There are hundreds of shows on TV right now, and no human being could watch everything. Now, cognizant of the fact that everyone has different tastes, I sometimes have trouble recommending shows to others because I’m also limited to what shows I myself watch (and that’s already a lot of TV). But I thought it would be fun to do a few suggestion posts and talk about some shows that you might not be watching and are actually missing out on. (And I need people to talk to about these shows!)
Cast: Aaron Stanford, Amanda Schull, Noah Bean, Kirk Acevedo, Barbara Sukowa, Emily Hampshire
Executive Producers: Terry Matalas, Travis Fickett, Natalie Chaidez
# of Episodes (As of Posting): 8
Show in a Nutshell: In 2043, most of the world’s population has died from a viral outbreak. James Cole (Stanford) is tasked with traveling back time to get rid of the virus before it kills us all.
Why You Should Be Watching: TIME TRAVEL!! Okay, so maybe that’s one of the reasons I’m watching because I love the idea of time travel and how it affects timeline and structure. And frankly, I love a good mind f**k (pardon my language), trying to comprehend what’s going on. The fact of the matter is, time travel is tricky business, and though there may not be an inherently wrong way to tackle it, I think it’s safe to say that it can be met with varying degrees of success. 12 Monkeys though, does right by the concept, layering the importance of each jump through time and how it affects (or sometimes doesn’t affect) the future.
Amidst all the time jumping, the characters and relationships are a very important aspect of what makes the show work. When Cole jumps back to 2015, he works with Dr. Cassandra Railly (Schull) to uncover the mystery of the Army of the 12 Monkeys. In 2043, Cole’s allies include his friend/”brother” Jose Ramse (Acevedo) and Katrina Jones (Sukowa), the creator of the time machine that sends Cole back through time. When you watch and see how all the pieces fit together, the importance of Cole’s relationships helps to define who he is as a character and what he’s trying to do in terms of the bigger picture of getting rid of the virus. That’s not to say all the other characters aren’t compelling on their own when not interacting with Cole, because they absolutely are. The writers on the show have done a wonderful job balancing the science fiction of it all, with really important character building/development for everyone involved. For a freshman show to dedicate and put effort into showing us what all these characters are about (not just Cole and Cassie, but also Ramse, Jones, Bean’s Aaron Marker, Hampshire’s Jennifer Goines, Todd Stashwick’s Deacon, and even Tom Noonan’s creepy Pallid Man) is kind of rare. Even if we don’t see some of the characters a lot, you quickly get a sense of who they are and that’s truly a testament to the writers’ abilities to make the audience feel things for these characters in a short amount of time.
Bottom line: It’s science fiction by way of compelling storytelling. The amazing actors involved are just a bonus (says the Nikita, Center Stage, and Fringe fangirl). You want a sci-fi show that has a good mix of geekery, action, drama, mystery, and intrigue? Watch 12 Monkeys. You just want a damn good show? WATCH 12 MONKEYS.
12 Monkeys airs on Syfy, Fridays at 9.