It’s About Time

It’s likely that time travel has fascinated people for centuries. I mean, who among us hasn’t wished we could go back and do something over, even if it was just one conversation or decision? If only time travel were possible, we could make so many different choices!

When I think about time travel material, my mind inevitably lands on Back to the Future, the “modern” film classic that debuted in 1985 and was first in a trilogy featuring Marty McFly (played by Canadian actor Michael J. Fox). You can pick up parts I and III or the three-volume 30th anniversary set at WPL. And, if you do decide to watch it, don’t forget to strap on your capacitor!

But did you know that before Back to the Future there was the short-lived television series, Voyagers? Running only one season (1982-83), the show starred Jon-Erik Hexum as Phineas Bogg, part of a society of time travellers who used a hand-held device called an Omni to travel back and forth through time to make sure history (as we know it) stayed on track.

And after Back to the Future was another popular series called Quantum Leap, which aired from 1989-1993. Here, actor Scott Bakula as Dr. Sam Beckett time travelled to correct historical errors while his trusty sidekick, Al (played by Dean Stockwell), appeared to him as a hologram.

From 1995-2000 Sliders presented a different take on the subject, transporting travellers through a wormhole to parallel universes during the same time period. The sliders’ goal was to safely return to Earth Prime, but in the meanwhile they learned about alternate Earths and unwittingly became involved in events that had to be resolved before they could “slide” again. Jerry O’Connell and John Rhys-Davies were probably the two most prominent actors to appear in the series, which also had a Canadian connection with the first two seasons filmed in British Columbia.

Phew! That’s a lot of time-travelling and we’re not quite done! My husband and I are enjoying the new series Timeless, which first aired in 2016 and stars Abigail Spencer, Matt Lanter and Malcolm Barrett. Historian (Lucy), soldier (Wyatt) and scientist (Rufus) are tasked with stopping a sinister group known as Rittenhouse from changing history to serve their own nefarious purposes. The three travel in a “lifeboat,” jumping to different points in time, following the movements of the stolen mother-ship. What happens when things don’t go quite as planned…? [As a point of trivia, when NBC said it would drop the show after one season, ardent fans convinced the network to bring it back. I, for one, was relieved and thrilled.] The plot is fascinating and so are the historical periods visited by the characters. [NBC had better bring it back for Season 3!]

You’ll be happy to know that WPL owns or has ordered all of the above series on DVD. Visit the catalogue now (using the title links above) to see what is in or what you need to place on hold!

— Susan B.

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