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  • Making History Has a Fun Premise a Great Cast and Maybe One

    first_imgI’m a huge sucker for time travel stories. It’s far and away my favorite of all science fiction tropes. Watching people mess around with the past and seeing how it affects the future will never get old for me, nor will traveling to the future and seeing how things work out for humanity. I. Love. Time travel. So you can imagine how disappointing it was to tune into another new time travel show to find it does absolutely nothing interesting or funny with the premise.There are a ton of great time travel shows on TV right now. NBC has Timeless. Syfy has 12 Monkeys. The CW has both Legends of Tomorrow and Frequency. If you’re putting out a new TV show involving time travel these days, you have to bring a unique twist to it. Leading up to last night’s premiere, it looked like Making History was going to do just that. There are a lot of time travel shows, but none of them are also raunchy stoner comedies. That could have been so much fun. On paper, it sounds great. It’s the classic mess-up-history-and-fix-your-mistakes story combined with poop and pop culture jokes. There’s just one problem. It’s not that funny.Yassir Lester as Chris (Credit: Quantrell Colbert/FOX)Most of the jokes are lazy references with no punchline beyond quoting a 1990s movie in 1775. The rest of them are scatological gags that are telegraphed so far in advance that all surprise and humor are lost. There is maybe one joke that manages to be intelligent, funny and well-crafted. It’s the moment when Deborah Revere (Leighton Meester) asks Dan (Adam Pally) and Chris (Yassir Lester) if black and white people are friends in the future. The two men have wildly different answers. That’s it. That’s the one clever joke in the entire half-hour pilot.Everything else is a wasted opportunity. While it’s kind of funny that Adam’s only proof that the American Revolution didn’t happen is that Starbucks serves tea and someone is eating fish and chips, wouldn’t there be so much more humor in exploring what America would be like under British rule? I get that the show only has half an hour (well, 20 minutes, really), but I can’t help thinking that would have been a better use of the show’s time than having Chris drink John Hancock’s pee.Adam Pally as Dan and Leighton Meester as Deborah Revere (Credit: Quantrell Colbert/FOX)It’s really a shame because the cast is fantastic. Pally and Lester have great comedic timing and bounce off of each other really well. The writing doesn’t match their talents, but they do everything they can to wring extra humor from the script they were given. Lester’s reactions to going back in time are genuine and hilarious. Pally is likable as Dan and Meester’s wide-eyed curiosity is fun, and could lead to some amusing situations now that she’s in 2016.Part of the problem is that because there are so many time travel shows out there right now, every aspect of Making History is being done better somewhere else. Want wacky hijinks? Watch Legends of Tomorrow. Want to see how mucking about in the past changes the present? Watch Timeless or  Frequency. Want science fiction combined with smart, occasionally scatological humor? Watch Rick and Morty. (It’s not time travel, but inter-dimensional travel is, even more, fun.) With so many sci-fi shows competing for your time, it’s hard to think of a reason to devote even half an hour to this one.Adam Pally as Dan and Leighton Meester as Deborah (Credit: Daniel McFadden/FOX)Making History isn’t completely without laughs, but aside from the great work on the part of its cast, most of the jokes are lazy pop culture references. Since it’s not doing anything especially interesting with its time travel premise, its jokes were all the show had to stand on. It’s a shame because it had so much potential. And hey, pilots are hard. It’s entirely possible that the show picks up next week and becomes a great sci-fi comedy. If more pop culture references are all it has to offer, though, that’s going to get real old quick.last_img read more