The Department of Time: El tiempo es el que es. (Time is what it is.)   First Watch 
May 1, 2018 8:11 AM - Season 1, Episode 1 - Subscribe

El Ministerio del Tiempo (The Ministry of Time) is the best kept secret of the Spanish state: an autonomous government institution whose patrols guard the doors of time and preserve Spain's past. Now, the Ministry's newest recruits: an Army of Flanders soldier from 1956, (Alonso de Entrerríos,) a female college student from 1880 (Amelia Folch) and a modern day SAMUR paramedic (Julián Martínez,) must prevent two Frenchmen in 1808 from altering a war's outcome.
posted by zarq (16 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
The show is now on Netflix.

This is a First Watch thread. Please do not discuss spoilers from future episodes.
posted by zarq at 8:11 AM on May 1, 2018


Muchas gracias for posting this, hits a sweet spot I didn't know existed, science fiction in espanol with subtitles! Even the good telenovelas are essentially soaps with soaplike themes.
posted by sammyo at 5:49 PM on May 1, 2018 [4 favorites]


Yes, thanks for posting - I had added the show to my queue already, but what with all the other shows I'm following, hadn't gotten around to starting it.

Can anyone explain the thing about who everyone said Alonso looked like? I didn't pause to get the name down so I could do a search for it.
posted by oh yeah! at 8:38 PM on May 1, 2018 [1 favorite]


Also, I couldn't quite grasp from this first episode how the doors work - the logistics, I mean. If the doors always open to the same moment in time, wouldn't that mean every traveler who ever used that door would be showing up at once? That guy who went to the futbol game 40 times through door 58, are all 40 of him visible in the stadium in different places? Or was there something different about that door? When Irene is explaining things to Julián, about how most agents go back to their own time periods when they're done with the day's work - do the doors synch up somehow after use, so that if you go home for X days/hours, the next time back to the Ministerio you show up that many days/hours later?

Not sure if this is something that will be clearer after more episodes, or if this will just be one of those "time travel stories give me headaches" things. But, whatever, it's a fun show.
posted by oh yeah! at 4:48 AM on May 2, 2018 [1 favorite]


Alonso's look alike is cleared up in the next episode. Or google Las aventuras del capitán Alatriste.

One thing I'm really liking is that history is just filthy. The day to day costumes are worn and ragged and just dirty.
posted by sammyo at 6:31 AM on May 2, 2018 [1 favorite]


Also, I couldn't quite grasp from this first episode how the doors work - the logistics, I mean. If the doors always open to the same moment in time, wouldn't that mean every traveler who ever used that door would be showing up at once? That guy who went to the futbol game 40 times through door 58, are all 40 of him visible in the stadium in different places? Or was there something different about that door? When Irene is explaining things to Julián, about how most agents go back to their own time periods when they're done with the day's work - do the doors synch up somehow after use, so that if you go home for X days/hours, the next time back to the Ministerio you show up that many days/hours later?

This is also cleared up in future episodes. I'll describe the mechanics with a made-up example. Hopefully this isn't a spoiler:

Basically, the doors sync up, the way you describe.

So let's say you have Door 208, and it takes you to June 1, 2000 at 1:00 in the afternoon.
24 hours pass in 2016.
Door 208 will now take you to June 2, 2000, at 1:00 in the afternoon.

The synchronization of the doors allows the writers to create a sense of urgency. If you're going to prevent an event that happens at say, 4:30pm on June 1, 2000, you have to leave 2016 by a certain time through door 208 to get there in time. Otherwise, you'd need to travel through a different door, which may be more of a distance away from where you need to be, and/or much further away in time. You might need to go through a different door that's say, 2 years earlier than when you need to be.
posted by zarq at 7:40 AM on May 2, 2018 [2 favorites]


For anyone who is thinking of getting into the series, this is an almost entirely spoiler-free review of the first season:
The soul of the show revolves around three characters from different periods in Spanish history being brought together to work for The Ministry Of Time. The three build a surprisingly strong chemistry too as the episodes progress and their distinct individuality helps to set them apart. The pilot episode begins with a fiery warrior from the 16th century about to be executed, Alonso (Nacho Fresneda), recruited alongside an intelligent, independent woman from the 19th Century, Amelia (Aura Garrido), to work for the mysterious Minstry Of Time. Rounding out the thrio is Julián (Rodolfo Sancho), an emotionally charged paramedic who’s irrational sporadity is spurred on by the death of his wife. Together, they team up to work for a secretive Spanish organisation hiding a labyrinth of doors leading to different periods through history. Their mission is simple – stop other time travellers from disrupting the natural flow of time and trying to change history. The premise is relatively straight forward and this simplicity helps to build up a solid foundation of well paced episodes.

