Syfy Channel had already dropped the hammer on its time-travel pilot Rewind before the cable channel aired it on August 26 (story). But now that we’ve seen the start of the show that will never be, we know just how cool it might have been.
SciFi Stream’s readers agree: More than 50 people have commented on our last news item about the pilot, and thousands more discovered that story after watching Rewind and searching the Internet to try and find out when the next episode would air … only to discover that Syfy didn’t like it enough to send it to series.
The show starred Shane McRae as an ex-Special Forces operative Henry Knox, who joins up with a secret program that uses newly-discovered time travel technology to go back in time and alter events — for the benefit of humanity, of course. It incorporated the best of Stargate, Sliders, and The Outer Limits, with potential for both stand-alone episodes and (as the cliffhanger finale revealed) an on-going story arc.
Rather than dwell on the network’s decision to pass on the series, though, we’d rather focus on what Rewind did right. Here are three things we’d have liked to see had Rewind gone to series:
1. BIG STAKES
Rewind starts with an astonishing event: the destruction of New York City and the deaths of millions of innocent people, including those nearest and dearest to our heroes. Rather than a ticking clock that the characters stop juuuuust in the nick of time, the show’s premise allowed it to depict everything — even those old clichés — going horribly, horribly wrong.
Of course, not every week would necessarily provide New York-scale stakes. Smaller, more personal stories of altering the timeline could provide for some emotional, “City on the Edge of Forever” kinds of stories. But the show could have gone big on a pretty regular basis, eventually making it clear that the secret facility was all that stood between the world and total, global annihilation.
2. TEMPORAL PROBLEMS
Rewind is the first show in a long time (with the possible exception of Continuum) to feature time travel as a regular and central part of the plot. Rather than sidelining this staple of science fiction, the pilot put it front-and-center. Dr. Bryce’s facility was built around a super-collider that opened up a window to the past — one that uncontrollably jumps to another destination every few hours.
The premise makes for a huge number of potential stories — not just fixing things that have gone wrong, but challenges that are time-related themselves. What if the team doesn’t make it back to the window before it jumps? Can the jump to delayed, or forced to happen early? What if the machine breaks mid-mission? What if it sends them to the wrong time period? Or if someone from the past stumbles through to the present? Stargate told a lot of great stories that involved the gate itself going haywire, and Rewind could have done some very cool things here.
3. TOUGH QUESTIONS
Despite the big stakes, there is actually a pretty provocative question running underneath the surface of the pilot episode — especially after the team’s first mission is such a resounding success: Should they also change small things? Just how big does an event have to be in order to warrant the rewriting of events? What about a small town’s lack of preparedness for a deadly storm? Or the accidental death of one individual?
Good science fiction excels at posing difficult questions, including ethical dilemmas and “What If?” scenarios. That’s why Rewind is good science fiction: the concept is based on this. Should the heroes go back to the 1920s? How much can they get away with altering? If they wind up stuck in the past, would they really take suicide pills? If they can kill their target without any major ripples in history … should they? Is it right? Does the salvation of 7 million people justify the preemptive murder of a (mostly) innocent man?
These are the things that Rewind could have grappled with in a way that no sci-fi show has done in a long, long time. And that may be why we’re going to miss it most.
What did you think of Rewind?
I was so taken to make sure that I set my Tivo for the premiere of rewind and found it very entertaining and like other great novels,Jules Vernes voyage etc.all could come to pass.
seeing, as i am probably the last commenter now but wont be the last and i apologize if i have spoilers in here for some stuff…
i watched rewind on youtube after coming across it by total fluke on my playstation 3 console. always, always searching for good lore and story based shows, films and games. And rewind was a master-stroke of most that i have watched. I actually understood the pilot with my minimal education here in ireland…
no matter what people produce now a days, will always touch base on something that has happened as, well… This quote will suffice and i think most will get it…
“From the dawn of humankind, men have fought each other with tools and instruments, the technology has always changed, but war… war never changes”
in short it means this… You are bound to touch something that touches someone deeply as everything else as history has a habit of always repeating itself, but it evolves and this show… Rewind has evolved from what others refer to as the theoretical genre. It took grasped of the topics that honestly many people ask… like “what would you do if you met a washout artist while time travelling called Adolph” which a show did touch base on that and showed how the world changed because of the super power “time travel” in Misfits… 1-2 episodes and possibly others showed what each character thought and acted with the knowledge that they possessed… But not much grand information like the pilot of Rewind gave….
My mind has been overflowing by the possibilities that Rewind has to offer, like their research staff with the time-ripple machine and thousands, if not zillions of “WHAT IF” Scenarios happening, if the writers need help with that information, i can help out… No, i am not seeking to work for cash, id just do this for food, bed and the satisfaction in knowing that a lot of science fiction fans would be happy to see this show flourish, grow and adapt in situations…
Dare i say a what if scenario now?
If its funding that is a problem, fans have always raised cash to show a ending happening after a cliff hanger cancellation.. 13 episodes long called “Firefly”, fans world wide helped a kick starter happen and later on in years, their ending happened with “Serenity”… Those loyal fans done the legwork in contacting directors, cast and the likes, until someone smiled and it happened and that film answered a lot of questions for us….
I think, id like to end my commenting now with this..
If the fans, new ones like me and those who would like to see this show, funded a kick starter for another film to see the cliffhanger end and myself, Fin giving all my knowledge with help of fans and the likes to see this through… Then just contact me, this site has my email from my comment login, I’m sure, if someone on the site likes this idea, just show this comment to those like the cast and such and they want to continue this wonderful, fruitful idea and see what minor changes could be done without effecting the grander scheme of things in the present and future without the pond rippling so much as to sunder time-space continuum… But just make a ever small change without anyone noticing and seeing a show go past its golden years, if not films… Contact me via the email (The site has my permission to give my email to those of the show), ill be happy to help out, even if its just from my own home.
I would like to see Rewind come to be something to remembered and cherished always by fans alike the world over.
I just finished watching the pilot, and firstly, it was extremely close to a story I had been writing while I was in the Navy. It wasn’t ever finished but the premise was the same. A group of people built a device that used a pico grain of matter that had properties that matter from a neutron star would have. The intense gravity this tiny bit of matter had caused so many folds and creases in the space-time continuum that time itself was also folded. My characters would see what disastrous consequences would lead to and they would travel through time changing things minutely to keep Earth on the best possible path. Those who read my story thought it had potential. Because I was in the Nuclear field training command and had nearly 20 hr days for 6 months, I never got to finish my story. When I was transferred to my new command, my roommate kept my computer that had my story saved on it. Major bummer.
Seeing this story makes me feel like my vision was one that did in fact have potential. So, this puts a sad smile on my face. Glad that it might have worked, and sad because I may have been able to entertain and inspire others. I think SyFy should reevaluate whether this series should be produced after all.
I thought it was great. SYFY should be kicked in the back side for not testing it!!!!
Just caught this on youtube and thought it was a real good basis for a series. The pilot got me hooked real quick. Bit short sighted to cancel it.