With the exception of The Doctor, Mighty and I liked a lot of the same television programs. And whilst, because of the shifts I was working, we didn’t always watch them together, we would still talk about them. But then I met someone at work, and started to talk to them about television and films instead. Eventually Mighty moved out, he married someone else… and so it came to be that Mighty and I both came across Journeyman completely separately.
On the 6th of October 1987 Dan wakes up to find himself in Golden Gate Park, which, from his point of view, is 20 years earlier than he went to bed. It isn’t the first time he’s time-traveled, but it is the first time that he’s realised that he actually has time-traveled; the first time that he can’t pass it off as a dream. When he returns home he finds that he’s been missing for 2 days and his wife is annoyed, to say the least, and doesn’t believe Dan’s explanation as to where he’s been. Over the course of the next week Dan finds himself traveling back and forth in the 20 years leading up to 2007 completely involuntary, but there are 2 constants; the first of which is Neil Gaines, who Dan at first feels compelled to help.
If this sounds a little familiar, it’s because it is. Journeyman was a mix of The Time Traveler’s Wife, and Quantum Leap, and was absolutely brilliant. Sadly it was short lived; it ran for just 13 episodes before it was cancelled by NBC.
The first episode introduced us to 2 important concepts that helped define the series. The first being that it showed us that Dan was traveling in a world where he could affect his own future (just like Marty McFly). At the end of the episode he is able to prove to his wife that he has being doing what he said and manages to save his marriage in the process. The other is that he is not alone. For in the episode we are introduced to his ex fiancé Livia, who was presumed dead following a plane crash. In fact, we are introduced to the Livia that he knew and loved and we’re also introduced to the Livia post-plane crash; the Livia that escaped the plane crash by involuntarily time-travelling and has been helping people ever since. It’s Dans interactions with time-traveling Livia that help him to start to make sense of what is happening to him and just what it is that he is meant to do. Later in the series we discover that she isn’t in fact from the same time as Dan, and whereas he travels back from 2007, she travels forward from 1945.
How it came to be canceled I have no idea. When I heard that it might be I actually wrote to NBC to complain, but they didn’t take any notice, and the last episode was shown on the 19th of December 2007.
If you haven’t seen it, and the chances are that you haven’t, please do so. And if you can’t find it, come round, I’ll quite happily watch it again.
To be continued…