12 Monkeys: Pilot
January 16, 2015 9:27 PM - Season 1, Episode 1 - Subscribe

27 years after a virus wipes out most of humanity, scientists send a man back to 2015 to stop the plague from ever happening. Cole's only lead is a virologist, who knows the dangerous source of the outbreak.
posted by DevilsAdvocate (13 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
That was.. better than I expected. The thing with the watches at the end made me roll my eyes a bit, and the dialogue was contrived, but I'll give it another go next week.
posted by sacrifix at 10:59 PM on January 16, 2015 [1 favorite]

I didn't know this was even going to be a thing until I stumbled across it this morning.
I watched, with no expectations except that it would amuse me through my coffee drinking and was pleasantly surprised. I quite enjoyed it.
posted by Jalliah at 8:31 AM on January 17, 2015 [1 favorite]

The 12 Monkeys movie gave the me way I categorize all time travel movies now -- does it follow the 12 Monkeys rules or Back to the Future rules? Can the time traveller alter the past BttF style, or is there only one timeline ever and no changing it because the time traveller was always where & when they were the first and only time through?

I figured that it was supremely unlikely that a 12 Monkeys tv-series could follow the movie rules -- on logistics alone there's no way that an hour-long weekly show could plan ahead far enough to maintain that kind of continuity, they'd write themselves into a paradox corner eventually. And I'm pretty sure I wouldn't want to watch a weekly show that was as unrelentingly linear as the 12 Monkeys movie, for a show I need there to be some hope of a happy ending.

I thought the pilot threw a lot of time-travel movie tropes into the blender (the 'no two objects in the same space' rule from Timecop, the moving in slowed time bit seemed right out of Trancers) but it was entertaining. I don't know how long they can sustain it, most every "we must avert the apocalypse" show I've watched eventually goes out with a whimper, as the writers have to keep avoiding the averting in order to have another season. But we'll see.
posted by oh yeah! at 10:13 AM on January 17, 2015 [4 favorites]

I thought this was much better than one could expect from it, given syfy's poor track record. I also really have respect for how cheaply made it was. There's really no big recurring set other than the one with Cole's time chair. It did lay all the cards on the table right in the first episode, and left plenty for them to delve into for a series. They gave us a lot of exposition and set it up very well.

It's pretty much what a sci-fi fan should expect from a good time travel show. The show runners have experience with Terminator:SCC, so this isn't their first merry-go-round.
posted by Catblack at 10:24 AM on January 17, 2015 [2 favorites]

Didn't expect much, but I watch all of SyFy's pilots because even when they suck, they suck pretty entertainingly.

And this didn't suck. In fact it's got a decent base to build a good series from. I'm in for a few more eps, at least.
posted by eyeballkid at 12:30 PM on January 17, 2015 [1 favorite]

Hey, it's Shane and LesserBerkoff.

Well, the show could be worse, you're not wrong there.
posted by Ik ben afgesneden at 9:40 PM on January 17, 2015 [1 favorite]

Gotta say, I was pleasantly surprised by this one, and look forward to seeing if they can hold it together for a regular season of shows. I was heartened by the general lack of overt mayhem and violence, too (though there was some.) I'll be very disappointed if the series falls back to resolving most conflicts with fistfights or gunplay.

One point I didn't quite understand...When Cole is shot in the alley and then leaps back to his time, why didn't they fix his wound before sending him back to 2015? He didn't jump straight from the alley to 2015, right? They later show that when Cole disappears (I forget the term for it) he goes straight back to his future. I get that things are bad in his future, but I have to think there's still some semblance of medical knowledge available to repair your one and only time traveler.

I'm a sucker for time-travel stories, so I'll definitely be watching this one.
posted by Thorzdad at 5:12 AM on January 18, 2015 [2 favorites]

He told her when to expect him again, so I retcon that this was part of a 'two-stage jump' (a term I just invented). They set up two jumps ahead of time so he could tell the doctor that. Problem is, it's like a nonrefundable airline ticket - once you got your itinerary, that's where you're going.

As an aside, I love how both characters are. Puts them on an even footing.
posted by Mogur at 6:40 AM on January 18, 2015 [4 favorites]

...how both characters are damaged. Arg, missing word.
posted by Mogur at 7:21 AM on January 18, 2015

most every "we must avert the apocalypse" show I've watched eventually goes out with a whimper, as the writers have to keep avoiding the averting in order to have another season

This is very true, however... this is one of the ballsiest and most interesting parts of this particular show's setup and hardly anyone seems to be talking about it: the apocalypse is only two years in the future. The series is not only set up to allow them to dodge it so that can drag things out, it's actually coming up right quick, relatively, and the show seems destined to face it head on.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 11:12 AM on January 18, 2015 [2 favorites]

A couple of other quick thoughts:

-The show was originally pitched as an original concept, Splinter, and--either because SyFy noticed it was similar to 12 Monkeys or because the network thought that it would be easier to sell (or possibly both)--was reworked into a 12 Monkeys reboot.
-I've liked Stanford for a long time, since seeing him in the Canadian film retrofit of Rigoletto, Rick. He had a bit of a diffident weaseliness to his look in his younger years that maybe sold him short in some ways (though it served him well in X-Men) but he's grown into his face now and he comes off more as weary than snotty. I think he's a great choice.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 11:17 AM on January 18, 2015 [1 favorite]

Not sure if it was for the pilot episode, but they did some location shooting for this show in the bar next door to my apartment. Years before, exterior shots of the same bar were used in Due South.
posted by sevenyearlurk at 5:49 PM on January 18, 2015

That was pretty good. I hope they can keep it up.
posted by homunculus at 10:07 PM on January 21, 2015

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