NBC quoted low ratings and played the ‘writers strike’ card to cancel Journeyman.
After the series got cut off at the 13 episode mark, viewers were left in the dark as to where the story was headed. This was particularly annoying since a few different strands of story were developing during the shortened season.
The creator of Journeyman – Kevin Falls, in an interview over on AICN had the opportunity to let some of his plans for Dan Vasser out of the bag. Though this sounds like a good thing, the down side to this is that the interview wasn’t going to hit the ‘net until they knew for sure that we wouldn’t be seeing any more of Dan Vasser…
Here’s where the show would have gone had it stayed on the air…
Katie and Dan were going to split up for a while. Jack (Dan’s brother) and Dan were going to live together and then Dan and Katie would get back together.
Livia (Dan’s time traveling ex-fiancée from 1948) was going to die in episode 20. Dan was going to save her in 21. And in episode 22, Dan would come back to his house in the present and find someone else would be living there. Katie (his wife) and Zack (his son) would be gone and this time Dan would have no idea how to get his family back.
The end game of the series would have had some of the key people Dan had helped in “the past” coming together in a “Rube Goldberg-inspired climax” kind of ending for a big save on a bigger storyline involving everyone. That would have been neat to see.
Through it all, there was something bigger than the government that was tossing Dan and the other travelers around time. The underlying reasons for the time travel leaned towards a good purpose.
Livia’s original travel purpose was to get Katie and Dan together, but then the writers felt that Livia was keeping some secret from Dan that was huge and tragic.
Livia only went forward in time and Dan backward because they each had a specific and separate purpose. One of the side affects was the tragi-romantic notion of Dan and Livia never being able to live in the same time.
Sooner or later in 2008, Dan would have encountered an elderly Livia.
That would have been a great tale to watch unfold.
Kevin Falls went on to lament that he wasn’t so much bitter towards NBC as he was towards the mainstream critics who dismissed the show without a second nod (Screen Rant not included, since we loved the series). He felt they were doing some of the best television out there at the time and he was right.
When I first tuned in, I was lamenting about yet another show that NBC wanted me to jump on board with. I was a bit resistant to the new show. But after watching that first episode I knew something was different about this series.
In that first episode of Journeyman, when Dan proved to his wife what was happening to him, his approach to proving his dilemma seemed so logical. That, combined with her ever slowly developing acceptance of the situation showed a mature, reasonable approach to a higher quality of character development that didn’t instantly resolve everything, but used situations and time to answer and resolve different situations.
Ah, a quality show. That was a refreshing change.
Falls also evidenced gratitude towards the online community, saying their support gave them the reason to keep it strong in the second half of the season, despite the fairly certain realization where things were headed with the show.
The cast of NBC’s Journeyman
As we’ve mentioned before, the writing was great, a planned out storyline helped and it was amazing how they wove the fabric of the human angle on the storyline dealing with the drama, stress and tragedy of a family with a time traveling father / husband. All the while, he still had to struggle to keep his job in a tough competitive newspaper industry as it was.
Some say that NBC pulled a “Fox” on this one, or that it was sounding like a Quantum Leap show. Sure, you can say that if it makes you feel better. Me, I like blaming NBC’s historical failure at presenting Sci-Fi.
I think the problem was that people never gave it a chance. Critics panned the first episode or so and like Falls said, never gave it a second look. Advertisers had their own issues, whatever those might be. Maybe they should learn what to advertise during specific shows rather than forcing a commodity on the wrong genre fans. Helllooo?
A big thanks to AICN for their insightful interview, even though it looks like it may have closed this chapter in the Journeyman saga. For many viewers this will be evidence of yet another failure to retain quality TV by the network.
Now I’m ticked all over again and I feel one of my editorial moods coming on, to be filed away for a future post…