We’re two episodes into Traveller, a new serial drama landing somewhere around Prison Break in feel. It’s smoothly made, and manages to capture a good sense of intensity.
The tale is one of three college chums who head out into the world… except one pulls an unexpected terrorist act, pinning suspicion on the other two, who must be on the run while trying to figure out who their friend really was and why he did what he did. This is actually a pretty good hook to build a story on; one could make for a fine movie out of it.
However, doing it as a serial TV drama means one is aiming for a long story. To make it long, they need complexity — there seem to be a fair number of different folks who are aware of and involved in whatever really happen, and they have a variety of alignments and allegiances, all playing this at high stakes. As such, rather than feeling like there is some big scheme going on which is just to be revealed, this feels like a matter of throwing every possible badness at our young protagonists, with the faint promise that it will all make sense in the end.
And of course, there’s that “the end” dilemma… recent track record for serial dramas suggest that the show won’t run long enough to reveal What Is Going On. And that makes it hard to want to watch. It’s a gamble — what are the odds that we’ll “win” (reach the revelation point), and if so, how valuable is the payoff this show will give us. Doing that math, this show isn’t worth the investment, even in the summer when the lack of quality programming makes the “cost” of viewing time cheap.

Published in: on June 2, 2007 at 1:36 am  Leave a Comment  

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