Characters from the TV show Travelers staring at the camera

This is a really good TV series, with three seasons available on Netflix. The characters are compelling, but for a story about a fundamentally unbelievable idea (time travel from the distant-future to the near-future) I was most impressed by the fact that they handle the idea in an intellectually rigorous manner.

While there is some malarkey about the time travel itself being a function of quantum mechanics, it is clear that the writers have made some significant effort to imagine a future world – and to imagine a plausible explanation for how those characters might behave. For example, it is very credible to imagine a human future where eating animals is considered as reprehensible as slavery is considered today. It is credible to imagine a future where ethics have moved from today’s standards, and it is credible to imagine a future with genuine moral concerns about some of today’s behaviour. After all, I’m old enough to remember back 13 years, when Barack Obama was an opponent of same-sex marriage, and yet now, even the Pope indicates some support for same-sex civil unions.

Similarly, these travellers from the future are not all-powerful, and they are actual, relatable, humans – trying to adapt from the norms of the distant-future to the norms of the near-future. They have their mission and their purpose in life, but they are very three-dimensional characters.

One downside is the end of Season Three. I felt that the series could have continued, but was cancelled abruptly – causing some of the stories to be compressed absurdly in a dramatic effort to wildly conclude the series at the end of that season.