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April 18, 2014

A Recent History of Time-Jumping on TV

by Maggie Furlong & Jean Bentley, posted Jun 28th 2011 12:45PM
Weeds, True Blood, Time JumpingLast night's 'Weeds' saw our protagonists flash forward three years in the future, with pot-dealing housewife Nancy Botwin moving from prison to a halfway house in New York City. And on Sunday's 'True Blood' premiere, the residents of Bon Temps skipped ahead an entire year -- a major jump for the series, considering the first three seasons took place during the same month.

All that time-jumping got us thinking about other shows that have pulled the "skip forward" move to avoid awkward plot points. You know, like that time 'One Tree Hill' escaped those clunky college years, or when Melinda had a baby on 'Ghost Whisperer' that was suddenly five years old.

After the page jump, join us in a discussion of time jumps and whether or not they actually worked. (And before you comment-yell at us, this list does not include shows that routinely employ time travel, like 'Doctor Who' or 'Quantum Leap.')

Battlestar Galactica'Battlestar Galactica,' 2006
Flashed Forward: 1 year
What Happened in the Meantime: Baltar and the the Cylons took control of New Caprica, a bunch of people got married, Tigh lost an eye, Apollo got fat
Did It Work?: Yes. It sped up certain relationships we were dying for -- Adama and Roslin! -- and a flashback episode filled in the gaps. Plus, was more fun to watch the resistance fight than it would've been to watch the colony taken over.

Sophia Bush, One Tree Hill'One Tree Hill,' 2008
Flashed Forward: 4.5 years
What Happened in the Meantime: College, ultra glamorous careers
Did It Work?: Absolutely. Not only did we avoid the boring college years, but the the late-20s actors looked a lot more believable as 22-year-olds than they ever did as teenagers.


24'24,' 2009
Flashed Forward: 4 years
What Happened in the Meantime: Jack Bauer aged and Chloe had her baby, who was then four years old
Did It Work?: For a show so completely obsessed with time -- they literally had a ticking clock! -- it sounded like an odd move at the time, but loyalists didn't seem to mind, especially with the two-hour TV movie '24: Redemption' to bridge the gaps.

Ghost Whisperer'Ghost Whisperer,' 2009
Flashed Forward: 5 years
What Happened in the Meantime: Melinda's newborn became a 5-year-old walking, talking kid
Did It Work?: Well Melinda could still whisper with ghosts, couldn't she?


Brothers and Sisters'Brothers & Sisters,' 2010
Flashed Forward: 1 year
What Happened in the Meantime: Kitty did some healing after Robert's death, Justin and Rebecca grew apart, Nora got a life of her own
Did It Work?: Considering that last season essentially killed the series (ABC canceled the show shortly after Season 5 ended), guess not.

Bones'Bones,' 2010
Flashed Forward: 1 year
What Happened in the Meantime: Booth got a new girlfriend in Afghanistan, Brennan did research in the tropics
Did It Work?: At first, it only really worked to piss off a lot of fans, but once they settled down and realized that the show's core sexual tension was still alive and well, all was forgiven.

True Blood'True Blood,' 2011
Flashed Forward: 1 year
What Happened in the Meantime: While Sookie was in fairy land, Bill became the Vampire King of Louisiana, Jason became a cop, the Sheriff became a V addict, and everybody else just kinda hung out
Did It Work?: So far, so good. It didn't feel weird or forced, and the writers did a good job of filling in the blanks about what happened off-screen.

Weeds'Weeds,' 2011
Flashed Forward: 3 years
What Happened in the Meantime: Nancy went to jail, her sons and brother-in-law moved to Copenhagen
Did It Work?: It would've been difficult to frame a show around the Botwin family if the members were living on different continents, so we're going to go with yes...at least judging by the first half hour.

Damages'Damages,' 2011
Flashed Forward: 3 years
What Happened in the Meantime: The show's first three seasons featured shocking scenes in the premiere that then flashed to the story "Six Months Earlier," but a three year jump? Maybe more time means more drama.
Did It Work?: That remains to be seen, but this show hasn't failed us yet.


And there are a ton more! Which TV time-jumps do you think were most and least successful?

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9 Comments

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Abby

You forgot Desperate Housewives. And every new season of Mad Men.

June 29 2011 at 4:01 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
andrewjshick

I too thought the lack of the mention of Alias was weird (hell, the jump happened DURING an episode and was 2 years). Oh, and then, there was another significant jump in the series finale.

Anyway, the Bones jump was not 1 year. Booth was supposed to be gone 1 year, but he had to come back to DC after 7 months.

June 29 2011 at 2:43 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
garysdl1

What about LOST? Probably had more time jumps in one season than all the shows that ever had a time jump put together.

June 29 2011 at 12:10 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Gary

Could be the kiss of death for them. We tend to get into the habit of watching a favorite a particular time on a particular night and may not always follow them.

June 29 2011 at 11:01 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
peteycat915

How about Mad Men?

June 29 2011 at 10:34 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Liz

I don't watch the other shows but your take on Bones is so far off track, I have to ask did you watch the entire season? There was zero sexual tension between Booth and Brennan, Booth barely tolerated Brennan this season. The only sex and sexual tension on our screen were the scenes between Booth and Hannah, Brennan ended up pregnant and we're still scratching our heads not from dandruff but because we saw nothing between Booth and Brennan that told us they were more than business partners and kinda friends.

June 28 2011 at 11:13 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
rtms

I understand why they are doing this now, as networks simply don't have the money or the patience to wait out a show, not to mention retain the ratings. Law and Order sputtered to a stop and really what was there for them to portray anymore? One reason I think this is done is poor writing now than in the past. These writers get burned out fast with 22-26 season eps and just can't do it any more so they write themselves into a corner where a time jump can absolve them of any thing that was happening.It's becoming cliche and lazy on the show's part.

June 28 2011 at 7:02 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
ALX

What about the biggest sham, Desperate Housewives. The fifth season premiered with the time period jumping five years after the previous season, with some flashbacks to events which happened between the two periods.

And yet now they act as though it never happend...

June 28 2011 at 2:59 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to ALX's comment
jeanbentley1

Oh no! That was definitely on my original list. No idea how that didn't make it into this post...

June 28 2011 at 5:34 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
EuropaE

I’m dating myself but how could you leave off “Dallas” and that whole, Bobby [Ewing] was taking a shower while wife Pamela dreamt an entire season?! Talk about jumping the shark.

Regarding future jumps: The creator of “Castle” has said there will probably be a time jump of some sort towards the beginning of next season regarding Beckett’s recovery from a gunshot wound to the chest. Does anyone know if there are any other shows planning time jumps?

And as for “Bones” and, “all was not forgiven,” speak for yourself. This ex-fan won’t be turning in next season.

June 28 2011 at 2:02 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Purpleslog

No mention of Alias?

June 28 2011 at 12:54 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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