I just discovered a tragicallly truncated series, cut down in the bloom of youth as was American Gothic: Journeyman. It’s about a man who involuntarily time travels to the recent past, no earlier than the 1960s, to fix people’s lives gone awry. Guided by his fiancee who supposedly died but really disappeared because she’s a time traveler too, Dan tries to figure out his powers and keep his family together. His wife and son find his unpredictable disappearances rattling, to say the least, and his cop brother suspects him of being mentally unstable. Meanwhile, a rogue FBI agent and an astrophysics professor may know more about time travel and others like Dan than they are letting on.
Grounded by a performance balancing both grit and heart from the understated [and very hot] Kevin McKidd, Journeyman derives much of its power from the tragic irony inherent in the protagonist’s situation. He is surrounded by a close-knit group of loved ones, including his cool, smooth and sexy ex-fiancee Livia [played with calm and witty competence by Moon Bloodgood], his on-edge, brittle, but still devoted wife [played by Gretchen Egolf], his pig-headed cop brother Jack [Reed Diamond, successfully doing a jerk with layers who has a weak spot for his brother], nauseatingly cute son Zach, his boss at the paper, etc. Dan bounces to the past to bring together old flames, protect siblings, reunite parents and children, etc., but all of his exertions to keep families together end up tearing his own apart. In the present, all of Dan’s friends and family forgive him again and again, but his new vocation forces rifts open between him and others. The series starts slow, but, around ep 5, all the plot threads start coming into play, rewarding viewers with an emotionally involving, increasingly suspenseful ride of 13 eps.
Okay, I lied. While canceled due to the 2007 writers’ strike, Journeyman ultimately does not suffer from its abortion. I would have liked an entire season to wrap up all the promising, thrilling interconnections, but the eps we do have stand on their own as engaging, high-caliber TV. Watch it on Hulu because time travel is awesome!!!