Syfy's 12 Monkeys Turns On Try, Try Again (and Again)

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12 Monkeys on Syfy

Adapting the 1995 Bruce Willis film, Syfy's 12 MONKEYS sticks to the premise of a time traveler from a few decades into the future coming back to present day (and, perhaps, even years earlier) in an attempt to track down and eradicate the initial source of a plague that would wipe out nearly all of humanity in his time. However, details of the plague's origin are murky, so applying "fixes" risk breaking things even more.

Dr. Cassandra Railly (Amanda Schull, PRETTY LITTLE LIARS) is a rising star in her field -- or was, back in 2013. That was before she was carjacked by a stranger who insists he needs her help finding a man named Leland Frost. He claims he's a time traveler, and the terrified Dr. Railly believes him insane -- until the moment the police arrive and he blinks out of existence.

In 2015, Dr. Railly is no longer the prominent physician she was becoming, having been disgraced for adhering to a belief that she was contacted by a time traveler. But she clings to one hope -- the traveler said he would meet her at a certain location, in 2015. And it is there she once again encounters Cole (Aaron Stanford, NIKITA). Only moments have passed for him, even though it's been two years for her. Two years, and she still has questions for Cole, but no answers for him.

We've been down this road plenty of times, with stories like TERMINATOR. The future comes back to kill a single person because that person will be responsible for an apocalypse (or, in the case of TERMINATOR, the prevention of one). With 12 MONKEYS, you almost get the feeling that the pilot episode treads dangerously near "one and done" in its storyline, as Cole has his sought for encounter with Leland (Zeljko Ivanek, TRUE BLOOD). And it's after this point where 12 MONKEYS starts to get seriously, addictively good.

The series also stars Noah Bean (NIKITA) as Aaron Marker, Railly's former paramour and someone politically well-connected, FRINGE's Kirk Acevedo, and Emily Hampshire in a performance that, in merely the five closing seconds of the pilot episode, will simultaneously chill and hook you.

Make time for 12 MONKEYS -- before they make time for you.

12 MONKEYS debuts Friday, January 16 on Syfy.

 

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Grade: 
4.0 / 5.0