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Originally uploaded to the Amentet BBS ("Low Oxygen" Section) in February
Did you catch the pilot of "TimeTrax" the other night? It had me hooked at the beginning - I get a real buzz from images of possible futures. (That's why I love SF at the cinema.) It was an intriguing view of 2193 and the visuals were great, all those aerial vehicles and nifty electronic displays. I also approved of the costumes which looked very 18th-century. (I think it's a mistake to think that in the future we'll be all wearing one-piece jumpsuits. It's far more likely, I believe, that fashions will continue to go through cycles. There's nothing so ridiculous that it won't be *all-the-rage* at some time! This includes, probably, hot-pink spacesuits and dyed-mohawks for kindergarteners.)
Oh well the plot of "TimeTrax" involved a scientist whose time machine would only transport you back to 1993 - and, for a price, he'd send anyone back there. (Strictly illegally of course!) Thus our hero, a police captain, is cheezed-off that criminals he's about to apprehend keep disappearing. Eventually he finds out about the secret time travel facility.
In this SF tale time travel requires (in addition to the "usual" apparatus) a drug which makes the physical body able to travel through other dimensions. (The time travel theory seems a bit confused to me. Something about alternate worlds/timelines. Maybe *the* 1993 is an alternative world where time hasn't progressed so far?) However - you can only take two(?) doses of this drug before your body carks it! So our intrepid hero takes the drug, jumps in the reaction chamber and it's back to Chicago in 1993 in search of criminals from the future. Taking along of course some nifty technology.
This is where I began to lose interest in the movie. A look at 2193 and it's idiosyncrasies was splendid ("18th century" costumes, whites being a minority race and subject to racism, our hero with an IQ of 204 being just a little over average (!), that splendiferous flying police vehicle), and time travel is always interesting! But Chicago 1993 and a manhunt - how *mundane!* Even with his nifty technology - it's all been done before in any number of cop shows. I fear that with the time-machine only capable of sending folks back 200 years (in use from 2182-2193), and him not being able to make trips back and forth because of the drug's lethality - that fascinating concepts have had to be discarded.
Imagine instead - if you will - 100 missing criminals scattered throughout the centuries. Imagine that the only way you could find where they were was to search ancient records and study history - historical detective work. You can travel back and forth in time as often as you will - and each time is a new adventure in a different place.
Imagine further that everytime you apprehend a criminal you change history. You return to 2193 to find a world subtly altered. Each time the changes are cumulative - people change, technologies evolve differently, you have to get used to new social mores. You could begin season one in a police-state in 2193 - all heavy metal, cyberpunk and big guns; and end the last season in a bright airy pastel-coloured hippy anarchist commune! (or vice versa depending on your preferences.)
I *won't* be watching "TimeTrax" if it's all manhunts in 1993, and no more views of that interestingly different 2193.
Copyright © 1995 by Michael F. Green. All rights reserved.
Last Updated: 16 March 2003