Time travel proves timeless TV theme – USA TODAY

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We can’t all come and go by TARDIS. Doctor Who may be the best-known TV time traveler, but more and more new series have been jumping between the past and future, whether to stop JFK’s assassination (Hulu’s 11.22.63) or prevent the apocalypse (CW’s Legends of Tomorrow). USA TODAY  takes a deep dive into three other shows doing the time warp this season:

12 MONKEYS (Syfy; returning Monday, 9 p.m. ET/PT) 

Premise: Based on the 1995 sci-fi thriller, time traveler James Cole (Aaron Stanford) journeys from 2043 to the present to stop a deadly virus from wiping out the world’s population. In Season 2, Cole and his team “are going deeper down the rabbit hole, as far as this conspiracy run by this organization, The Army of the Twelve Monkeys,” executive producer Terry Matalas says.

Rules: “You need a very powerful (time) machine, what we call a ‘splinter machine.’ You also need this special injection that was created by one of our characters, Katarina Jones (Barbara Sukowa), that allows time to move around you, so you can move up and down the time stream.”

Obstacles: “You can’t come into contact with yourself — it could cause a paradox.” You also run the risk of “not making the change you’re trying to make. If you go back in time and are trying to save your future, there are usually consequences.”

Where he’d travel: “I’d go back to the early ’80s. There’s a bunch of movies I’d go see, I’d visit my family, and buy a bunch of toys and go put them in storage.”

TIME TRAVELING BONG (Comedy Central; premiering Wednesday, 10:30 p.m. ET/PT)

Premise: In a three-night miniseries based on their CollegeHumor short, Broad City‘s Ilana Glazer and Paul W. Downs play cousins who meet time-travelers and acquire a bong with special powers that transport them to the dinosaur age, ancient Greece and a dystopian future. “Our view of the future is that we’re going to have no ozone (layer), and the entire planet is garbage island, so we shot in this giant scrapyard with acres of trash,” Downs says.

Rules: “You smoke it once to travel; smoke it again and you return to present day.”

Obstacles: “We travel back to 1691 in Salem, Mass., and our bong is broken. We find a glass blower to fix it, but in fixing it, it’s wonky. So instead of returning home, it bounces us around this time-space continuum.”

Where he’d travel: “It would be really cool to see colonial America. That said, after doing this series and knowing how incredibly harsh it was at that time, I don’t know. Maybe just the ’90s.”

OUTLANDER (Starz; Saturdays, 9 p.m. ET/PT)

Premise: Adapted from Diana Gabaldon’s novels, the steamy drama follows former World War II combat nurse Claire Randall (Caitriona Balfe), who unwittingly falls back in time to 18th-century Scotland. In Season 2, she and her new husband Jamie (Sam Heughan) infiltrate the French aristocracy in Paris, in an attempt to save the Scotsmen by stopping the calamitous Battle of Culloden. “They’re fish out of water in many ways, and they’re going to find that mission hard,” executive producer Maril Davis says.

Rules: Claire time-traveled by accident after touching an ancient stone while on honeymoon in the Scottish Highlands. “I don’t think she knows quite how it works, but she’s become more comfortable in this world, certainly now that she has a new husband and someone to confide in.”

Obstacles: “As the season progresses, she’ll see if she can find any clues that lead to” why she time-traveled. “This is not something she planned or tried to do, and honestly, probably isn’t sure if she can go back.”

Where she’d travel: “The ’60s. I realize that’s not all that far back, but it was a time of such change towards betterment in terms of civil rights and everything else. It was a fascinating era.”

Time travel proves timeless TV theme – USA TODAY

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