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Voyagers!, on NBC
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This originally aired in 1982-83, for one season. I guess I was only seven years old at the time, so I don't really remember much about it (aside from a couple of random scenes), but I'm sure I loved it at the time. And I finally got it on DVD in December 2017, so I rewatched the series at that point. (Even though it's only 20 episodes, I didn't finish until March 2019, because I'm damned slow.)

There's this guy named Phineas Bogg (Jon-Erik Hexum), whose job as a Voyager is to travel through time, using a device called an Omni (which looks like a pocket watch), to make sure history unfolds as it should. At the start of the series, he crashes into the apartment of a boy named Jeffrey Jones, an orphan who is living with his aunt and her husband, neither of whom are happy to have Jeff as their responsibility. Then Jeff's dog gets hold of Phineas's guide book, which explains how to do his job, I guess. He really needed it, since he didn't exactly pay attention in Voyager school. Anyway, during a ridiculous struggle between Phineas and the dog, Phineas and Jeff fall out a window, which would have killed them if Phineas hadn't used the Omni to travel through space and time. It soon turns out that Jeff knows a lot more about history (among other things) than Phineas does, which is lucky, because the dog still has the guide book, back in 1982. It also is apparently impossible for Phineas to return Jeff to his own time, since... I guess it was some kind of glitch that even allowed him to show up in 1982 in the first place, because his Omni isn't supposed to be able to travel beyond 1970. So... the two somewhat reluctantly begin traveling through time together, to fix whatever historical anomalies they discover. (I'm not sure how history manages to go differently than it's supposed to, but whatever.) Of course, as the series progresses, they come to care about each other a lot.

Well, the show reminds me of any number of things that came after it, like Quantum Leap, and Time Squad. (And the fact that Phineas lost his guide book reminds me of the 1981-83 series The Greatest American Hero.) I have no idea how much of that is coincidence, and how much (if anything) might have been inspired to some degree by this show. But anyway... it was fun rewatching the series. My vague memories of the premise and characters were fairly on target, though there were actually only two specific plot details I remembered at all. One was a minor detail from the fourth episode, the other was a major plot point from episode 15. (I don't want to spoil the former, but the latter was that Jeffrey wanted to prevent the Titanic from sinking, but couldn't, because that was meant to happen.) Other than those two things, everything else that happens in the series, I might as well have been seeing for the first time. In general, I'd say the show was fairly cheesy, but it was also very creative in how it stitched its stories together in each episode. I mean, most of the episodes involved Phineas and Jeffrey going to two different times and places, often needing to fix a problem with one piece of history in order to fix another part of history. Sometimes this made sense, and sometimes the situations were sort of ridiculously unrelated. (Or would be, on any other show.) And... of course, some episodes were better than others. While it was mostly a very episodic series, they did try to put in a bit of a story arc in a couple episodes. Episode 13 involves Phineas standing trial in a Voyager courtroom, being prosecuted by a villain named Drake, who shows up again in the season (and series) finale. So I think it's a shame the show was cancelled after only one season. Other than that, I don't know what to say, except that it was fun to see various guest stars who later became familiar to me from other things. Oh, and it was also neat that during the closing credits of every episode, Jeffrey did a voiceover telling viewers that they could learn more about the people and events depicted in the episode by visiting their local library. It's all in books!


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