If you seek gripping science fiction about a team of agents literally leading double lives, then binge-watch "Travelers." The show makes you want to join the journey of its intense and likable agents, who protect future earth while following difficult protocols designed to limit their impact.
Year it began: 2016
Where it can be seen: Netflix
Who’s in it: Eric McCormack, MacKenzie Porter, Nesta Cooper, Jared Abrahamson, Reilly Dolman and Patrick Gilmore
Typical episode length: 45 minutes
Number of episodes to date: 24
Brief plot description: Time-travelers from the distant future have come to the contemporary Pacific Northwest to prevent the destruction of humanity. Travelers acquire bodies by uploading their consciousness into someone about to die, which minimizes their alteration of the future.
Why it’s worth watching: "Travelers" offers moody, absorbing science fiction with a talented cast of sympathetic characters. With its unique twist on the science-fiction cliché of agents from a dystopian future improving the future by altering the past, "Travelers" generates a melancholy atmosphere by showing individuals adjusting to the strange sensation of inhabiting others’ lives and bodies.
Both the main and supporting cast are excellent, with especially strong emotional chemistry connecting the traveler team. McCormack is outstanding as the team leader, who takes over the life of FBI agent Grant MacLaren. MacLaren must negotiate the pressures of following orders from the future while working with his talented and ethical FBI partner Walt Forbes (Arnold Pinnock), and must also shift between MacLaren’s wife and his lover from the future.
There are many other excellent performances. Porter plays wonderfully kind and intensely determined Marcy Warton, a doctor who takes over both a woman’s body and the friendship of her loyal and dignified social worker David Mailer (Gilmore). Cooper is fierce tactician Carly Shannon, who must deal with life as a single mother stalked by an abusive and predatory policeman husband. Dolman’s Philip Pearson projects deep sadness as the team’s historian and hacker, struggling both with his knowledge of widespread death and his host’s heroin addiction.
One performance encapsulates the time-traveler’s special insight: Abrahamson is spectacular as the engineer who takes over the body of troubled high-school quarterback Trevor Holden. Bringing surprising dignity to Trevor’s new life, Abrahamson vividly conveys the joys of both indulging sensual pleasures and sharing the wisdom of one who has seen much sorrow.