Don’t call me on Fridays – I’m busy. In fact, I’m busy all the way till 2043. That’s when James Cole (played by Aaron Stanford) originates as he travels back to 2015 to visit Dr. Cassandra Railly (played by Amanda Schull) to stop a plague that decimates the future. It is freaking brilliant television.
Here’s the first season to date in a nutshell. In the future, remnants of humanity have found a way to send a man back in time to stop a plague that kills off nearly everybody on the planet. Cole (the traveller) is instructed to go to Dr. Cassandra Railly, who not only was a scientist who tried to find a cure, but was the one who left a message for Cole to come find her in the first place. The first clue to the plague’s origin comes from a sign they find implicating the Army of the Twelve Monkeys. The series tracks events through Cole’s point of view, so the story jumps from 2043 (his time) to 2015 (Cassandra’s time) to whenever other time he visits, with a few flashbacks along the way. Time travel has the potential to be very messy and confusing but don’t worry because Terry Matalas and Travis Fickett handle it all masterfully.
What I like about this show:
1. There’s a plague, but no zombies. I hate zombies.
2. Time travel. More importantly, time travel done well. I haven’t found any real anachronisms yet, and that is rare. Also, the split story lines are well-integrated. They aren’t complete separate so you only care about half of the players. Fickett and Matalas know what they are doing.
3. Great casting. I’ve been a fan of Aaron Stanford since Traveler. Amanda Schull, Barbara Sukowa, Noah Bean and Emily Hampshire are new to me but are rockin’ it. It’s great to see Demore Barnes again after The Unit. And then there is Kirk Avevedo. (SPOILER ALERT – Kirk, at one point I may have yelled at the television “You had better not be permanently dead!” but I think that was half for Ramse and half for your characters on Fringe and Band of Brothers. Thank you for surviving.)
4. It’s well paced. Every scene has a purpose and (so far) I haven’t seen any storylines being dropped without being resolved. Of course I have my preferred story arcs to follow but the other plotlines never drag. There’s always lots of action, forward momentum, and if there is an unexpected plot twist I’ve learned that I can trust 12 Monkeys to deliver on it and not keep me hanging indefinitely.
5. It’s already been renewed for a second season, so I don’t have to worry about losing the best new show of 2015. (In the US, 12 Monkeys airs on SyFy, but up in Canada we get it on Showcase.)