Show of the Day: Time Trax

5 Aug

Show of the Day:

Originally, I figured I’d highlight mostly little-known or relatively obscure shows in this feature, but I want to leave the door open in case I have an itch to scratch about a more popular show for whatever reason.  Here’s the first entry:

Time Trax

This entry is a tribute to my friend, who has a healthy love of all things time travel-related, and is singularly obsessed with a show called Time Trax (obsession is relative – for a show of Time Trax’s level of popularity I consider owning and having seen all the episodes multiple times as obsessed)..

Time Trax ran two seasons, from January 1993 to December 1994, for a grand total of 44 episodes.  The basic plot is as follows – Darien Lambert is a police detective in 2193, two hundred years in the future, in a world where everyone is fitter, smarter, and generally more attractive, due to some sort of Gattica-like natural selection, or something less dystopian – it’s unclear and not really important, though it is noted that white people are in the minority, and “blanco” is a vicious racial slur.  Lambert is portrayed by Dale Midkiff, a TV veteran who has bounced around a bit, and might be best known for starring in Pet Semetary.  The villainous Dr. Mordecai Sahmbi, played by Peter Donat, possibly best known for his role as Fox Mulder’s dad in the X-Files, is a brilliant scientist who has invented a form of time travel technology, and springs a whole bunch of criminals from jail, and sends them back to 1993, where their knowledge and genetic superiority could enable them to take over the world.  Lambert must go back in time to 1993 himself to apprehend the fugitives, at a pace of something like one a week, and send them back to the future where jails can handle them.

Lambert doesn’t have to do it alone, however.  He’s always guided by his handy hologram Australian guide, SELMA(short for Specified Encapsulated Limitless Memory Archive) – kind of his equivalent of Al, from Quantum Leap.  (The show even has an opening narration which is similar to Leap’s).  She’s a computer, but seems to have feelings, and has a motherly relationship with Lambert, who she councils and finds out information for (plane times, crazy things about 1993 with which Lambert is unfamiliar).  Lambert uses his knowledge of martial art Mosh-T, which is a combination of the most effective techniques of martial arts of the past, and the 22nd century’s standard police weapon – an MPPT, or Micro-Pellet Projection Tube, which, although it looks like a mere keyless car remote, is capable of capturing a fugitive in a field of energy, paralyzing him and making it possible to send him back to the future.  (The plot is kind of a reverse Brimstone, an even shorter lived obscure show, which may well be worth its own entry in the future).

Persuaded by my friend, I have seen a number of episodes.  The two I remember most, aside from the pilot, which featured Ferris Bueller’s Day Off’s Mia Sara as a young prodigy who evil Sahmbi is obsessed with, are The Prodigy, which featured a young Rider Strong (of Boy Meets World fame) and Beautiful Songbird, which deals with Lambert trying to protect a young country singer, who he knows will go on to become famous, from a future criminal.  Time Trax was apparently unsuccessful enough to be last new production of Lorimar Productions, which was behind a number of successful shows, including Eight is Enough and TGIF standards Full House, Perfect Strangers, and Hangin’ With Mr. Cooper.  It was successful enough, however, to inspire a truly terrible Super Nintendo game.

I never quite figured out why my friend has such an abiding love for the show, aside from simply the fact it had time travel, but it was by no means a bad show, and certainly deserves a little rememberance.

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