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Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Report Card----"Timeless"

This is the first time I've attempted to do a Report Card on a TV show.
I had never felt the need, or enthusiasm about a TV show, as I do about "Timeless".
And there are a lot of shows that I like.
There are a lot of NEW shows that I like.
"This is Us",  "Designated Survivor",  "Man With a Plan".
I don't feel the need to write about any of those.
And there are a handful of older shows that I like.
"Better Call Saul",  "Breaking Bad", "The Blacklist", "Ray Donovan", any Chuck Lorre show.
But none of those have needed my help.
I don't know that "Timeless" needs my help either.
But I'm offering it up anyway because that's how taken I am with it.
Jackie Gleason used to say that 'being a TV critic is roughly akin to describing an accident to an
At the time, he was right.
Of course, that was in the days when there was no more than seven choices of what you can watch.
And there was no way to go back and see what you missed by watching something else.
Now, we have Tivo, and On Demand, leading to all sorts of binge-watching.
Some guidance can be helpful.
I've seen the first four episodes of "Timeless", in sequence, which is the way to do it, as each episode reveals something about the characters that you must know before proceeding on to the next one.
It starts out great, and gets greater every week.
It's essentially science-fiction about time-travel.
But it's very layered.
Legitimate moral dilemmas are explored every episode.
It goes to very interesting places.
The Hindenburg Landing,  The Vegas Rat Pack in 1962, Ford's Theater in 1865,  Nazi Germany in 1944.
The overriding goal is to not change history, which turns out to be at least somewhat impossible.
This is not a spoiler alert.
If they always totally succeeded, ya got nothin'.

On to the scoring:

Is it entertaining?


Is it controversial?

Totally.  The question "Should they even be doing this?" comes up a lot.

Is it a story worth telling?

It's captivating. And wildly imaginative.

Is it good storytelling?


Is it well written?

Very.  There is a "Blacklist" dynamic at work here.  They always try to keep you guessing about who the good guys and the bad guys are.

Is it well cast?  Well played?

I didn't know any of these people, and I love them all.

Well shot?

Very.  It looks like a very expensive show to make, and that you can see every dollar up there on the screen.  It's much better if you can watch it on a large flat screen.

Did the director put such a personal stamp on it so that no one else could have made it?

The show has it's own stamp.  I don't know if it's the director's doing.
No grade.

How long does it take to establish the film's locale and time period?

Very soon.  First the present, then where they are going in the past.

Is it too long? Too short?.

It always seems a little short, which is a tribute to how riveting it is.

Is it believable? Do you care about the characters?

Incredibly and totally.

Is it predictable? Does it surprise you?

I didn't see anything coming, and there are many surprises.

Do you think about it after you've seen it?

Often.  And how I can't wait to see the next one.

Is it funny?

When it needs to be.  More ironic than funny.

Would it have been worth the thirteen bucks it would have cost to see it in the movies?

I'd fork over the dough.

Is it impressive?


Overall grade: A+.

"Timeless" is now a major event in our house. 
My wife feels exactly the same way.
There are very few shows that we agree about.
And we agree totally.
So far, every week, it has been a ripping yarn.

P.S.---"The Last Hurrah", perhaps John Ford's greatest movie, or at least his greatest non-western, is on Turner Classic Movies tonight.  Tivo it if you can, or if you don't care about the baseball, just watch it.  You'll thank me.


My books, "Show Runner" and it's sequel, "Show Runner Two", can be found at the Amazon Kindle Store.
Along with the newer ones, "The Man Is Dead", and "Report Cards".
They are all compilations of blog entries that have since been removed from the blog.
So this is the only way you can find them.
You can search by typing in my name, Cindy Williams, Laverne and Shirley, The Odd Couple, or Happy Days.
Check them out.
You don't need a Kindle machine to download them.
Just get the free app from Kindle, and they can be downloaded to an IPhone, IPad, or Blackberry.
The paperbacks, "Mark Rothman's Essays" and my new novel, "I'm Not Garbo" are not e-books.
But they are available for people without Kindle.
I have many readings and signings lined up for those, and the thing about Kindle is you can't sign one.
If you'd like one of the paperbacks, personally autographed, contact me at

And now, we've got my reading of my "Laverne and Shirley Movie" screenplay on YouTube.



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About Me

Hi. I am, according to my Wikipedia entry,(which I did not create) a noted television writer, playwright, screenwriter, and occasional actor. You can Google me or go to the IMDB to get my credits, and you can come here to get my opinions on things, which I'll try to express eloquently. Hopefully I'll succeed. You can also e-mail me at Perhaps my biggest claim to fame is being responsible, for about six months in 1975, while Head Writer for the "Happy Days" TV series, for Americans saying to each other "Sit on it."