Time Travel TV Comparison: Dark vs 12 Monkeys vs Travelers

A reader requested that we write up a compare and contrast review between 12 Monkeys and Dark. Now that all of the Dark recaps are done, we thought we’d do that, and add in Travelers, the other fan favorite time travel show around here.

All 3 shows premiered and completed their runs between 2015 and 2020. They are all anchored in the present day, but also take place in the future and the past. They all deal with dystopian futures which the main characters want to prevent using time travel and the knowledge of events they’ve gained through time travel and advanced technology. All 3 also have ensemble casts that include time travelers, their handlers and mad scientists, though the groups tend to be fluid- almost everyone will time travel or have a good idea eventually.

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Dark: What Did It All Mean? Thoughts on Season 3 and the Ending

Dark S3Ep8 Jonas & Martha Disintegrate from Bridge

Because of the odd structure of season 3 of Dark, there were several ideas that I wanted to write about that didn’t fit into any of the recaps. I’m going to discuss some of the ongoing metaphors and and plot points here that I couldn’t easily explain in my regular posts without spoiling future episodes or making the final recap overlong.

Reader beware- spoilers for all 3 seasons and 26 episodes of Dark ahead!

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Agents of SHIELD Season 7 Episode 8: Why Use Avatar The Last Airbender as the Theme for an 80s Episode?

NATALIA CORDOVA-BUCKLEY, MING-NA WEN

Episode 8 Recap

Throughout S7, Agents of SHIELD has used film and TV themes and tropes from the eras it’s visited in each episode to help tell the story. In S7Ep8, After, Before, which took place in 1983, the show broke from this tradition and explicitly referenced two 21st century shows- Avatar the Last Airbender (2005) and its sequel series The Legend of Korra (2012), both from Nickelodeon.

I found this confusing, since both series were influenced by the Japanese animation style of anime and by Eastern cultures, but they are made by two white, American men, so they are actually neither anime nor Asian. It didn’t make sense to include them in this episode as 80s or Eastern shows. When I write it out like that in a single sentence and you’ve already seen the episode, I imagine the connection becomes obvious, but it took awhile for me to remember those facts about the Avatar series and make the connection.

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Dark Season 3 Full Length Trailer and Analysis: Gordian Knots and Second Natures

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Netflix has released another trailer for season 3 of Dark. This one is fast paced and full of intriguing images. I’ve learned one very important thing from it.

I refuse to live in a world without Jonas. Or Winden. Why only 3 seasons, Netflix, why?

Trailer and analysis after the cut.

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Star Trek: Picard- Beautiful Minds and Beautiful Flower with a Side of Yridian Tea- Two Clues Explained

Star Trek Picard S1E8 Rios Looks at Drawing

Spoilers through episode 8.

In episode 8 of Star Trek: Picard, Broken Pieces, La Sirena’s emergency holograms complain that their memories have been tampered with. And it’s not just major pieces of information about Rios’ former ship the Ibn Majid that have been removed. Mr Hospitality claims that seemingly trivial bits were deleted by Captain Rios, using the example that now he doesn’t know the proper temperature to serve Yridian tea at. The emergency navigation holo mentions that his knowledge of Medusan astronavigation is gone.

These two bits seem like they might just be comedic throwaway lines, but I think they’re much more. Telepathy links Yridian tea and the Medusans. It’s also an underplayed aspect of Star Trek: Picard.

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Star Trek: Picard- Color Theory Explained (Through Episode 8)

Star Trek Picard S1E1- The Blue and Red Skies of Picard's Dream
Star Trek Picard S1E1- The Blue and Red Skies of Picard’s Dream

From the first moments of Jean Luc Picard’s dream in the pilot, Star Trek: Picard has been using a color scheme as part of its symbolism. Picard’s dream about Data, 5 queens, drinking tea and the attack on Mars is one prescient symbol after another. In this post, let’s examine how the creators of the show are using color.

