The Shows I’m Watch and You Should Too: 12 Monkeys

So unfortunately this week has been a little off for me. As such I’ve only managed to pull together one blog post, so I’m sorry for that, but hey, what can you do? (Well, write a half-assed apologetic sentence apparently).

Anyway, it’s a New Year and a new TV season, and Syfy has unveiled its latest actually good show. As I wrote in my last post, I am incredibly excited for their adaptation of The Expanse book series, but 12 Monkeys is also very much off to a promising start. The series is loosely based on the film by Terry Gilliam, mostly in that there is a time traveler who comes from a bleak future and is trying to stop a pandemic that wipes out most of the human race. However, from there I get the sense that the plots will diverge.

In the pilot episode James Cole (Aaron Stanford) travels back in time to kill a man based on a garbled message left by a CDC doctor named Cassandra Railly (Amanda Schull). During the mission he realizes that the intel is bad, and that he should instead be looking for a group known as the Twelve Monkeys. This is essentially the reverse set-up of the film, wherein Cole chases the Army of the Twelve Monkeys only to find out that they are not behind the release of the virus at all.

I can’t say that the Twelve Monkeys organization in the show won’t end up being anymore of a trick, but it would appear that they are the real antagonists of the show. This would also make more sense given that the show has to run a lot longer than a film would and having the show named after a plot gimmick rather than a true antagonist would be pretty disappointing. While the movie was about the nature of memory and technology, I expect the show to be more of a thriller focused on Cole, Railly, and their allies fighting to stop the virus before it happens.

Stanford and Schull’s performances in their respective parts were great and really drove the pilot forward. They have good chemistry (in their weird way), and I look forward to seeing their partnership develop as Cole moves back and forth through time. I’m also very excited to see Emily Hampshire’s portrayal of the character Jennifer Goines. While she showed up briefly at the end of the pilot, I’m curious to see how her character develops. I also like the new (and gender-bending) take on the character originally played by Brad Pitt in the film.

The second episode of 12 Monkeys airs tonight, and I definitely think it’s worth checking out. The show has a ton of potential, and I’m curious to see where it goes.

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