Journeyman

I absolutely loved it, and I am extremely disappointed that it didn’t get picked up for a full season.  I suppose we can hope that if the strike drags on long enough, and the networks are starvinf for shows, and there aren’t any new shows in development, that they’ll go back and order new episodes of Journeyman to fill the schedule.  It certainly deserves it.  It was, in my opinion, the best new show of the season.  It was great.

I have some questions, as does everyone who watched it, I’m sure, but the writers did really good job of creating an episode that could be the series finale, and could be continued (See another review here).  I liked this last episode veruy much.

One question that I would like to share/discuss, really comes from the second-to-last episode.  When Dan changes his future, and changes Zack into Caroline, it makes sense that everyone around him changed as well.  But shouldn’t there be an eventual ripple forward that would repair his memory as well?  I guess the same applies to Evan in the last episode.  Once he alters the past, shouldn’t the ripple effect eventually move forward, altering his memories of the past?

The way I conceive of this is actually presented well in another quasi time-travel movie: Frequency.  There’s a scene, when Jim Caviezel is in the bar in the present, that’s happening sort of at the same metaphysical time as the time his father was originally killed in the past.  Except now, he’s informed his father, altered the past, and saved his life, that day.  We see the ripple come forward, and suddenly his brain had memories that it didn’t have a few minutes ago, and he’s suddenly aware, though he doesn’t know how, that his father survived that father, and for the time being, dies of lunch cancer some year later.

Obviously, time travel shows are inherently difficult to reconcile and understand, no question.  You have to accept the concept within a certain framework (or, you know, ignore it completely like Austin Powers).

I guess the simple answer that separates Back to the Future and Journeyman from Frequency is the actions of the time traveler removing himself from the ripple effects.  Whereas in Frequency, it was his actions that altered the past, he never traveled, and he never removed himself from the timeline, so he could be affected by the ripple.  Marty McFly, Dan Vasser and Evan Patterson, however, were the travelers, so perhaps the ripples didn’t (or couldn’t?) reach them.  I don’t know.

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6 responses to “Journeyman

  1. There were other times when Dan made changes, but he didn’t know about it until someone told him. One example is when at the Christmas party he convinced his father to tell his children that it wasn’t their fault he was leaving, and when Dan came back to the present he asked his brother about it because he didn’t realize any change. So the story is consistent in that he works outside the timeline.

    One issue I think this theory creates is what would happen if another time traveler came back and killed him (or if a change he made caused him to die earlier). So what would have happened if that guy who shot Dan would have done so in 2006 instead of after Dan returned. Dan would have still been alive when he returned, but everyone would have thought he was dead.

    About Back to the Future, didn’t Marty start to disappear after he messed up his parents’ meeting because he was part of the timeline? Maybe I’m wrong, since it’s been a really long time.

  2. Marty did, in fact, start to disappear, which is of itself is a problem. Either the ripples affect him or they don’t. I can’t see it being a gradual thing.

    Not to mention that after George and Lorraine’s lives are completely altered by the George/Biff change, that picture likely never gets taken.

  3. Yeah I don’t think the makers of Back To The Future thought this stuff through that much. Journeyman did a better job.

  4. Randy Barnett on Volokh <a href = “http://www.volokh.com/posts/1198721072.shtml”?mentioned the show today. Not sure if it’ll help, but it can’t hurt to get it more publicity.

  5. Sorry about the messed up tag.

    Randy Barnett on Volokh mentioned the show today. Not sure if it’ll help, but it can’t hurt to get it more publicity.

  6. You can’t criticize Back to the Future. It is the blueprint for all of these time traveling shows. The famous image of Doc Brown drawing the break in the time line on his blackboard in BTF2, reminds me of the image of Albert Einstein drawing E=MC2 (forgive the big 2) on his blackboard and should be treated with as much respect. The following is an incredible link on BTF, if you are interested. http://www.bttf.com/film_faq.htm

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