Tuesday, April 21, 2015

The '12 Monkeys' TV Series Turned Out to Be Just as Interesting as the Movie It Was Based On

When I learned that a 12 Monkeys TV series was being developed by Syfy, I was doubtful that it’s going to be any good.  The 12 Monkeys movie is one of the most brilliant time travel tales ever.  The story has already been told.  Retelling it in TV format – even if there will be some reinventions – would not only seem redundant and unnecessary, but, it felt like, that no matter what, the TV series will always look like a cheap knock-off in comparison to the movie.  So I didn’t immediately jump into the show once it started back in January. 

But, then, I found myself marathoning it this April.  Was just compelled to try it.  And I was immensely entertained.  It’s not as smart and fresh as the movie.  But it was just as interesting.  The core premise of the movie – a guy named James Cole from a post-apocalyptic future is sent back in time (our present) to stop the enigmatic “Army of the 12 Monkeys” from releasing a plague that will put humanity at the verge of extinction – is the same with the TV series.  But there are much more complicated details involved with the TV series as well as well-done diversions from the source material.       

The rules of time travel set by its premise was not particularly innovative or mindblowing, and even have some shades of outlandishness at some details.  But the narrative consistently adhered to those rules, so there’s not much distraction from inconsistencies – unsatisfying those rules may be.  And it did result to some enjoyable storytelling. 

The writing isn’t perfect.  There’s always the nagging feeling that there’s something dumb and incoherent regarding plot details and character motivations.  Nonetheless, I’m just too entertained to even care.  Also, there is the fact that the story isn’t finished yet.  There’s still a lot of mystery.  Maybe everything will only perfectly make sense once the story ends.      
A couple of things already went full circle by the time the season concluded, but there are still plenty of intriguing questions left unanswered as well as room for thrilling storytelling opportunities set up by the game-changing events of the season finale that I am legitimately excited for season 2.  Not bad for a “cheap knock-off” of a classic 90’s film.

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