Traveler -- An early look - VIDEO
The premise of Traveler is this: Three best friends (Jay, Tyler, and Will Traveler) graduate from Yale and plan to go on a two-month, cross-country road trip. Only, it all comes to an end on the first afternoon when there's a terrorist bombing in a NYC museum that they're in. Jay and Tyler get out, but Will is gone. And so is his stuff from the hotel. Jay and Tyler end up becoming suspects in the bombing (trust me, it makes sense), and, instead of turning themselves in, they decide to go "underground" and try to find out who this Will Traveler person really is.
The pilot starts out as a flashback that catches up about halfway through the episode. I can understand why the writers did this: to catch your attention right away. Starting a show with three guys heading out on a road trip is boring, but starting a show with two guys running from something and then watching smoke pour out of a building on television... that's a captivating show opener. It definitely works. Actually, I think all the flashbacks work. They're not done in the way that Lost does flashbacks. These ones are meant to reveal information about the relationship between the three guys and also to reveal Will Traveler's odd behavior... that didn't seem so odd at the time.
I thought the acting by stars Matthew Bomer (Jay), Logan Marshall-Green (Tyler), and Aaron Stanford (Will Traveler) was quite strong. There are also several mysterious characters who help Jay and Tyler along the way and I'm interested to see whether these characters are really trustworthy or if they are somehow connected to the terrorist network that Will Traveler is apparently part of. I honestly am not sure whether I'll watch the series. A lot of my favorite shows will be done for the season, so I might make room for it. Unfortunately, even though I think it is well done, it is also one of those shows that I could live without seeing.
There were several things that really bothered me about this episode. First, the relationship between the guys is less friendly and more flirty. It's a tad bit homo-erotic, quite frankly. And I don't think that's what the writers were aiming for, I just think they overshot their effort to reveal to us how close these three friends had been during the last two years. The other thing is super minor, but whenever Jay and Tyler are running from something, the editors have dubbed in sounds of them panting heavily and even grunting as they run. It's hilarious and completely overdone.
A sneak preview of Traveler airs tomorrow night at 10 pm on ABC following Grey's Anatomy. Then the pilot repeats on May 30th and, at this point, ABC intends to play out the series. It appears it may be more of a mini-series at this point than a drama that gets renewed... but you never know.
You can watch the first 10 minutes below.