Journeyman is a show thatís got a very familiar premise too anyone familiar
with a certain 80ís series (but weíll come back to that): Dan Vasser, a
news-paper reporter, is forced to leap into the past and fix events in
peoples lives. Not only has this but heís got to deal with his failing
relationship with his wife Livia, and the ghost of an old girl-friend whoís
also leaping through time.
Being fair though I was always going to be a sucker for Journeyman, because
it reminds me of a show I love: Quantum Leap. They both have the same basic
premise: the lead character will leap into the past, and in the words of
Quantum Leap, 'put right what once went wrong'. They both tend to deal in
the quieter, more personal side of time-travel: i.e. events in peoples
lives, more than large scale events.
The main difference being Dan Vasser is himself when he leaps back in time,
whereas Sam Becket: Quantum leaps lead guy - takes on the identity of
someone else. Although admittedly with Quantum Leap it's actually an
excitement and the character can never go home. Minor details: the overall
idea and execution are exactly the same. Some people will tell you that
there nothing alike, or that it does Journeyman some kind of injustice, when
in fact it's very much something working in the shows favour.
It means it's already got a target audience, and the whole concept is
comfortably familiar, and infinitely flexible. It's not constrained by rules
like Quantum Leap was in itís last few seasons, but is still sufficiently
hard-core enough with the sci-fi elements to keep me happy. In that respect
Journeyman is a very old fashioned show: no obsession with solving weird
puzzles, no overriding mythology, just good storytelling.
Although we donít always have enough time to connect with the people Dan is
helping theyíre generally well caricaturised and relatable. This human side
of the show anchors Journeyman. Ditto with Dan's relationship with his wife:
They're both well written and acted, and Iím sure some people love that
element of the show because they can relate.
Not only is Journeyman well written the scenes shot in the past are also
wonderfully done, with a predictable, yet fun, retro soundtrack. There's a
lot of work and joy going into these sets so they tend to be very colorful
and fun. They may not be realistic, and tend to be more about our
perceptions of that time, but it's done well and it's another thing they
borrow from Quantum Leap.
Journeyman is good, but far from perfect. It sorely lacks is a sense of
humour, because it takes itself slightly too seriously, and loose a bit of
fun from that. Personally I dislike the stuff with Danís wife, itís all a
bit too soapy for my liking: but as I said earlier Iím sure the majority of
viewers enjoy it.
Overall though this show is well worth checking out, especially if youíre a
fan of a certain 8oís sci-fi show.
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