John Walker's Electronic House

Traveler – ABC

by on Jun.02, 2007, under Television

A Summer show tends to mean it wasn’t even good enough for a mid-season pick up, but they had the episodes, so they might as well show them. Traveler, from its first episode, seems surprisingly reasonable.

Three recent university graduates, at least two of them comfortably rich, the other a new lawyer, are on a Kerouac-inspired road trip, beginning in New York. Visiting an art museum, they agree to race from the top to the bottom on rollerblades. But what’s this, the guy filming them on his camcorder is looking a bit shifty. The front two race off and he lingers behind. A fire alarm goes off, the two on the blades are being chased by a security guard, and they slip out through the crowds. Outside they phone the third friend who asks if they got out, then apologises, then a bomb blows up the art museum.

So we’ve got ourselves a terrozritz situation, and some unlucky suspects. Immediately their faces are on the news, and the fear sets in. Oh noes, I thought – they’re going to refuse to ring the police for a spurious reason, aren’t they? And thus the set up begins, one shouting that they should call the police, the other saying they shouldn’t because of the… because of the monsters and you know mumble.

BUT! Shock, horror, first guy wins and immediately phones the FBI. He explains everything, explains about his friend, and asks for help! Goodness me. Then the twist arrives as the other guy’s dad tells him that it’s a set up, that they’ve got to get out of Manhattan and fast. They can’t trust the police, and they know it for sure. Justified running, rather than the tiresome: “If they’d only go and say something they’d be fine” nonsense that plagues so many of these ideas.

And so off they run, surrounded by conspiracies, discovering that their friend is not who he claims. Twists and turns, lots of the police shouting, “What’s your 20?”, and the runners being decently smart rather than useless morons.

It’s fairly rubbish still, with some of the most awful exposition I’ve ever seen. (One character informs the others what their jobs are one at a time). But maybe some hope? We’ll see.

1 Comment for this entry

  • Mrs Trellis

    I saw the premiere in the US. I even tolerated the constant ad-breaks because I was actually gripped. Like the bastard offspring of Lost and 24.