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    Why have time travel romances gone the way of time travel TV series – Canceled
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  • Published: Mar 29th, 2009

CanceledI love time travel, books, television and movies.  It’s almost an obsession.  When I first began reading romance, I searched out every time travel romance there was.  I went deep into author’s back lists, I scoured the bookshelves, I asked for recommendations.  I couldn’t get enough.  When it comes to time travel television shows, all they have to do is promote a new one and that hour is booked on my schedule.  However,  based on the number of TV shows canceled and the dearth of books published, it would appear I’m one of the lonely few who enjoy the subject.

When it comes to canceled TV shows there are any number of them.  For example:

Journeyman  was a series about San Francisco reporter, Dan Vasser who involuntarily traveled through time.   His purpose was to help change something in the past that would have a profound effect on the future.  As the series progressed I was invested in finding out why he was suddenly ‘gifted’ with this power, but NBC axed the series before I could find out.

Odyssey 5 was the story of a spaceship crew traveling on mission when Earth exploded. As the crew awaits certain death, they are suddenly sent back fives years in time in an attempt to discover why Earth exploded and prevent its destruction. Despite being one of Showtime’s highest rated original series, they pulled the plug.

Recently ABC canceled Life On Mars after it’s freshman season. The story of NYC police detective Sam Tyler who, after being hit by a car in 2008, finds himself in the year 1973.  The audience is left to wonder, has Sam really traveled through time, or is he lying in a coma in the present dreaming these things?

My point is, one minute you’re watching characters trying to cope in situations that are completely foreign to them, and the next minute your left hanging.  I feel the romance industry has left me hanging.  Several years ago you could buy any number of time travel books – now you really have to search.

So what is it with time travel and books and television?  Is it because the whole subject struggles with the age old question: Can we ever really change the past or are we better just moving forward and creating the future?

34 Responses to “Why have time travel romances gone the way of time travel TV series – Canceled”

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  1. Kati
    on Mar 29th, 2009
    @ 9:02 am

    Mornin’ Maria, well, you’re not gonna wanna hear this, but LOST is pretty much all about time travel these days. And it’s MINDBLOWING.

    I think part of the time travel thing is that so many stumble when doing it, you know? If it’s done well, it can be stupendous. But if it’s done badly, well….


  2. Maria Lokken
    on Mar 29th, 2009
    @ 9:08 am

    Hey Girl – You’re right LOST this season is all about TIME TRAVEL. And it is mind blowing. I’m hooked, not doubt about it. BUT – because of their time travel scenario they’ve lost millions of viewers. It’s a good thing they have a contract to complete the series next year, otherwise, the way the networks just yank shows off because a show’s viewership has dropped, I fear LOST would be in trouble.

    The main problem with LOST is that you can’t just drop in. If you’re not up to date with the story line – you have NO idea what the heck is going on.

    And we all know how Marisa feels about LOST. If she knew the world was ending in a couple of days, she’d seek out the producers Carlton Cuse and Damon Lindelof and physically force them to tell her how this series ends.


  3. Buffie
    on Mar 29th, 2009
    @ 9:19 am

    Maria — I’m not too sure about time travel tv because I really don’t watch those shows. I like to leave time travel to my imagination. That is why I love to read about them. My favorites are by Karin Marie Moning. I just love her Highlander series.


  4. Marisa
    on Mar 29th, 2009
    @ 9:24 am

    Maria – you ain’t just whistling Dixie – I so would seek out the producers of LOST and make them tell me how it ends.

    As for time travel books – my favorite time travels like Kiss of a Highlander by Karen Marie Moning, or Outlander by Diana Gabaldon, or Linda Howard’s Son of the Morning – well I could read a ton more books like that. I love time travel books, movies, TV shows – I say there aren’t enough and I want to know why. I love the whole scenario of what to do in a different place or time – or the other part of time travel – would we do something different if we could go back. It intrigues me.


  5. Kati
    on Mar 29th, 2009
    @ 9:57 am

    Maria – Are we sure that LOST is losing people BECAUSE of the time travel element? I think it’s partially because as you’ve said, you can’t miss a single episode. I’ve literally NEVER missed an episode, and since it’s been five years, that’s a lot of dedication. But you’re right, I think if there weren’t an end point in sight, it might be harder to stick with the story.

