Pin It

Remote Possibilites 

by Luke Baumgarten & r & & r & Traveler

ABC, Wednesdays at 10 pm & r & & r & & lt;span class= "dropcap " & I & lt;/span & n the debut of ABC's much ballyhooed Traveler, a museum blows up and two grad students are framed for it. They go on the run, get chased by the FBI, get caught, escape, get caught again and escape a second time, all while the show tries to fill you in on two years of main character backstory and 20 years-worth of scandal and suicide at the show's periphery.

Recent graduates from some Ivy League school or other, roommates Will Traveler (chemical engineering), Jay Burchell (law) and Tyler Fog (venture capitalism?), plan a cross-country trek that ends at square one, with Traveler blowing up an art museum before the trip ever gets underway. Problem is, Will Traveler doesn't seem to have ever existed, leaving Burchell and Fog as the FBI's only suspects. It makes for a dizzying and intensely unsatisfying hour. The second hour is less dizzying and more satisfying.

By the end of the first hour, we know Fog's dad is a convicted Iran Contra smuggler and Burchell's dad killed himself after a friendly-fire engagement. By the end of the second, we know one of the people trying to stop the FBI from finding Burchell and Fog is a bigwig at the Department of Homeland Security. Could the counter-terrorists be the terrorist-terrorists?

I smell tangy social commentary, hot off the headlines and smothered in a healthy dollop of grim reality. Burchell wants to turn himself in at one point. Fog disabuses him of this: "If we go in now, they'll ship us straight to Guantanamo Bay." Now we're cooking with paranoia.

From enemy combatants to Ollie North, Traveler is setting itself up to be the first dramatic network TV examination of the Reagan and Bush eras. Good time to do it, with Georgie's approval ratings in the toilet. Unfortunately, cramming as many conspiratorial hooks into a series pilot as possible without offering any substantive bait (like characters we care about) has all but doomed this franchise to similarly low ratings. The horrid haircut of Logan Marshall-Green (who plays Fog) and his vacant, inhuman eyes won't draw anyone in.

If it's remembered at all, Traveler will be praised as the crappy little show that had the chutzpah to poke blindly into the darker corners of the war on terror, paving the way for better television to shed actual light.


Creature Comfort

The conceit: Aardman Studios (Wallace & amp; Gromit) takes the real words of real stupid Americans and puts them in the mouths of animated pigs and bears. A thin concept? Not compared to Flushed Away. (CBS, Mondays, 8 pm)

America's Got Talent

Lighthearted, daffy and utterly pointless, the show -- stupid human tricks with a million dollar prize -- perhaps sensing its paucity of premise, worried about drawing fans back for Year Two, went out and found a reason for people to watch. Trash king Jerry Springer replaces Regis "Get-Me-My-Geritol" Philbin as host and cancer-survivor-extraordinaire Sharon Osborne becomes the new judge, replacing boring-as-hell Brandy. (NBC, Tuesdays, 9 pm)

Pirate Master

Survivor with one major difference: rather than the winner getting the money at the end, it gets meted out weekly. After voting for a captain based on merit, the crew learned said captain would get 50 percent of each week's spoils, while his chosen mates split 25 percent and select others get a pittance. Depending on how shrewdly the captain uses this money, he can either wrangle the crew or spark mutiny. Good idea. (CBS, Thursdays, 8 pm)

  • Pin It

Latest in News

  • Rich Man, Poor Men
  • Rich Man, Poor Men

    Can the wealthiest U.S. president ever help the poorest U.S. citizens?
    • Jan 18, 2017
  • La Resistance
  • La Resistance

    Michael Moore, Congressional Democrats and local progressives: How they are resisting Donald Trump's agenda
    • Jan 18, 2017
  • Must-See TV?
  • Must-See TV?

    Alternatives to the inauguration (and how to make watching more fun if you have to)
    • Jan 18, 2017
  • More »


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Today | Mon | Tue | Wed | Thu | Fri | Sat
Beginning Knitting

Beginning Knitting @ Cheney Library

Sat., Jan. 28, 3:30-4:30 p.m.

All of today's events | Staff Picks

More by Luke Baumgarten

  • Chasing Whales
  • Chasing Whales

    Let's focus less on courting big companies and focus more on nurturing big ideas
    • Feb 5, 2015
  • Completely Repellent
  • Completely Repellent

    How can we expect people to find constructive uses for space that wasn't built for them?
    • Dec 30, 2014
  • Screw Big Cities
  • Screw Big Cities

    A mid-sized manifesto
    • Dec 3, 2014
  • More »

Most Commented On

  • One Free Shave

    Donald Trump might have merited a honeymoon with voters had he managed his transition better
    • Dec 29, 2016
  • The Landed and the White

    How Americans followed tradition when they voted for Trump
    • Jan 12, 2017
  • More »

Top Tags in
News & Comment




green zone


Readers also liked…

  • Patrolling While Black
  • Patrolling While Black

    Gordon Grant's nearly 30 years as a Spokane cop have been affected by race, but that's not the whole story
    • Jul 8, 2015
  • The <i>Real</i> Rachel Dolezal
  • The Real Rachel Dolezal

    The story goes far beyond just a white woman portraying herself as black
    • Jun 17, 2015

© 2017 Inlander
Website powered by Foundation