Review: Syfy’s “12 Monkeys” (TV Series)

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When it was first announced that Syfy was going to be making a 12 Monkeys television series based on the 1995 Twelve Monkeys movie, I have to admit I was a little apprehensive. I wasn’t exactly sure they could pull this off, especially taking 131 minutes of film and stretching the story out over multiple seasons if it were to be so lucky. Based on many fans reactions to the announcement, it seemed as though I wasn’t alone either. Some fans were outraged over this too. Now I certainly wouldn’t say I was angry about it, just confused.

So this weekend I did a little catching up on shows that I have been behind on and decided to watch the 12 Monkeys Pilot episode and second episode, “Mentally Divergent“. After watching the two 1-hour episodes, I have to say I’m hooked. This series has shown in the first 2 episodes that it very well might have what it takes to make it a few seasons and be something worth checking out.

Now this isn’t a reboot of the 1995 movie, but a retelling of that story (which is actually based on La Jetée). The main character James Cole, who was played by Bruce Willis in the movie, is played by Aaron Stanford in this TV series. Fans will recognize Stanford from X-Men 2 and X-Men: Last Stand as John Allerdyce, aka Pyro. He does a great job as time traveling soldier out to rewrite history. Joining Stanford is Amanda Schull, who plays Dr. Cassandra Railly. In the movie, the role of Railly was played by Madeleine Stowe, whose name was Dr. Kathryn Railly. So a slight name change there.

Those looking for Brad Pitt’s character, Jeffrey Goines, well they did a gender change. The character is now Jennifer Goines, who is played by Emily Hampshire, and she does a fantastic job playing the crazy genius. Goines father, who in the film was played by Christopher Plummer, is played by Zeljko Ivanek in the series.

The start of the story is like that of the film with James Cole who is sent back in time to put a stop to the epidemic that wipes out billions of people in the future. He must find the source of the outbreak and stop it. He has limited time in the past, then he is pulled back into the future. So the show jumps back and forth from the past, so far mostly between 2013 to 2015, to the future, 2043. As he does this, more clues and questions are revealed about what was the initial cause for all of this, including The Army of the 12 Monkeys. You will find that after the first episode, this is where the direct similarities end and the TV series will be writing its own path.

If you enjoyed the movie, or just looking for a smart and interesting sci-fi show to check out, then I highly recommend checking out Syfy’s 12 Monkeys. You can watch the first two episodes on On Demand now, and on Syfy’s website here.

Syfy’s 12 Monkeys TV Series Trailer:

9-Minute Preview:

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