    Have you ever read THE HOUSE ON THE STRAND by Daphne duMaurier? It’s one of my all time favorite time travels. Not necessarily a romance (although there are some romantic overtones), but it is truly superb and a terrific example of time travel. There’s also Time and Again, which one of my nieces read for her 8th grade English class. Also a wonderful story.

    As for movies, did you ever see Timeline? It was a book by Michael Crichton (which was even better), but the movie had Gerard Butler in it. It definitely wasn’t a great movie, but it’s entertaining in any case.


  6. Kati
    on Mar 29th, 2009
    @ 10:01 am

    TOTALLY OT…OMG! SQUEE, I just saw the Lisa Kleypas will be joining us on Tuesday. WOOOOOOHOOOOOO!

    Can’t even wait!


  7. Maria Lokken
    on Mar 29th, 2009
    @ 10:03 am

    Kati – Yeah – I’ve read that they were losing folks because of the time travel. But, you can’t believe everything you read.

    I’m a huge fan of Karen Marie Moning’s Highlander series, and of course read all of the Outlander series, although I think the first three books in the series were the best. After that, if was just too unbelievable for me. I have read Time and Again – beautiful story. I have NOT read The House on the Strand and I’m a big fan of Daphne duMaurier – so I’ll have to check it out.

    I did read the Time Traveler’s Wife – (they’ve made it into a film) – but I didn’t like the book. I had no sympathy for the main protagonist. I felt he was ‘cruel’ in a subtle way.


  8. Maria Lokken
    on Mar 29th, 2009
    @ 10:04 am

    Ohhh – and I really like the Timeline the book and the film…


  9. PJ
    on Mar 29th, 2009
    @ 10:22 am

    I haven’t gotten into time travel movies or TV much but I adore my time travel books and I’ve been reading them for years. There are a lot of terrific time travel romances out there by Teresa Medeiros, Janet Chapman, Jude Deveraux, Veronica Wolff, Linda Lael Miller, Karen Marie Moning, Sandra Hill and many more talented writers.


  10. PJ
    on Mar 29th, 2009
    @ 10:25 am

    I’ll second that SQUEEEEEEE for Lisa coming Tuesday then follow it with tears because I’ll be in class from 8:30 – 5:00. ::Sob:: Maybe I’ll get lucky since she’s on the west coast and she’ll still be around when I get home. Keeping my fingers crossed!


  11. Deb Mullins
    on Mar 29th, 2009
    @ 12:24 pm

    BACK TO THE FUTURE was great for time travel; I never get tired of it. And who can forget SOMEWHERE IN TIME? *Love* Christopher Reeve and Jane Seymour in that one! As for books, I recently read ONE WITH THE DARKNESS by Susan Squires where her vampire heroine travels from the 19th century back in time to ancient Rome. Very, very different and she made it work.

    Waving to Maria and Marisa!


  12. katiebabs
    on Mar 29th, 2009
    @ 12:28 pm

    Lost is all about time travel this season and IMO it is the best season ever! I am not a big fan of time travel books, but Diana Gabaldon really hit on something. Her next book in the Outlander series this fall should do really well.
    ACK JAMIE!


  13. TerryS
    on Mar 29th, 2009
    @ 12:28 pm

    The original British version of Life on Mars is available on DVD and definitely worth watching!


  14. Buffie
    on Mar 29th, 2009
    @ 12:30 pm

    Hey Debra!!! So happy to see you stopping in. I’m the reader who pretty much stalked you all over cyperspace after your book JUST ONE TOUCH. LOL!!! It is in my top 5 reads of all time. I remember going on and on and on about how wonderful that book was at every web forum or blog I could find.

    I absolutely love the BACK TO THE FUTURE trilogy. In fact, the hubby and I watch it every now and again.


  15. Kati
    on Mar 29th, 2009
    @ 12:47 pm

    Maria – I thought *I* was the only person on the planet who didn’t love THE TIME TRAVELER’S WIFE. I found the plot device to be beyond distracting and frankly, hard to understand.

