"Journeyman" Review: Finally Some Wow
On an episode of “Top Chef,” guest judge Ted Allen said, “We’re in need of some serious wow here.” And that’s exactly how I’ve felt about the new TV season so far.
But fortunately for me—and all of you—I finally found the wow in a highly unlikely place.
After all, NBC’s “Journeyman” had been done before with a show called “Quantum Leap.” A guy travels though time to right wrongs and change strangers’ lives. But “Journeyman” is so cool and stylish that it never comes off as stale.
“Journeyman” refers to Dan (Kevin McKidd), a newspaper reporter who’s all about breaking the big story. He has a beautiful wife (Gretchen Egolf) and son, although he’s still haunted by the memory of his dead fiancé, Livia (Moon Bloodgood). And he has a somewhat strained relationship with his brother (Reed Diamond), who’s a cop.
One night, Dan somehow finds himself in 1987, where he sees Livia. But because it happens so quickly, he thinks it’s a dream. However, his next trip is longer, and he begins to disappear so much that his family and friends believe he’s using drugs. Neither his wife nor brother will believe a story he can barely believe himself.
Little by little Dan realizes he’s traveling through time to help someone, but he also ends up reliving his own life along the way, which allows us to see why Dan and his brother don’t completely get along and what happened with Livia.
But since life in the present continues without him, can Dan change history for the better without losing his family?
The show does an excellent job of setting the scene for Dan’s trips. I especially liked when the TV that was playing Matt and Meredith on “Today” earlier in the episode was playing Bryant and Jane on “Today” in 1987 talking about the NFL strike—which, yes, did happen that year. Music is also used to set the mood beautifully.
The show does make one significant misstep in the story as the writers throw in an interesting twist. But the scene is so misplaced it disrupts the flow of the story and actually comes off as an afterthought. It would’ve worked much better at the end or even as a big reveal in a later episode. And Dan’s mission doesn’t get a lot of development, but since they’re trying to introduce all the characters, I’m willing to overlook that.
If you liked “Quantum Leap,” you’ll like “Journeyman.” But even if you never saw “Leap,” you’ll totally get into the story of a man making a difference while possibly sacrificing his own happiness. It’s the perfect companion to “Heroes.”
“Journeyman” premieres Monday, September 24th at 10 p.m. on NBC…