The Syfy channel is taking an unconventional approach to airing the upcoming 3rd season of 12 Monkeys by airing the entire season over 3 nights in what they are dubbing as a ‘binge-a-thon’. The event will start Friday May 19th and concludes on Sunday the 21st. The setup will kickoff with four episodes on Friday, and followed with three episodes each on Saturday and Sunday. While I cannot predict how viewers will react to the airing format I do believe 12 Monkey fans will embrace it. The series is a stand-out to me because of its emphasis on character development as well as the raw emotion portrayed by the actors, which is astounding. In my opinion I feel that 12 Monkeys is best viewed in a binge so this event is perfect for me.
12 Monkeys primarily takes place in a post-apocalyptic 2043, after the world has been devastated by a plague in the early part of the 21st century. The story develops slowly as it is revealed to Cole (played by Aaron Stanford), who was a young child when the world changed. Along his travels in time, Cole is joined by a virologist from 2015, Dr. Cassie Railly (Amanda Schull). The objective and mission is Season 1 is basically “we want to prevent the plague” however their mission is complicated due to the fact the team is also learning how time travel works. This leads to a few mistakes due to not understanding the causality of time travel. At the same time the team is also fighting against a malevolent organization, the ‘Army of the 12 Monkeys’. In Season 2, the objective changes where Cole and Cassie embark on a search across time to find the leader of the Army of the 12 Monkeys, a time traveler who calls himself ‘The Witness’.
SyFy’s programming has given us a good look into outer space with series like The Expanse, Dark Matter, and Killjoys. 12 Monkeys is infinitely satisfying for viewers who like technology & science but it can also appeal to a wider audience. Hands down this is the best hardcore time travel series on television. It reminds me of Gregory Benford’s award winning novel TimeScape. The plot is complex, in a good way, therefore the ability to binge the episodes in a block will allow the more casual viewer to fully immerse themselves in the show and provide the superfans with a block of episodes to dig in to and speculate.
The first two seasons are available on Hulu and written recaps can be found at Syfy.com. Be sure to catch the last episode of Season 2 to get yourself up to speed before the premiere on Friday.
In advance of the premiere this weekend, I was given the opportunity to get a early look at Season 3. I watched the first 4 episodes. I am not going to spoil any of the details but will give you a hint, it is well written and powerfully acted, with a surprising depth of character development. Those elements combine into a satisfying and wild ride. If the rest of the season 3 is anything close to the first 4 episodes, we are in for an extraordinary event. One thing is for certain we need to remember the often repeated phrase from the introduction to the episodes, “Begins at the end and ends at the beginning”.
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