[Warning: General spoilers ahead.]
I’m always psyched when actors from cancelled/completed shows immediately land another gig. It gives us a sense of peace because we know we’ll see them again soon. [I’m aware these are TV shows and characters — go with it]. When Nikita ended last year its cast and crew had the remarkable good fortune to disperse to new projects — Shane West to Salem, Maggie Q to Stalker, Lyndie Greenwood (and EP Albert Kim) to Sleepy Hollow, Lyndsey Fonseca to Agent Carter, and now, Aaron Stanford and Noah Bean are back on our TVs this Friday in Syfy’s series adaptation of 12 Monkeys. Joining them are Amanda Schull (who’s also still Litt’s right-hand woman on Suits), Emily Hampshire, Barbara Sukowa, Kirk Acevedo, and Zeljko Ivanek.
The series is an alternate retelling of the film, with only the main character, time-traveler Cole, the carryover. The rest is a little bit of a remix. Cole is sent back from 2043 to head off a plague that decimated the world in 2017. He lands on Dr. Cassandra Railly (Cassie), a rising virologist, in the hopes she can lead him to the man responsible for ending the world.
She doesn’t know that person, and Cole realizes he’s been brought back to early, so he sets a later date to see her again, hopeful that by then she will, and is true to his word, coming back in 2015. But the intervening gap–a blink for Cole and two years for Cassie–have produced considerable personal and professional tumult for her.
It’s a solid, and cinematically rich, start. I love that Stanford is headlining this. Y’all know how I felt about my nerd. He and Schull are very good together, and the show’s decision to have Cassie just go with and not constantly question her reality is refreshing. This is her new normal. Stanford plays Cole with a serious Kyle Reese vibe, and it works.
Right out of the gate we don’t know much about him, but we can intuit that he’s damaged, and childlike, and by the end of the premiere, his life is going forward in a direction that was not planned, which he has to deal with. Hampshire plays a very important mental patient named Jennifer. We don’t meet her until the end of the episode, but she’s all over episode two.
There are so many rich possibilities with time travel shows, and we love Continuum, so you know we’re down with that as a basic construct. 12 Monkeys is darker, and has a much heavier “fate of the world” energy going on, but I’m in.
12 Monkeys premieres Friday night at 9/8c. Here are a few sneak peeks, including the first nine minutes of the premiere. In case you missed it, read our interview with Stanford and Schull here.
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