With each episode clocking in at 70 minutes, The Ministry Of Time is quite the time sink with each episode playing out like a feature film. Whilst this sounds excessive, the run time is justified and as the episodes progress, there’s much more emphasis on the individual characters, giving some much needed back story and personality to the three core characters beyond the archetypal tropes they’re given during the pilot episode.

...

Unlike the heavy handed American take on the same sort of concept, Timeless, The Ministry Of Time feels much more realistically depicted and far more grounded thanks to its emphasis on Spanish history. Ministry goes above and beyond too with an impressive array of authentic costumes from the different eras and some really nice establishing shots. The way each time period is presented really gives you a feel for the tone and mood of the era making you feel like you’ve travelled to that time period. Although many of the big scenes generally tend to fall back on dimly lit, moody sets, Ministry Of Time does have a good variety of time periods to play with and manages to mix the aesthetic up just enough to avoid stagnation.

posted by zarq at 7:50 AM on May 2, 2018 [3 favorites]


Muchas gracias for posting this, hits a sweet spot I didn't know existed, science fiction in espanol with subtitles!

¡De nada! I'm really enjoying it. An historical drama with all of history to play with. :)
posted by zarq at 7:51 AM on May 2, 2018


Starting the next episode, just want to say before I forget - loved the guy with the time-door in his barn. The humor in this show seems very unique, or maybe very Spanish? (I can't think of what other Spanish films I've seen, aside from a couple of Pedro Almodóvar's, so, I have no real basis for comparison.) But that bit when the team gives him the letter they were sent back with which you figure is going to be something important/relevant to the mission, and it turns out to be some kind of HR note about not getting his Christmas bonus or something just cracked me up.
posted by oh yeah! at 6:31 PM on May 2, 2018 [1 favorite]


This is a glorious thing for this space time continuum-loving history geek.
posted by Qex Rodriguez at 3:22 PM on May 3, 2018 [1 favorite]


Can anyone explain the thing about who everyone said Alonso looked like?
It's been a while since I watched this episode, and I don't recall who the other characters said he looked like, but every single time he's on screen, I think: Alonso looks like Frank Zappa.
posted by D.Billy at 9:33 AM on May 5, 2018 [2 favorites]


Can anyone explain the thing about who everyone said Alonso looked like?
Captain Alatriste, the central character in a set of novels by Arturo Pérez-Reverte. Alonso later swipes the first book of the series.
posted by fings at 11:07 AM on May 15, 2018 [4 favorites]


I really enjoyed, but I gotta say ZIPPERS ON THE BACK OF A VICTORIAN DRESS?! I get that there is only so much budget, but cover it with a wrap or something. I mean they make a point of saying anachronistic things can be taken out of the mystery but that would be ok?
posted by miss-lapin at 7:12 PM on May 21, 2018 [1 favorite]


Just saw the first two episodes this weekend. Such delight! So much fun! So relieved about the slower paced storytelling tempo. I like this alot.
posted by Rabarberofficer at 7:53 AM on July 9, 2018 [1 favorite]


Just started this myself, and enjoying it greatly. The humour is wonderful (as a civil servant, I can certainly relate to the complaining in the corridor about pay cuts and longer hours, no matter how important the work), and I also love that the time travellers from the past (like Richard Matheson's) do just fine in the present day, being appropriately interested without being too boggled. Except for Facebook, which apparently they love. "Just wait until you see them on social media."
posted by Mogur at 4:46 PM on August 5, 2018


After starting to watch Timeless (rationing out the last few episodes of that) I saw the discussion about this show so we watched it last night. It was good and so unexpectedly funny. We're definitely going to keep going with it. The civil servant grousing about bonuses made me so happy I can't stand it.
posted by PussKillian at 9:41 AM on August 14, 2018


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