    That being said, I’m ALL IN on seeing the movie. Eric Bana and Rachel McAdams? Please.


  16. Maria Lokken
    on Mar 29th, 2009
    @ 12:56 pm

    Deb -waving back at you! Yeah, Back to the Future is a wonderful film.

    Katibabs – another in the Outlander series? And Jamie is still alive? I missed the last two – I might have to go back and pick those up.

    Kati – I’m in too for the Time Traveler’s Wife movie. Couldn’t agree with you more about the book. But I’ll say again, the protagonist was unsympathetic. He had no ‘backbone’. At the end of the book I felt nothing for him.


  17. Maria Lokken
    on Mar 29th, 2009
    @ 12:57 pm

    And what TerryS says is true, if you haven’t seen the original BBC version of “Life On Mars” rent it. It’s great.


  18. Deb Mullins
    on Mar 29th, 2009
    @ 1:45 pm

    Buffie, my hubby was an extra in Back to the Future way back when. He was one of the students walking through the halls of the high school. We’ve nicknamed that movie “Jay’s Elbow” since that’s about all you see of him LOL

    Does anyone remember LOVE ONCE IN PASSING by Jo Ann Simon? Awesome time travel romance published in the 80’s that was re-released a few years ago by Imajinn books. There was a sequel LOVE ONCE AGAIN that was also reissued.


  19. Andrea
    on Mar 29th, 2009
    @ 1:47 pm

    Oooooo! I enjoy time travels, too, if they’re done well. When I was a teenager, I watched that show Quantum Leap. It was cute. My sister loves the movie Kate & Leopold and keeps telling me I need to see it. As for books, I loved Victoria Alexander’s Yesterday & Forever and Believe, Teresa Medeiros’s Touch of Enchantment (haven’t read the companion book), Lisa Kleypas’s Give Me Tonight, and Legend by Jude Deveraux. I enjoy it more when the hero/heroine of today goes back in time.

    And I’ll add my squeeeeeeeee that Lisa K is going to visit!! 😀


  20. Maria Lokken
    on Mar 29th, 2009
    @ 1:52 pm

    Deb – I’m going to have add those to my list since I am a self professed time travel freak.

    Andrea – girlfriend. Kate & Leopold – a must rental. Time travel romance in a movie. And, Hugh Jackman’s in it. What more can you ask?


  21. heidenkind
    on Mar 29th, 2009
    @ 2:50 pm

    I’m also sad that LIFE ON MARS is being canceled. 🙁 I don’t know why that show never caught on–it has Michael Imperioli and Harvey Keitel in it, for goodness sakes! Personally, I think networks are wayyy too eager with the canceling. Like JOURNEYMAN–that show started right before the writer’s strike, so how did they expect it to gain a fan base in its first season?

    Anyway, I’m also a fan of the time travel romances. KATE & LEOPOLD is my anti-drug. 😉 There’s also a great anime series all about time travel and the space/time continuum called NOEIN that aired on SciFi.

    There doesn’t seem to be as many time travel romances as there used to be, I think maybe because they’re not doing so well on TV and in movies (?). There was this one time travel romance that I really loved when I was in my ‘teens and I’ve never been able to find–it was serial romance, I think a Silhouette, and it was about a crime scene photographer that goes back to Georgian England with this burly guy who turns out to be a butler, and they’re both chasing Jack the Ripper. Its was great; I wish I could remember the name of it.


  22. Stacey
    on Mar 29th, 2009
    @ 3:07 pm

    Karen Marie Moning…aah yes 🙂 Could not stop CRYING when reading ‘The Immortal Highlander’, hence I started from the beginning shortly thereafter….

    *waves to deb*

    Maria- Definitely agree with you on the first three outlander books. Voyager is actually my favorite.

    Time and Again was OK, but by the time I’d read it, I was spoiled by Gabaldon and *especially* Moning, so I didn’t get the same feeling out of it as I would have if it had been my first time travel. I actually liked ‘The Time Traveler’s wife though.

