Talking Television and Values.

Posts Tagged ‘science fiction’

Journeyman SciFi Storyline; Real Life Stories

Posted by Travis R Grant on October 30, 2007

I haven’t written in a while, because it seems that when I write something positive about a show it turns out that the next episode makes what a wrote a lie. I have have been tempted to write about Journeyman for several weeks now.

Actually, my first temptation was after episode one. Not because the show itself was outstanding. While the characters, writing, direction, and premise is interesting and entertaining. My motivation to write was based on its marriage-friendly theme.

Take a minute right now and think of a current show that portrays one of the main characters as happily married and is working to keep it that way, or at the least shows no signs of ending the marriage. Of the roughly 45 dramas on the 5 networks that are broadcast in my area. I can only come up with six or seven.

The first and perhaps most obvious example is the Seventh Heaven which I am counting because it is rumored to be going into its 12th season. Then there is the new CW family show Life is Wild. Third, we have Friday Night Lights, but I am not sure that Coach Taylor (Kyle Chandler) can be considered the main character. There is also the marriage of Law and Order: SVU‘s Detective Stabler (Christopher Meloni) which has struggled in the past, but they are working to put it back together. Next we have the Unit, where Jonas Blane (Dennis Haysbert) has a committed and loving relationship with Molly (Regina Taylor). While I might have missed one ore two, I am going to end this list with Journeyman.

The first three shows are teenager-oriented dramas, which typically have some stable parents. I don’t mean that to discount them, but simply to categorize them. SVU, The Unit and Journeyman, however, are the only three dramas specifically geared towards adults that portray marriage as something worth pursuing. That is six out of 45 (13% for those who don’t want to get out their calculators).  Only 3 (7%) if these are directed to adult audiences.

In a world where we falsely believe that 50% of marriage succeed (the marriage success rate is actually higher), you would think that a medium that claims to paint the picture of society might actually have more married couples. However, it doesn’t and I think that it adds to many of our myths about marriage and our societies value of marriage.

Journeyman has become my favorite new show of the season because it shows that even in difficult times, marriage can succeed. It takes work, but it can succeed.

The premise of the show is that Dan Vasser (Kevin McKidd) is suddenly transported back in time. However, when he returns he loses the time spent in the past. Thus, if he spends 2 hours in 1993, he will be missing in 2007 for 2 hours.

Not sure what is happening to himself, Vasser doesn’t tell his wife, Katie (Gretchen Egolf), about the trips. Eventually he tells her, and the marital problems are resolved. But this is only the beginning of the problems. While in the past he finds out that his long lost love Livia Beale (Moon Bloodgood) is also a time traveler.

So, is this love spark to be rekindled? So far, no. While there are temptations and some original interest, Ultimately, Dan chooses fidelity over passion. Not every episode is completely about the marriage, there is a definite theme that marriage can succeed no matter what the problems are.

This is the type of message we need in television. One of the things I love about Science Fiction is that it often address of the issues of today by removing us from the issue directly and talking about it somewhat covertly. While more overt than most science fiction, Journeyman is a great discussion of values, family, and marriage.

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