They say you shouldn’t burn your bridges. I especially don’t want to burn any before I make them (as I hope to write for working TV shows at some point). But I am extremely disappointed in NBC. It may be the #1 Network in the US, but I won’t be watching much of anything on it this upcoming season.
Not after they cancelled my favorite show, Timeless. In this world of political divisiveness and whitewashing in Hollywood (not to mention gender representations in film and television — dammit Scarlett Johansson, stop with the controversy!), Timeless offered the world real representation.
The show had prominent white, black, Asian, LGBTQ+, and female characters.
When the Smithsonian is writing posts about how impactful you are for showcasing diversity and telling riveting tales, you’re doing something right. Plenty of fans around the world loved the show, with regular blog posts and Twitter hashtags (#Timeless, #SaveTimeless, #Clockblockers, #SaveRufus). Indeed, even three months after the season (now series) finale the show is still blowing it up on social media. Come on NBC, how great is that for your show. Not enough, sadly.
The Timeless Writers Room Twitter handle was very active and engaging with the fans — even sending out deleted scenes and script pages (a great way to study the craft!) — as were many of the individual writers, actors, and producers themselves (bless you everyone involved). Everyone working on the show seemed to really love it, and the fans.
The point is, the show is good. It dealt with (mostly) American history in a fun, entertaining way. Not to mention relatively historically accurate — that’s what you get for having an historian as a staff writer (thanks David Hoffman for making my dream job a reality). And it didn’t shy away from the issues that tend to get passed over in most textbooks or classrooms. Things like racism, sexism, sexual identity, and economic troubles.
As an historian I knew a lot of the history and people the show spotlighted every week, but on occasion even I was surprised and learned things. Other people loved the lessons, as well.
It’s one of the few TV shows that has a 100% Fresh Rating on Rotten Tomatoes (as of time of writing). Critics and fans alike loved the show. Which, sadly, wasn’t enough to save it for a Season 3, from being cancelled again.
Apparently it didn’t make enough money. And that, sadly, is what NBC, at the moment, was about. Look, I get it, it’s show business — emphasis on the business. It’s all about the money. But with distribution rights and fees and things the show wasn’t that much of a loss (if any) for the network. They just weren’t making enough of it. Which is sad, because they were making excellent shows and informing their audience about little-known (or studied) aspects of the world. It was about people from different walks of life, with different skills, coming together for the better for everyone.
My hope for the show, despite a fantastic fan push including a petition to help change the fate, is a movie. It’s a longshot, I know. But if there’s anything the show has shown me, it’s that a group of dedicated people can change the world when they work together. Thanks #Timeless fandom and fellow #Clockblockers, let’s try to keep the dream alive.