    Lynn Kurland is amazing as well. ‘With Every Breath’, a ‘A Dance Through Time’ and ‘When I fall in love’ are some of my favorites 🙂


  23. Anna Campbell
    on Mar 29th, 2009
    @ 4:43 pm

    Hey, Maria, I think Time Travels are coming back. I read one for a quote the other day and it’s a beauty. I blogged about it (and some of my other favorite time travels) here. http://authorsoundrelations.blogspot.com/search/label/Anna%20Campbell As you say, it’s a really powerful way of writing a fish out of water story.


  24. Maria Lokken
    on Mar 29th, 2009
    @ 5:35 pm

    Hi Anna! I loved your blog – just read it, and you mention some of my favorites. Now who do I have to hold hostage to get a hold of Pamela’s new book? Man, I’m going to be the first in line.


  25. Anna Campbell
    on Mar 29th, 2009
    @ 5:39 pm

    Hey, Maria, thanks for checking it out. My question is why are all the time travels set in Scotland???!!!


  26. PJ
    on Mar 29th, 2009
    @ 6:03 pm

    My question is why are all the time travels set in Scotland???!!!

    Because we all have a secret desire to have a brawny, sexy highlander defy time and space to claim us? 😉


  27. PJ
    on Mar 29th, 2009
    @ 6:04 pm

    Another time-travel that I adore is Sandy Blair’s A Highlander for Christmas.


  28. Maria Lokken
    on Mar 29th, 2009
    @ 6:04 pm

    Good question – I’ve been sitting here trying to think of ones that aren’t and I’m a blank. I’m going to ponder that one.


  29. Stacey
    on Mar 29th, 2009
    @ 6:42 pm

    *Waves to Anna*

    ‘My question is why are all the time travels set in Scotland???!!!’

    A lot of them are, but there are a bunch of Lynn Kurland’s that are actually set in Medieval England 🙂


  30. pambook
    on Mar 29th, 2009
    @ 6:56 pm

    Love time travels, Maria. So many TV shows just don’t get a chance to get a following before getting the ax, especially the paranormals and vamp series.

    Kati, House on the Strand is an alltime favorite of mine, too, different, and from what I remember, he travels in his mind from a potion.


  31. Kati
    on Mar 30th, 2009
    @ 3:05 pm

    Hey, Maria, thanks for checking it out. My question is why are all the time travels set in Scotland???!!!

    Don’t you imagine it’s the Standing Stones? Of course, Stonehenge is in England.

    Kati, House on the Strand is an alltime favorite of mine, too, different, and from what I remember, he travels in his mind from a potion.

    Yeah, but it’s so vivid it seems real. But I guess if you’re being literal, that is true. But it’s still such a fun book!


  32. ann
    on Apr 4th, 2009
    @ 7:28 pm

    Maria
    Hi
    They did give us a closer show for Life on mars yeah. 🙂 Did you see it, it was something else 🙂 a great twist. I am so glad they at least allowed the views to see an end for it, unlike so many shows they yank from us and never let us know what happens. Like Blood ties but thas a whole other genre.:( I loved Life on mars and it stinks they pulled it. I came in late in the game on it but then Lost lead me to it and I was hooked. I think it just needed more time for people to find it. Lost I love is it really supposed to end next year? For sure? Say it ain’t so 🙁


  33. Maria Lokken
    on Apr 4th, 2009
    @ 7:50 pm

    Hi Ann –

    As a matter of fact I saw the series finale for “Life on Mars” – and I really liked the way they pulled it off. They wrapped it up very nicely. But very different from the BBC version.

    And yes – next season is the LAST season for LOST. All will hopefully be revealed at the end of next year.


  34. Sharon
    on Apr 19th, 2009
    @ 5:20 pm

    Hello,
    I am looking for a time travel romance book that I read many years ago. A young woman goes back in time, I think it is somewhere in the New England area, maybe Massachusetts, during Colonial times. There is a Master (Hero) of the house who I think has young children or a daughter. Anyway the servants take her under their wing and eventually the Master of the house falls in love with her. The morning of their wedding she see’s his previous wife in a mirror. Apparently she was not a very nice woman, she went into the future and she is happy there, essentially they trades places. I know the book is not Jane Goodger’s, When There Is Hope. Although I love that book. I thought it was by Constance O’Day Flannery but none of her books appear to be the one I am looking for. Can anyone help me with this? Thanks!!!