Last year the Eric Kripke and Shawn Ryan created NBC show TIMELESS proved to be one of the most exciting and fun hours on television. In it a historian (Abigail Spencer), a soldier (Matt Lanter), and a programmer/pilot of a time machine (Malcolm Barrett) all race back in time to stop a mysterious cabal hell bent on altering history for their own advantage. The show featured a look at forgotten or little known historical figures, offering an enjoyable history lesson each time the team traveled into the past.
At the end of the last season, NBC canceled Timeless, but three days later reversed that decision and ordered another season after a passionate outcry from fans of the show.
The Tracking Board was able to get on the phone with series co-creator and executive producer Eric Kripke to talk about the premiere and what to expect from this season of Timeless.
Warning: SPOILERS FOR THE SEASON TWO PREMIERE BELOW.
Hi Eric, I love Timeless and was bummed out when it was announced NBC canceled it, so I’m pretty excited they brought it back for another season.
You and me both brother.
I’ve got a couple of questions about the premiere. So, this episode was kind of a big deal for Lucy. She thinks Rufus and Wyatt are dead, so to keep her cover up as a member of Rittenhouse, she kills a soldier. It’s a major change for her and she loses some of her innocence. Is this something that’s going to be a constant struggle for Lucy to deal with throughout the season?
Yeah, it does. She really evolves and is becoming less and less of a civilian and more and more of a soldier fighting this insane war, and it leaves its scars on her that she has to deal with. It’s always an interesting question for a lead character like that, can she continue fighting without losing her soul in the process? So that’s something we’ll explore a little bit with Lucy this year.
That was pretty intense, especially in the end when she realizes how much she’s actually lost.
Yeah right, she’s lost her mom, she’s lost her sister, and she’s making these terrible moral choices. The more tough things get for our characters, the more they have to rely on each other, and form a, you know, sort of a family. By relying on each other, they have a shot.
This year we find out Rittenhouse has planted sleeper cells throughout history. It was kind of played with last season when Emma showed up, is this something that just kind of came up this season?
No, in effect Emma was the first. But Rittenhouse never had access to a time machine until now, so she was able to use the machine and place herself, but they hadn’t really been able to go beyond that because they spent all season trying to get a time machine back from Garcia Flynn. At the end of season one, despite our heroes winning, things kind of backfired and now Rittenhouse do have a time machine and the sleeper cell plan for is moving forward full steam ahead.
Once Jiya became the fourth person in a three-person time machine, something happened to her neurologically and now she has blackouts and apocalyptic visions of futures or possible futures, will this play a big role moving forward?
A huge role, I’m super interested in issues of fate and free will. So much of my run on Supernatural was about that. It’s really an interesting question to me, if you knew what was going to happen is it avoidable? Can you run away from it, or do you ironically end up running faster towards it? I’m really interested in all of those kind of twisty questions. Jiya’s visions, and the way her brain kind of got scrambled by whatever space-time mess she traveled through, allows us to really play with this, because she’s going to start seeing visions of what is going to happen to Rufus on some of these trips. So what do you do with that information? Does he even want to know it, and what does it mean? So that’s going to be a big part of the season.
I really love Malcolm Barrett’s portrayal of Rufus, he’s fantastic. I feel like he carries a lot of the weight of the show, especially when they’re heading back in time and he has to deal with outdated perceptions and prejudices, and still be the comic anchor of the whole story. He’s wonderful, and I love how you guys write to his strengths.
He’s great, and he’s a blast to write for, I mean they all are, but he’s got such awesome comic timing, and is so funny, and can take a mediocre line from us and make it great. He’s a pleasure to work with and I think the writers really connect with Rufus. We all really relate to a character like that. More often than not Lucy’s being very brave, and Wyatt’s being very strong, but whenever I’m writing lines for Rufus, I’m like “what would I really feel in this situation”, and that’s where a lot of his lines come from. He’s just the writer in the scene who’s miserable, wants to go home, and is scared.
On Timeless you get to go and play in different time periods and different genres each episode. Is there something you haven’t done yet that you’re really excited to get to? Is there a genre, a time period, or historical figure you really want to delve into?
Yeah, we’re doing it this year. I’m obsessed with Robert Johnson, the blues guitarist that legend has it sold his soul to the devil at the crossroads. It’s just such a vibrant and fascinating time and period of these sort of roadside dives and these traveling bluesmen, you know I’m just so endlessly fascinated with that world, that I was dying to tell that story this year, and we are. And the guys did an amazing job, and it’s such an interesting world and we just do a full dive into Robert Johnson as a character and who he is. I saw the cut last week and it’s my favorite episode, and that scratched an itch for me that I’m very happy about.
We’re really proud of the fact that we tell very diverse and very under-represented stories from history and we’re presenting stories that a lot of people don’t know, historical characters that maybe they thought they knew, characters of different colors, ethnicities, and creeds, and we’re really proud of that. I would say if anything, we spent the second season more actively looking for those kinds of stories.
One of the great things about the show, is that it’s a history lesson wrapped around an adventure tale. I definitely learn stuff when I watch it that I did not know.
And that’s honestly my main reason for making the show. I’ve got kids and I’m a history nut, so the idea of being able to present things about history that people don’t know, I mean, we love to do that.
Timeless airs Sunday nights on NBC.
Jeff Iblings | Contributor
For six months out of the year Jeff is holed up in his home with nothing to do but shovel snow, watch television, write, and dream of warmer climates.
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