Time travel on TV

November 22, 2007

I’ve been watching Heroes on DVD. Yes, I know. I’m late to the party. Sigh.

Actually, it’s probably more accurate to say I’ve been devouring them. Two episodes a night at least. I can quit any time, no really I can.

I am enjoying Hiro. He’s my favourite. Comic geek does good is a great storyline and for those of us who are comic geeks it’s lovely to see One of Us up there on the big screen.

The whole show smacks of X-Men from the late 80s, the last time I regularly read the book. Chris Claremont was writing and the whole thing was about a family of disparate people coming together. The second movie really captured that feeling but the third one sucked so badly there’s no way out of that particular quagmire. But I digress.

What has intrigued me is the idea that Hiro can change timelines and that those changes have only a limited affect on the future.

I’m not sure how it’s gone with the second series, but in the first Future Hiro comes back to our present to warn them about the end of the world. Save the cheerleader, save the world. Nice.

But then it gets complicated. Present Hiro goes to the future and sees what will happen if Sylar kills the cheerleader. Sylar gets her power (healing) and survives to cause mayhem and destroy New York.

Only Claire is still alive… she’s there in the future hiding out under a black wig and is about to get married. Which means Sylar doesn’t kill her in the past and get her power, so doesn’t survive Hiro’s attack… it should be a paradox but it isn’t.

I’m not sure yet if this is intentional or just accidental. US TV doesn’t typically do time travel well. Lois and Clark had a stupid story once (yes, I know) about Lois finding out about Clark/Superman. The solution – travel back in time to the start of the story so she forgets. What? Why does she forget? That’s just stupid!

My favourite TV time traveller is of course Doctor Who and the best episode ever to cover time travel in the right way is Blink. It’s up there with 12 Monkeys when it comes to time travel.

Got any favourites? Feel free to share.

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2 Responses to “Time travel on TV”

  1. Mysterious Dave Mathers Says:

    Yep, “Heroes” reminded me of “X-Men”, except of course the lack of a financially solvent institution that can pay to keep the Mutants in lycra and lear jets.

    I won’t spoil it for you by saying what happens…

    I remember a time travel story written as a one-off in “2000AD” back when I was young. It was a story of two hard-boiled operatives working out of a Time Agency. The gag was that the operatives crossed their own path about three times in the same panel, which kept being reprinted through the story. The operatives first advised, and then took to hiding from them-(earlier)-selves to avoid the social awkwardness of explaining things, again.

    The only other series which had this time crossing thing going on was the “Back to the future” series. Which I liked, but not as much.

  2. audent Says:

    It’s tricky, keeping it all straight in your own head. But that’s half the fun, surely! I never understood why US TV shows in particular never really got it.

    The new Who does it and does it well and I’m hoping Heroes gets there with it all.. can’t leave paradoxes lying around the place. Someone might stub a toe!


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