With tonight’s premiere of the latest entries in this year’s slew of time travel shows (Time After Time, where HG Wells chases Jack the Ripper, and Making History, a comedy about some friends who use a time machine made out of a dufflebag to galavant across the centuries), and the realization that this year marks 10 years since its premiere, I decided it would be a good night to point out that I HAVE JOURNEYMAN ON DVD!
There’s sadly still no US release, but as soon as I caught wind of the possibility that the UK discs would play on VLC without having to change the region settings on my computer, I jumped on buying. I just love this show much.
If you haven’t seen it or read my episode-by-episode recap/reviews (which started a little rough but got much better), Journeyman is about Dan Vasser, a journalist who suddenly and randomly finds himself thrown back and forth in time to track and help other people while not screwing up his own present. And the potential to screw up his own present is very, very great. Not just from a logistics standpoint of disappearing at random times but also from the ripple effect of his actions in the past.
So, let’s talk about this bad boy!
First impressions of the case are that I like the background. It’s very evocative of Journeyman’s opening credits, which are absolutely beautiful and have great music, and it immediately gives us an idea of the time periods Dan will be traveling to. But I wish the rest of the art was a greater cast photo and not one that plays up the idea that Dan will be stuck in a triangle between the fiancee he thought died 8 years ago but was actually also a time traveler and the wife he has in the present. Because that’s not what the show is at all, and it was hard enough getting people to watch it the first time, let alone now, when the only option is to buy from across the pond.
Inside, all the disc information is printed on the back of the of the cover and hidden beneath the discs, so you have have to take the discs out to see what’s what, but the important thing to know is that all the special features are on disc one. There are some deleted/alternate scenes that are a little meh, a stills gallery, commentary on the pilot, a discussion of plans for the back nine episodes that didn’t happen, and what I suspect will be the crown jewel of the set: a 75-minute retrospective that was filmed in 2012.
That’s what I want to focus on, because it’s SO GOOD. It brought back all the main cast, a bunch of writers and producers, and it’s clear that everyone who was involved with this show thought it was really something special.
We learn about logistical things like how it almost didn’t happen — first because nobody but NBC wanted it, then because it was one of two cast-contingent projects that Kevin McKidd was involved in — and how the post-Heroes time slot and writers strike affected the show (Reed Diamond, who plays Dan’s brother Jack, is super snarky about Heroes season two, btw), but I really liked a lot of the personal touches.
Being in the newspaper business myself, I thought it was particularly rewarding to hear Brian Howe talk about his character, Dan’s boss Hugh, and the scope of the newsroom set that was built and all the history that went into his office. But it was also pretty prescient for an industry that’s in trouble.
I also really, really enjoyed hearing from Dana Calvo. It became more clear than it had ever been to me that in addition to all the great men in the industry who were behind Journeyman (Kevin Falls, Alex Graves, so many other directors), women also had a big role, which probably explain why Journeyman also has such great female characters. Calvo even mentions a note about Dan’s wife that was pinned to the wall in the writer’s room that read “Katie is a character, not a caricature.” To me, it was just one more sign of all the care that went into creating a well-rounded, excellent show.
There’s so much stuff packed into this retrospective that I could never talk about it all here. It alone is probably worth the $16 I paid for the set. I haven’t watched the future-plans feature yet, and I’m a little disappointed that the gag reel floating around the internet isn’t here, but overall I could not be more pleased.
And I know what I’ll be watching this summer.
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