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'Traveler' In All Likelihood, Will Fly Right On By

(c) Seattle

May 9, 2007

By Melanie McFarland

Let me state the obvious. The odds are against people getting on board with"Traveler."
You've probably forgotten more about the dead dramas similar to this show than you'll choose to absorb from the preview, which airs Thursday at 10 on KOMO/4.

Here's a list of the deceased: "Runaway." "Kidnapped." "The Nine." "Day Break." And a moment of silence, if you will, for "Drive." Yes, "Drive" never made it past its fourth pit stop, although Fox intends to burn off the remaining episodes in July. (The producers got a 13 episode commitment from Fox, but as far as we know only six were completed.)

Creatively speaking, all of these series started out with such promise. But the whole serialized idea might as well come in a can labeled "viewer repellent."

Who has the time or the patience to hang around for a mystery spread over an entire season? Especially when that season happens to come with the benefit of tanning?

Thus there is very little reason to believe "Traveler," a steady but by-the-numbers thriller with lots of foot-chase sequences, will buck that trend. Premiering any scripted series at the tail end of the season never did anyone any favors.

It might have been an enticing proposition, oh, say, a year and a half ago, but nowadays a lot of us are having problems getting "Lost." At least that series has promised to give us answers with a decent ending. Count on no such guarantees here.

Still interested? OK. Good luck with that.

"Traveler" goes a little something like this: Three friends, Yale grad students all, set off on a Kerouac-inspired cross-country road trip. Tyler Fog (Logan Marshall-Green) the rich lad; Jay Burchell (Matthew Bomer) is the nice guy; and Will Traveler (Aaron Stanford) is the innocuous third man.

The band commences their sea-to-shining-sea excursion in New York, where Will persuades the other two to pull a prank by roller-blading through a very stoic art museum. (Yale grad students. On skates. In an art museum. Uh-huh.)

Tyler and Jay, separated from Will, pull it off. Once they're outside, the place goes kablooey, incinerating Will with it.

Or did it? Because -- you know the refrain, sing it with me now! -- nothing here is what it seems.

Tyler and Jay are now fugitives accused of being domestic terrorists. But there are people in high places pulling strings and strange developments nobody but Will could possibly know about. There's a faithful girlfriend with a furrowed brow, and -- hey, isn't the sun still up well into primetime? Indeed it is. You could be barbecuing.

I take that back -- you "should "be barbecuing.

There's nothing terribly wrong with "Traveler," but there's nothing uniquely on target about it either. That's not what will be the death of this drama.

The traveling, swimming, napping, drinking and lawn bowling we'd rather be doing instead of paying close attention to anything on television -- all of that will probably kill it off by fireworks season, post-"Grey's Anatomy" slot launch be damned. Have you seen the commercials for this thing? If you have, you also have seen its most exciting moments.

The most we can possibly stand right now is "America's Got Talent," which means the furthest these Ivy League patsies are likely to get is Burnoff Town.

By the way, "Traveler" settles into its regular time slot Wednesday, May 30, at 10 p.m. Try to remember to come back twenty days from tonight.

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