Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Top 5 Best Time Travel TV Shows

Time travel is a major premise for a lot of t.v. shows.  To qualify for this list, a major theme of the show has to be time travel, not one episode (or even multiple episodes, a la the Star Trek franchise).

5: Dinosaur Train - My son occasionally watches this show about a group of dinosaur children who hop on a magical train which takes them through time to various prehistoric eras where they meet and learn about various prehistoric dinosaurs and other creatures.  It's a clever way to expose kids to science and sci-fi, while keeping things light (for example, when a T-Rex meets a pterodactyl, he befriends him instead of eating him).

4: Voyagers! - I vaguely recall this show from my childhood, and that recollection tells me this was the coolest show on television.  Looking back, it lasted only a single season, so my guess is that my memory is highly suspect.  Anyway, the coolest thing about the show was the Omni (the thingy in the top right of the picture)--I was pretty sure it was real and could be purchased at Bradlees.  Of course, I desperately wanted one so I too could travel through time.  Missed marketing opportunity--a good toy line and millions of naive little boys could have saved the show.

3: Life on Mars - Both the U.K. and the U.S. versions of this show are very good (a lot of people disparage the U.S. version, but without good reason).  In this show, Sam Tyler, a cop in the present day, is hit by a car and wakes up as a cop in the 70s.  Both series play great as cop shows and as sci-fi thrillers.  Can't say much more without giving too much away, so just go watch the shows.  Watch the U.K. version first, then the U.S.--the endings are different, and pretty wild.  They are short (2 seasons and 1 season, respectively) so watching won't take long.  Theses deserve your attention.

2: Quantum Leap - Oh boy, this show was good.  Scott Bakula found himself inhabiting the bodies of various people throughout time without any idea why he was there other than to fix some sort of a wrong.  With the help of that guy from Married to the Mob, he righted the wrong and saved the day, only to leap into another time and body he knew nothing about.  Most memorable were when he leapt into himself as a kid.  And the one where he encouraged a young Steven King; that was pretty cool.

1: Doctor Who - The Doctor and his companion travel the universe and the stream of time being awesome.  The Doctor is one of the most kick-ass characters ever dreamt up--the last of the Time Lords, he and a human girl fly around in his spaceship/timeship, which is disguised as an old English police call box, protecting the innocent, and often Earth, from baddies.  Occasionally, he dies and regenerates into a new form, and the character lives on (played by a different actor).  Okay, it sounds hokey; but it's not--really, it's not.  It's really, really cool.  Oh yeah, it's also the longest running and most successful sci-fi show of all time, and has a total of over 780 episodes, so don't take my word for it.

Sorry Sliders fans, I didn't feel comfortable including the show since it jumped to alternate realities where sometimes things seemed like they were in the past or future, rather than actually going to the past or future.  The show just didn't fit the criteria.


  1. You forgot Lost which, as it turns out in season 3, had major time travel elements. Ya can't beat Quantum Leap though. Great show.

  2. I loved the Quantum Leap episodes where he lept into a woman (I remember it happened at least once.)  He was clumsy and I imagine any guy would be upon finding himself in a woman's body all of the sudden!

  3. Ah, right, Journeyman.  I remember when that came out, though I never saw it.  Will have to check it out.  The whole U.S. version of Life on mars is available streaming on Netflix, btw.  Maybe the Brit one too, not sure.

  4. Holy wow, I was just talking about Jon-Erik Hexum last week! That's just freaky.

  5. What about Sliders? Not time travel per se, but definitely a poor man's Quantum Leap at the very least.

  6. Yeah, I liked Sliders.  I recently watched the last episode, which I'd never seen.  I didn't realize how far from its original premise the show had gotten.  The main reason it wasn't included in the top 5 is because it wasn't really time travel--more like alternate dimension-hopping.  I did think about it though (see the last paragraph).