The most symbolically important colors are red, green and blue. Gold/yellow, orange and white also play a lesser role. When the colors mix, the message is more complex. Fire/flames/explosions and the use of lighting are closely tied to the use of color. Often color will be expressed through lighting, sometimes as a hazy wash of colored light. Gold is particularly used this way on Chateau Picard and in Picard’s holographic study on La Sirena. Green is almost exclusively used in Romulan lighting, except for the greenery on Nepenthe, a few items of green clothing and Soji’s eyes. Red can be in the form of light, but if it is, most often it comes as a form of fire, tied to red’s core meaning of “real”.

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Star Trek: Picard- Is Zhaban a Member of the Zhat Vash?

Star Trek Picard S1E1 Jamie McShane as Zhaban
Is Zhaban a member of the Zhat Vash?

Since Zhaban/Jamie Mcshane is listed on IMDB as appearing in episode 8, I want to quickly write about a theory I’ve been considering since early in the season. Could Zhaban, who we know is a former member of the Romulan secret police known as the Tal Shiar, also belong to the even more secret Romulan spy agency, the Zhat Vash? It’s possible that he’s been living with Picard for the last 14 years as a deeply embedded spy, watching for a synth to arrive.

I don’t want to believe this of the kindly caretaker and vintner either, but hear me out.

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The Testaments by Margaret Atwood: Spoilery Discussion

Power of the Pen

My non spoilery review of The Testaments is HERE. This post will comment on the book in detail and assumes readers have already finished reading it.

This is going to be a series of observations and analysis, in no particular order, rather than a straight review. I’d love to hear what everyone else thinks and if you agree or disagree with me. There are minor spoilers for the TV series The Handmaid’s Tale.

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Dark Season 2: Complete List of Characters with Histories and Analysis

Dark S2Ep1 Adam's Family Tree Board

Adam’s Family Tree Board: All individual photos are young versions of the characters. Left Panel: Hannah, Jonas; Doris; Egon, Claudia; Regina, Aleksander/Boris; Bartosz. Center Panel: Hannah, Jonas, Michael/Mikkel, Ines; Peter, Charlotte, Franziska, Elisabeth; Aleksander,Bartosz, Regina; Ulrich, Magnus, Martha, Katharina, Mikkel; Silja, Noah, Agnes. Right Panel: Noah?, Charlotte; Peter; Franziska, Elisabeth; Tronte, Jana, Mads; Katharina, Ulrich; Magnus, Martha; Mikkel.

Adam uses the youngest version available for his individual photos in his version of Claudia’s Winden Family Tree board. While Claudia’s board doesn’t cover the entire town, it covers most of the characters who play a significant role in season 1, and shows them in each of their phases of life. Adam’s is much more exclusive- he’s only interested in narrowing down the survivors of his apocalypse and their immediate predecessors.

Season 1 Character Board

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Dark Season 1: Complete List of Characters

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From the Horned God to Dionysus: The Men and Mythology of Netflix’s Dark

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This Seems Like a Good Time to Talk About Ulrich as a Horned God (Who Is Tied in Knots)

**Spoilers through Season 2 Episode 8**

Okay, let’s give this a whirl. As you might imagine, Horned Gods aren’t my specialty, so I’ve done some research. But also, by the end of season 2, everything metaphorical in Dark is twisted and tangled together, just like the storylines. In season 1, we had nice, neat metaphors presented in ways that couldn’t be missed, with deeper meanings there if you wanted to search for them.

But, before we go any further, a warning. I can’t ignore current events while I’m writing this, and that’s not what I’m about, anyway. This piece was always going to examine the characters, mythology and their connection to the real world. Then the real world didn’t give me a choice. The creators of Dark didn’t choose to have boys be the ones to disappear simply to give women a break from victimization. The boys of the real world are making themselves disappear, and they’re often doing it while armed to the teeth.

They set the show in a town which was losing its main source of employment and then put that town through a slow dystopia which led to a fast apocalypse. This is what Western culture has put itself through since the 1970s, when corporations began moving manufacturing jobs from their traditional bases, and the towns whose original farming and small business economies were destroyed by the factories in the 19th century were now destroyed by the factories leaving.

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