Cast :- Amanda Schull, Aaron Stanford, Emily Hampshire, Kirk Acevedo
Genre :- Sci-fi, Time Travel, Thriller
There’s a certain genre of cinematography that blows my mind and shoots my creative gut right in the head every single time. And this genre is mostly of time travel themed TV shows/movies. So far there haven’t been any exceptions – Predestination, timeless, Project Almanac and a lot of others.
There is something about the element of time, how it unfolds in a mysterious manner where past/present/future are all entwined which just makes you go gasping for air every now and then. And this show is no different.
I want to tell you a story about how the world ends, of a man sent back in time to save it.
So, 12 monkeys is based off of a 1995 movie of the same title and sort of the same concept with an extension to it’s story in the show. The show has completed two seasons and out for a renewed third season. It is based on a man named James Cole (Aaron Stanford) who travels back from 2044 to 2015 to get a hold of Dr. Cassandra Railly(Amanda Schull) who in the future drops a recording at the end of her life to warn Cole to stop a pandemic plague from wiping out the human race. The series follows his adventures throughout time and how he manages to foil the plans of the main villain – The Witness and his army of 12 monkeys.
That is the plot of most of the show with a progressing storyline and facts about the working of time which I can only expect any person to understand if they watch it completely. And frankly I would like you to see it rather than read it.
Now, let’s review elements of the show in a non-spoiler manner. The main mind boggling element of the time travel genre is it’s alignment of events throughout the progress of it’s cinematography. It’s different from the flashbacks that we are used to in general manner. You can have a person reeling from a disastrous event that he/she may have caused it themselves and only with time the viewer and in some cases the viewer themselves get to know of the disaster they have caused (Yes, it’s a hint to Predestination.)
You have events across the series where you have characters mentioning having met Cole or how he hurt them and Cole doesn’t remember it because in his situation he hasn’t done it yet. And as the series progresses you see he does what the man he had the encounter with told him about and he himself is shocked and so are you. You see a lot of characters that are purely based on events in a causality loop so as the Child is the grandmother who is transported back in time to give birth to her mother etc. (yeah it happens a lot)
The story from the movie fades away following the events of a first few episodes of season 2 and it moves on to extend into the functioning of time. Most sci-fi movies are scripted into the grey areas of science’s guess work. You have Nolan chasing a new dimension in the centre of the black hole in Interstellar or Peter Bishop crossing into a parallel universe in Fringe but the truth of the fact is questions can’t be raised because people can’t really explain what happens if what the characters on screen do were to happen in real life. Now the factor of explaining a fictional working of an unknown element of science needs to be very strongly backed by logic and reasoning which may not always come across as acceptable to a person like me who questions logic in such scenarios. The show chases the concept of the working of Time and it’s link to group of people spread out throughout history in the form of Primaries – individuals who are like the screws in the gears of time, if you paradox a primary i.e is kill him or her by material that was found in his/her remains in a different time zone such as a sharp bone, you could rupture the fabric of time bringing on the red forest. The red forest being a place where disturbed time ceases to exist due to explosion of temporal anomalies and there is no death for there is no time. Now, how does time have a relation to a person? If it does should it not be linked to all the people and not just a select few? There arise a lot of unanswered questions but I swept it under the rug because the show doused it in an array of other elements something that happens a lot in movies/tv shows these days. But the show does pull of other elements with accuracy which shows like DC’s legends of tomorrow – a time travelling horrible show can’t even come close to. For instance they deal with phenomenal sensitivity the fact that same matter cannot occupy the same space at the same time a.k.a. the paradox or how James Cole who is from a post – apocalyptic future doesn’t recognise significant elements from 2015 such as 911 which every kid in the present knows of or how they know that staying in another time zone with different era clothes can raise alarms and relishes all the delicacies in a world before all the death etc.
There is a thing I have for movies in which they don’t show the antagonist element until and unless it’s necessary. For eg. in a horror movie the movie remains interesting as long as the ghost isn’t shown but once it is I have lost all interest and it’s all a game of anticipating the peek – a – boo. The element of anticipating the antagonist is now out of the picture. The villain and the red forest he communicates with are very interesting elements and somethings that give the villain an enigmatic persona. Of course, it doesn’t have an as big budget as most other shows and not quite as popular but I loved it.
So, to summarise I loved the show (If it hasn’t been evident enough from my constant ranting on how good the show was). I liked how the show remained true to the original movie and how it progressed on it’s own storyline evolving from the movie something that not all depictions of a movie on the silver screen have completely been successful at, such as Limitless. The masked villain called the witness has very large logic tree that keeps him vague in character and his plans too. Every second you think the protagonist has given the villain a major setback you see that it’s just a slight hurdle in his significantly larger game plan. The fact that they have been able to hide the villain for so long and so well, just blew me away. I also loved the fact that you pretty much get where the main character Cole will end up later in the season from a few episodes back but the suspense doesn’t get diluted there – it keeps building up until you see him reach where he was mentioned having been a while ago. The show also chases the story of all it’s characters and how their personal life plays out to get the plot to where it is, was just amazing to watch. I don’t think in recent times I have seen something quite as temporally interesting as this even though I have watched close to 40 TV shows altogether (Movies are different as they have a bigger budget and highly skilled people working on them.)
The show hasn’t yet announced the 3rd seasons airing date yet but if I were you I wouldn’t let that bother my binge watch schedule and actually watch it. My review has been vague for the show is very interesting and lengthy to be explained in such a short review.
My Rating – Asphixiatingly suprising