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REWIND Rewound

Rewind poster

Written by : published Friday 30th August 2013

SyFy recently aired Rewind, a two-hour pilot of a series that is not being produced. In the special, an unlikely terrorist (David Cronenberg, The Fly) destroys New York City, killing nine million people. Luckily, the government has a top-secret time travel project, and sends a trio of would-be heroes back in time to try to surgically stop the attack while not altering the rest of the time line.

On one hand, it's cool that SyFy is giving viewers a chance to see something they haven't gone forward with. There's always the chance it will get a ton of positive attention and the network will decide to pick up the show. Cartoon Network did a similar thing this week, and Amazon posted a bunch of pilots last spring, giving viewers the chance to pick the series ordered. So this could be the start of a new trend where programming is more viewer-controlled.

However, it's also kind of depressing to see two hours of something that there won't ever be any more of. When a pilot like Rewind is aired in this manner, it's mostly a burn off, getting a little bit of value out of something that would otherwise provide none. But it's also a tease, showing us a taste of something we can't ever have the next chapter of. There is little chance Rewind will be picked up, and without lots of attention and advertising being devoted to getting eyes to the broadcast, it's doomed to be a one-off.

The concept of the time travel machine presented in Rewind is a neat one, especially because those operating it have no control over the time or place they travel to. It's definitely an early-stage device that needs further study and fine-tuning. This makes sense, and is a departure from the typical machine shown in the genre, which usually works quite well.

However, in the case of Rewind, I think SyFy made the correct choice of not going further.

The characters are likeable enough, but mostly stock. Our hero, Henry Knox (Shane McRae, Four Kings), is strong, but intelligent; emotionally tough, yet caring. He immediately clashes with Doctor Lyndsay Bryce (Jennifer Ferrin, Hell On Wheels), who doesn't think the army should be involved in her scientific project, but he sort of wins her over by the end of the pilot. There's also a corrupt military officer who wants to use the machine for his own purposes. None of these are fresh or original.

As the pilot plays out, it appears that the main characters will be trapped in the 1920s, which is where I thought the show was going. Instead, a too-convenient solution pops up after all hope is, and should be, lost, and everyone gets home safe and sound. This not only feels like a cheat, but also dooms the concept into a case-of-the-week procedural, rather than an intriguing, complex serial tale. Perhaps the procedural is more sell-able for a network, but it makes for a far inferior show. There are none of the consequences for rushing into a project that isn't ready.

There's also a computer that can pretty much predict all of the effects of a given action in the past, as well as access old paper records for anything, which is not at all realistic. Granted, other shows have given computers more abilities than they typically have (looking at your 24), but Rewind's system may just be more over-the-top and omniscient than any I've seen on screen before, especially for a series set in the present day. It takes one out of the moment when it is invoked.

So basically, there are some really good ideas present, and some nice supporting cast members, including Jeff Fahey (Lost), but the thing falls apart late in the hour, and is not the recipe for an original show that can inspire and energize a fan strong fan base. Too bad.

About the author JeromeWetzelTV

JeromeWetzelTV

Jerome Wetzel is a huge fan of stories, in both books and television. He writes TV reviews and fiction. He currently posts articles for TheTVKing, Seat42F, and BlogCritics, as well as his own personal blog, as well as writing fiction. His website is www.jeromewetzel.com Follow him on twitter @JeromeWetzelTV

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