If you were a fan of NBC’s time travel series Timeless, then you remember that it was a roller coaster marriage. The first season was originally going to be 13 episodes, but while filming, NBC raised its order by three to have it run 16 episodes. Then shortly after the first season ended, the network canceled the series, only to renew it three days later for a shortened ten-episode season. As that season ended, NBC once again canceled the series, but revealed they were considering wrapping up the series with a two-hour movie. While fans were doubtful it would actually happen, NBC shocked everyone about a month after the cancellation by deciding to reward the fans with a two-hour movie finale, which concluded the series at the end of 2018.
While the finale did a fantastic job resolving the big storylines of the series (props to creators Shawn Ryan and Eric Kripke), if you were a fan of the show it was bittersweet. Sure we got a great ending, but this was one of those shows that had the potential for more. After all, you had a great central cast (Abigail Spencer, Matt Lanter, and Malcolm Barrett), the ability to time travel, and showcasing historical events in a fun way. I would have followed this gang of adventurers wherever they went.
I recently landed an extended interview with Eric Kripke for his awesome Amazon series The Boys, but before we talked about that show, I brought up Timeless. The main thing I wanted to know about Timeless was if the series was really over. While I expected him to say the ship has sailed, or something else that put the final nail in the coffin, he actually did the opposite. Kripke said:
“There is always the possibility of more TV movies. I know the actors are game to do it. Shawn (Ryan) and I, I can’t say we’ve talked about it a lot, but we’ve chatted back and forth in emails and said, ‘One of these days we should try and get another Timeless TV movie going.’ We don’t have any immediate plans for it. Everyone’s busy and working on all their various projects. One day it might happen.”
While I know it’s a longshot we might ever get another TV movie, if they make it, I’ll tune in.
In addition, Kripke and I also talked about Revolution, which was a post-apocalyptic science-fiction series that ran for two seasons on NBC from 2012 to 2014. The show took place in the year 2027, about fifteen years after a permanent worldwide blackout. The series explored what happened and how the world changed.
As a fan of the series, I always felt like they had a great idea that was killed by trying to pull off too many episodes in its first season (20). Unfortunately, this is what kills many network shows. While a sitcom or a procedural can pull off twenty-something episodes a year, high concept stuff needs less so the storylines can be stronger to keep people invested. Also, writing any series is difficult. But writing something loaded with mysteries that you want to slowly reveal is a whole different beast. Recently, the networks have learned less is more, but back in 2012, that wasn’t the case.
After talking Timeless, Kripke and I got into Revolution and high-concept network shows. Check out what he had to say in the player below and look for more from our interview soon.
- Does he think Timeless is over?
- Why can’t more series get a TV movie after the shows have ended?
- One of the big challenges is trying to put together a writer’s room, the actor’s schedules, and having the budget to build sets for a two-hour movie.
- What will it take for the networks to realize doing too many episodes of a high concept series like Revolution in the first year does more damage than good?