Aside from the common belief that the general TV audience doesn't have the attention span or patience for a storyline this complex, completely disproved by the success of Heroes and Lost, I'm not convinced this show has longevity. And you all know how much I wish for time travel longevity, right?
Many comparisons have been made to Quantum Leap, for obvious reasons, but the similarities stop at the whole time-travel-make-things-right premise. Journeyman has the potential to explore deeper, more complex emotions and moral choices because the main character is traveling as himself, not the embodiment of another, and must return and face the consequences of his circumstances. However, because Sam Beckett communicated with the future via secondary characters and technological devices, he remained firmly in the storyline of the past, allowing the viewer full, uncluttered access to the problem at hand.
Now, this opinion is coming from someone whose novel unfolds backward in twenty-four hour increments, but Journeyman is symptomatic of the fast-paced--even hurried dramas that are becoming staples on network TV. Quick dialogue. Rushed scenes in an effort to break for more commercials and keep an audience from multitasking five other actions to stop long enough to become engaged. So many moments in Journeyman's pilot fly by. The emotional payoff to an amazing ending, where the entirety of the episode becomes clear was completely rushed. The moment he discovers his lost lost love might indeed face the same strange phenomenon he's struggling to understand, her line is rapid-fire and buried beneath an effective, but too-loud background score. Dan Vasser experienced one moral dilemma after another in the span of 38 minutes, yet the writers and directors only skimmed the surface of these emotions, asking the viewer to fill in the rest.
I applaud NBC for continuing to harness the success of Heroes and the craving the audience has for something fresh that offers complexities the viewer will analyze long after the credits roll. I hope the lightning speed of the pilot was merely set to engage a new audience and the pace will slow a bit to capitalize on the unique challenges facing the characters.
Oh, and note to self: if this fiction thing doesn't work out, I can, apparently, work as a newspaper reporter in San Francisco and earn enough to buy a four million dollar Victorian.
What did you think?