11 September 2007

Preview: Journeyman

Hail Kevin McKidd (Rome)! He absolutely made Journeyman easy to watch. I mean, digestible enough. Because I have to be very honest, I got very confused with most of it. If the TV screen could only tell me to lay-off the quizzical look on my face, it sure would. But I had half the mind to tell myself to just enjoy McKidd's performance. And once that happened, I was up for good TV.

Journeyman is about Dan Vasser, a news reporter, who finds himself being mysteriously transported back and forth --- from the present day and into the past. Think Quantum Leap, which is what most people say this show is similar to. But unlike QL, in Journeyman, no one mysteriously appears to tell him why it's happening and no one clues him on what the hell he's supposed to do; and also, no one can answer why he keeps coming back to that time when he was still engaged to Livia, an ex-girlfriend who's long been dead (or so he thought).

His frequent "trips" cause a strain in his present relationship with his present-day wife. When Dan "journeys" he's gone for days, missing dates, missing work. When he comes back to the "now", he tells his wife he's been "dreaming" of Livia, the dead ex-girlfriend. Is he cheating on her? Is he high on drugs? The family tries an intervention but no one believes Dan when he says that there's something weird going on.

And as a side-trip, in the midst of figuring out what he's doing in the past and whether that will lead to Dan time-travel cheating on his wife (heh!), Dan finds a man, verging on suicidal and obviously very conflicted about something. Is he supposed to save him? Dan's natural journalistic instinct gives direction to what he thinks he's supposed to do with the guy he is supposed to help. I guess this is the running theme of the show and it will be what viewers will see every week --- Dan trying to save someone in the past to correct the future.

But Dan trying to save himself? He has what is hopefully thirteen episodes (if it doesn't get canned!) to figure everything else out.

There is a touch of cleverness to Journeyman. Writing is top-notch, mixing mystery with drama and romance. There's no spoon-feeding here, you figure out what is happening to the story without any leading dialogues from the characters (which is why it got confusing! My brain is still on extended break!). However, because it is that way, I have doubts whether this can be something the general audience can get into. Viewers will be asked to think and analyze. And the only way it will work is if you treat the actual watching as the journey itself or if you step into Dan's shoes. Thankfully, I think Kevin McKidd did a great job playing Dan. The actor has quite a magnetic presence on screen. And it's the exact ingredient this show needs in order to pull in viewers.

The show will premiere on NBC this September 24th at 10 PM, following Heroes.