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Kevin Falls on Journeyman

Published August 27, 2007 in Television
By Fred Topel | Image property of NBC.
Journeyman Journeyman

It's great to have another time travel show on TV. There hasn't really been a good one since Quantum Leap. Sliders was more multi-dimensional. I'm talking about our own timeline. Journeyman has a man bounce back and forth between his past and present. If you're gonna do that, you know there have to be a lot of rules.

Kevin Falls on Journeyman


"We want the characters to be believable enough that you still care about them but still be able to do crazy jokes with them. So I think we learned that as the year went. This year, I think we are going to try to maybe do a little less because the shows were so dense that sometimes we worried that it was almost going by too quickly for the audience. So we're hoping to let things breathe a little bit."

The Journeyman will get to mess with time in more limited, but still fun ways. "The time stories will have to do with what we call 'procedurals.' He will deal with kind of altering those people's lives and the impact of having to do this while trying to keep a family intact in the present. Yet he does not want to run into himself or his old girlfriend unless he had no other choice, which he did in the pilot. He needed the piece of information, and so he assumed his old identity."

Another rule is that he only travels within his own lifetime, but that means he can go back to when he was a kid. "Absolutely, and he will." But with all those rules, the producers will keep the cause of his time travel a big mystery.



"When we went in to do this, we wanted to make sure that it wasn't so heavily serialized that if you missed the first three episodes, you could never figure out what was going on. Those stand-alone procedures I talk about will be close-ended stories that you could follow if you turn the TV on for episode 10, yet it rewards the viewer who is following what's going on with these relationships in a way that you feel very compelled to come back. Also, the plan is to pick several of these, what I call, 'procedural stories' and use them in the latter third of the season because now you realize there's a reason why all of these people have their lives saved or took a different path in life, and that's because we are pointing towards something very big in the end."

There will be more rules for sure, but they should be easy to pick up along the way. "Hopefully, when you watch one or two shows, you will know that there's a close-ended story to each episode. As far as why he's traveling is something that we want to approach this thing from a real place, if there's such a thing as grounded sci-fi. It's kind of what we are going for. In the second episode, he will get an MRI. He will explore all of the logical options that might be happening to him. And just like Katie, his wife, will have doubts, even though he did that wonderful what she might perceive as a parlor trick with the ring, she starts to drive carpool and go on. 'My husband is a time traveler?' I mean, that just doesn't make sense.' We will certainly be asking the questions that the viewers will. We just don't want to try to tease the audience like, 'Next week, you are going to find out why he is time traveling.' But we know that, eventually, we owe it to the audience."

Journeyman premieres September 24th on NBC.

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Fred Topel
Sources: Image property of NBC.
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