Saturday, 21 June 2008

Crime Traveller

It is almost inconceivable why this show did not get picked up for a second series. Crime traveller features police using time travel to solve murder mysteries (see what they did there?)

With episode titles like "Jeff Slade and the Loop of Infinity" and of course the unforgettable "Revenge of the Chronology Protection Hypothesis" this was surely a winner.

In fact - sadly - this show is actually complete and total rubbish.

Holly Turner, played by the classy and even modestly attractive Chloe Annett, has the use of a time machine invented by her father. I cannot even begin to describe this machine other than to say it is a conflagration of bizarre and cheap components and is built into the living room at Holly's flat. I don't know how an estate agent might describe the flat - maybe "bijou with surprising extra dimension to it"?!

The time machine can send you back in time by a seemingly random period - but in the episodes we have seen so far it doesn't seem to be much more than about 24 hours. Also - as the time machine is Holly's living room - you are presumably only supposed to leave and arrive points in time when you know you are not already going to be there.

This particularly so as in episode 4 Holly tells us that making eye contact with yourself from a different "time zone" could quite literally bugger up the entire universe! I don't see how you can really plan for this if you don't know how far back you are going to go and also as Holly and the male protagonist (of whom more below) MUST return to the time machine to be there at the exact moment they left. How then to avoid their own departing selves?

Anyway Holly works for the police as a "science officer" and seems to have whatever scientific looking miscellany the BBC had lying around when they filmed this. I've heard of forensic, ballistic and even scene of crime officers but never a police science officer. Nonetheless this introduces Holly to suave, smooth talking detective Jeff Slade played by Michael French. An actor whose acting has slightly less dimensions than Holly's flat.

Slade is a hard hitting unorthodox cop with a side line in terrible jokes. Here is another hard hitting unorthodox detective;

It's perfectly obvious that Holly and "Slade", as he is referred to throughout the series, fancy the pants off each other.

On the subject of pants and less specifically clothes in general Slade's wardrobe appears to consist of one pair of jeans, one yellow short and one suede look mustard yellow jacket which he wears in every episode. We're up to episode 4 and the only other outfit Slade wore was destroyed when he got caught in a fire (presumably they wanted to keep the yellow jacket et al*)

Anyway whenever a crime (this has always turned out to be a murder) occurs Slade immediately asks Holly to take them back in time to see who did it. In episode 4 Slade himself (having come back in time) nearly lands up caught and charged as the murderer.

The dimwit.

In episode 2 Holly is actually arrested for the murder of her aunt whose death she is investigating by coming back in time - she nearly doesn't get back to the time machine in time and thus allegedly trapped in the "loop of infinity" identified in the title to episode 1. I assume this is what happened to Bill Murray in Groundhog Day! Or anyone who visits Scunthorpe**

Anyway I don't know why they bother - it was made plain from episode 1 that they cannot actually change events in their own subjective past so , at one end of the scale, Slade's attempt to gamble using future knowledge leads to naught and at the other Slade only survives to travel in time to start with because Holly rescues him - unbeknownst to him - when she comes back herself. It seems then that the time machine only allows Slade and Holly Turner to see whodunnit and give you a headache about cause and effect! Importantly no murders are averted! It all seems an excuse to not do any proper detective work.

We have 4 more episodes of this to watch. I'm not sure I can stand it....

It would be a crime to travel to see this...


* - presumably in a time travel series, with an inherent risk of such things, it is easier to avoid continuity errors if your principal cast always wear the same clobber!
** - which I did a few months ago

1 comment:

  1. I think it's clear that Jeff Slade isn't very good as a copper, not because he lacks ability, but he's too lazy and easily distracted so he looks for short cuts like travelling in time. I'm assuming it's always murder because they're the murder squad.

    Remind me to show you how to turn URLS into links.

    Note for GMs - the time machine should send the players back to allow them enough time to follow a couple of false leads, then witness the crime from the wrong place to see what's going on. I they're usng the time machine when they shouldn't, and you don't really care, I sugggest 2d10 hours.