some coherency to it and we now have a couple of villains to be fought, but bar one episode it really didn’t seem like the stakes were that high. Despite the fascinating aspect of a changing future, the team seemed tamer this season and that did disappoint me a little!
Acting-wise, all of the main characters returned for the second season. Eric McCormack, who plays Grant Maclaren, excelled in his portrayal, adding layers to his performance from the first season. He remains my favourite character and the growth seen in Season 2 was very interesting. Despite being the leader, his willingness to bend ‘The Protocols’ was surprising to see. Also undergoing fairly decent character developments were Marcy and Trevor, played by Mackenzie Porter and Jared Abrahamson respectively. Marcy softens a lot towards David and this is probably helped by the experiment she carries out to restore her memory. For Trevor, although his story is focused on the least, we get some semblance of what his life outside of the team now looks like. I’d say even though Nesta Cooper who plays Carly did a good job of fleshing out the softer side of her character, it felt like more could have been done for her story. Finally, we have Phillip, played by Reilly Dolman. For me, I thought Phillip’s story was the most disappointing. The season starts with a focus on him, but ultimately it comes back down to the fact that he used to be a drug addict and it continued to feel like we were just scratching the surface of who he could be.
In terms of the cinematography, clearly, a second season means that the show has done well enough to gain a bit of attention and this usually comes with better funding. The show is not particularly reliant on CGI or fancy graphics but I’d say I did notice a slight increase in the quality of the shots. A lot of the shots still seem to be shot on location and that’s certainly a dying art with the levels of graphics we can now achieve. The music again was a rather non-existent aspect of the show, but I don’t particularly think that it detracted heavily from my enjoyment!
In conclusion, I think the show continues very much in a satisfactory manner. I think the characters are likeable and the overarching plot is interesting, but this season just lagged a little bit in excitement. Given the ending though, it appears that the final season of ‘Travelers’ will introduce new plot elements which may make it the best one yet! We’ll see!
Story Arc: 13/20
Integral vs filler episode: 12/20