Season 1 Episode 1

Pilot - A Love of a Lifetime

Aired Monday 10:00 PM Sep 24, 2007 on NBC

Episode Fan Reviews (38)

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  • A good start, but will it be enough?

    When it comes to televised science fiction, very little is new and innovative. Most shows begin with ideas sprung from classic mythology or well-known concepts. Even the most enduring icons of the small screen are derivative: think "Star Trek" or "X-Files". Developing a series with a classic like "Quantum Leap" in mind is hardly a negative, especially if the details can be tweaked.

    The premise of "Journeyman" is fairly simple. The "Quantum Leap" concept is still at the core: Dan Vassar is involuntarily pulled through time to help people in the past. There are two key differences, however, that make the concept more interesting. First, there's no guidance from an outside agency to tell him what to do when he moves through time. And second, he still lives in the present day, so he's under enormous pressure to explain his sudden absences.

    Layered within this framework is a complicated love triangle. Dan was once engaged to a lovely young woman named Livia. Livia died in a plane crash, leaving Dan in something of a personal tailspin. Subsequently, he wound up marrying Katie, who happened to be his brother Jack's paramour. Jack is now a detective, which makes Dan's situation a lot worse. Adding to the complication is his young son Zack, who really wants his father to be stable, and an undisclosed but oft-referenced addiction problem at some point in the marriage.

    Every time Dan takes an unexpected trip into the past, he runs into Livia and the trappings of his old life. The temptation factor is high, especially since Livia doesn't recognize anything unusual about Dan (like the fact he's older, attributed to "being tired"). On the other hand, Dan is trying to keep his marriage together, which is facilitated by a well-constructed scene at the end of the episode. This personal layer should help keep the mystery-of-the-week elements from becoming too mundane.

    This is a very important consideration, because the first half of the pilot is a bit clumsy and average. A mixture of dialogue and editing deficiencies are at play. Characters don't seem to react as one would expect, specifically to introduce the conflicts that need to play out. This is standard dramatic license, but it's also very familiar, and that could be a drawback.

    Thankfully, there's a twist in the second half of the episode that should serve to complicate the plot in several exciting ways. That twist grabbed my attention and left me considering the possibilities, which is clearly the intention. It creates a connection between the plot and character elements that could overcome the conventional aspects of the first half and bring viewers back for more.

    In the end, "Journeyman" is a capable enough start for a new series, but there's the lingering doubt over its ability to succeed in the post-"Heroes" timeslot. NBC appears to be having the same issue that ABC has had with "Lost". Viewers of both headline shows tend to ignore whatever comes after it in the schedule. After the high-speed antics of "Heroes", "Journeyman" could feel a bit sluggish and might falter, and that would be unfortunate.