YouTube Red, usually full of indie films, released a time travel show produced by our future president, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. Despite this endorsement, the show is still somewhere between bad and mediocre. There will be spoilers in this review.
Lifeline, an unusual insurance company, implants computer chips into their clients arms. These chips track the client’s vitals 33 days in the future. When they realize the client will die in 33 days, Lifeline sends an agent into the future to save the client. Here’s the problem: They seem to not know the circumstances of the death. They just see the client’s future heartbeat (the lifeline!) on a big screen. It’s not like in Minority Report where they had a video of the future death to help them prepare. In Lifeline, they just send one agent with a gun and hope that will be enough. What if the client dies in a violent shootout?
Well, surprise, in the first episode an agent is killed in a violent shootout trying to save a client. It’s later revealed she was wearing a Lifeline too. Why didn’t an agent come from a month ago to try and save her too? Most of these characters should be constantly yelling about how nothing in this show makes sense. Conner ignores all that and focuses on finding his wife’s killer.
Meanwhile, Norah, the daughter of another victim of the shootout, becomes an orphan. She’s adopted by basically Uncle Vernon and Aunt Petunia from Harry Potter. They try to force her to admit her father deserved death, then lock her in the closet, very similar to Vernon and Petunia Dursley. But at least Harry Potter’s Dursleys had some motivation. They were trying to prevent any magical ability in Harry by abusing him instead of nurturing him. These one dimensional clones appear to just be villains for the sake of being villains. Conner gives Norah a Lifeline for no reason except to make her one of the main characters.
As for the time travel itself, it has some potential. There’s an unchangeable timeline mixed with multiple timelines, something we don’t see very often. Apparently, when the agent jumps forward in time he arrives in another timeline. That means in the original timeline the agent never arrived and the client still died. The show seems to constantly jump from timeline to timeline each time a trip is made, never showing the original timeline, except once in the cold open. Only Norah questions this, but she’s silenced and told to focus on the present. It’s fairly obvious this will become more important in a future episode.
Here’s the verdict: Lifeline is worth watching if you enjoy laughing at poorly made SciFi. Most characters are one dimensional, most acting seems either wooden or hammy, the plot doesn’t make sense, but at least there’s time travel. Watch episode 1 here.
One more thing before I go. Andy Basiago claims that future presidents are given a glimpse into their future to know for sure they will be elected. Interesting coincidence that Dwayne “The President” Johnson is now releasing this show…
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