SF Obscure: Crime Traveller and Timecop

Time Travel Shows That Ran out of Time

Time Travel is a standard plot in SF TV. I just finished watching Season 1 of Continuum which is a very good time travel show. And I have written about a time travel/timeslip classic Sapphire and Steel. So I decided to look up some time travel shows that slipped in and out of the radar.

Crime Traveller

This was a 1997 show broadcast by the BBC which lasted for only eight episodes. It centers around Jeff Slade, a detective and Holly Turner, a science officer with the police who happens to have a time machine in her apartment that her late father built. It’s a strange premise, to be sure. Kind of reaching. I  did wonder how a person could just keep a time machine in their apartment with no one noticing, but I was willing to suspend disbelief for a bit.

The show has been heavily criticized (listed on worst TV show lists) but it’s not as bad as all that. I can’t say it was good, and I understand why it was cancelled, but it was an amusing eight episodes to watch. Fairly formulaic-a mystery that Detective Slade must solve; his boss is on his back about it; something goes wrong; Holly brings out the time machine. There’s also the playful, maybe-they’ll-get-together-relationship plot.It’s meant to be fairly light in tone. Not comedy but definitely not a dark cop show.

That’s one of the reasons it never quite falls into place. These crimes were generally cozy mystery type of material-rivalry among fashion designers, that kind of thing. So I was left wondering why you needed a time machine to solve it. Plus, the time machine is fairly random in where it takes you. It could be a few days or a few minutes- so the usefulness is debatable.


Time Cop

This was a series based on the Jean Claude van Damme movie. It aired for nine episodes from Fall of 1997.  It’s set in 2007 in which time travel is possible, and there are criminals who possess time travel technology.  Timecop centers on Jack Logan, an Agent of the  Time Enforcement Commission which uses time travel technology to hunt down time traveling criminals from altering the past.There is a team to help Logan, including a tech advisor, Claire Hemmings and a historian, Dale Easter. It has somewhat of a Stargate feel to me. Perhaps its the whole secret government project look and the combination of adventure with a bit of humor. There is general time travel fare-Jack the Ripper episode, Nazi Germany episode-I suppose because those are familiar historical references which is why they are continually used. They do tend to expand the plots, though, with a few twists as the episodes move on. Actually, the show was enjoyable. Each episode improved and it looked as if it were  hitting a stride. There were 13 episodes commissioned- only a nine aired. Perhaps it just didn’t pull in the ratings.

I’ve got other time travel shows on my list, including Seven Days and maybe a possible rewatch of Quantum Leap. Any other time travel shows readers would like to suggest?