SyFy’s 12 Monkeys is a television series based on a surreal Terry Gilliam movie of the same name, which was itself inspired by a French art house film (Le Jete). As such, it is already starting life with a rich assortment of DNA. But the time travel story quickly grew past even these origins, developing inventive, imaginative storylines and heartfelt characterizations. In fact, it could be said that it has something to offer fans of any genre, including the following:
The Walking Dead
If there’s one thing all those seasons of “The Walking Dead” have taught us, it’s that you don’t really know what stuff you and your companions are made of till you’ve been apocalypse tested. “12 Monkeys” explores similar thematic territory. And season 2 features the return of Xander Berkley (who is here shown as Gregory, head of The Walking Dead’s Hilltop Community) as Jonathan Foster, controversial leader of Spearhead, rivals to Raritan Valley time travel facility where our heroes live.
Fans of the Winchesters have SO many reasons to watch “12 Monkeys”! For the buddy humor and the angst, the “Don’t Fear the Reaper” on the sound track and black eyes when a character goes darkside. And let’s not forget the actors who have appeared on both series, which include Todd Stashwick and Demore Barnes. We should also note that Jared Padalecki is a supporter of the series and wants all his fans to join him!
See the guy standing beside Rogue (Aaron Stanford)? He plays time traveler James Cole, the hero of “12 Monkeys.” Watch for the Easter egg in season 2 that’s a shout out to his X-man character, Pyro, involving a lighter and a big fire.
Sometimes scary, sometimes trippy, both “12 Monkeys” and “BSG” both feature complex plotting and fully realized characters and are equally unafraid to demand attention from their audiences. Something else both have in common is Michael Hogan (formerly Col Tigh) who plays Dr. David Eckland, the charismatic future scientist who forges a special bond with Dr Katerina Jones.
When one character is described as a “flesh and blood molecular computer” and others are named Mantis and The Witness, can superhero action be far behind? As a bonus, David Dastmalchian, last seen in “Ant-Man,” guests in a Season 2 episode as Kyle Slade, a Vietnam vet whose mind is connected to time itself.
Game of Thrones
“12 Monkeys,” like “Game of Thrones,” is not afraid to kill off characters, even beloved ones. In fact both series are superb in blending ruthlessness with a sense of honor, and violence with tenderness and imperfect-yet-iconic personas. Perhaps it is significant that most of the cast are enormous GOT fans, one possible explanation for a character uttering the line “Winter is Coming” during an episode in the first season!
In dystopian futures like those of “12 Monkeys” and “Colony,” motivations and allegiances can be murky and even the most purely motivated may be called upon to compromise their conscience. Both stories are set in dangerous worlds where loyalty to loved ones is perhaps the one thing still holding human beings together. Just as importantly, both also feature scruffy but swoonable heroes.
When “12 Monkeys” takes a humor break from gritty realism, its tone often becomes teasingly sarcastic, not unlike these ghostbusting guys and gals. Watch for a manic pop culture rant by Jennifer Goines (Emily Hampshire) where she hilariously quotes Bill Murray’s “dogs and cats living together” line.
Peter Bishop’s and Olivia Dunham’s slowly developing love story largely parallels Cassandra Railly and James Cole’s as yet undefined but charismatic bond. In both cases we see how relationships are hard enough without the complications of multiple realities! If you loved Walter Bishop as a kindly insane genius, you’ll flip for the madcap brilliance that is Jennifer Goines (Emily Hampshire)! And if you were a Charlie fan you’ll want to see Kirk Acevedo nearly stealing the show as side kick, Ramse.
If you were a fan of one of these series, but haven’t yet experienced “12 Monkeys,”delay no further. Season 1 is available on a number of platforms, including DVD/Blue Ray, Hulu and directly from SyFy.com. Season 2 is best viewed live, ideally also while live tweeting with cast and crew on Monday nights at 9/8 pm on SyFy. Otherwise, the series is available On Demand, or can be obtained from iTunes, Hulu, Amazon or directly streamed from SyFy.Com