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Temporal Anomalies

Main Page
Discussing Time Travel Theory
Other Films
Perpetual Barbecue
About the Author
Contact the Author

See also entries under the
Temporal Anomalies/Time Travel
category of the
mark Joseph "young"
web log
elsewhere on this site.

Quick Jumps

Scope of the Impact

Miscellaneous Articles
in original publication sequence except for indices inserted at correct points in the historic flow

Temporal Anomalies Classics
Temporal Anomalies Index 2009
Back to the Future Nationwide
  Theatrical Showing This Evening

People Magazine's Woman of the Year
  Sandra Bullock
    featured in time travel films

Temporal Anomalies Index 2010
Source Code Opens April 1, 2011
Future Time Travel Film Analyses--2011
Why Not Analyze
  Time Travel Television Shows?

Men in Black III Remakes History
Temporal Anomalies Index 2011
(Some of) The Best Time Travel Movies
  You Might Have Missed

Men in Black III May 25th U.S. debut
  midnight shows tonight

Future Time Travel Film Analyses--2012
Temporal Anomalies Index 2012
(Some of) The Best Time Travel Movies
  for Children

Films Currently Showing, November 2013
Upcoming Time Travel Films,
  from February 2014

(Some of) The Best Time Travel
  Romance Movies

Upcoming time travel films,
  from December 2014

Temporal Anomalies Index 2014
(Some of) The Best Time Travel Comedies
(Some of) The Best Time Travel Thrillers

Movies Analyzed
in order examined

    Addendum to Terminator
    Terminator 3:  Rise of the Machines
    Terminator Recap
    Terminator Salvation
    Terminator Genisys
    Terminator:  Dark Fate
Back To The Future
Back To The Future II
Back To The Future III
Star Trek Introduction
    Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home
    Star Trek: Generations
    Star Trek: First Contact
    Star Trek (2009)
12 Monkeys
    Addendum to 12 Monkeys
Flight Of The Navigator
  Flight Of The Navigator Addendum
Army of Darkness
Lost In Space
Peggy Sue Got Married
Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure
Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey
Planet of the Apes
Kate and Leopold
Somewhere In Time
The Time Machine
Minority Report
Happy Accidents
The Final Countdown
Donnie Darko
  S. Darko
Harry Potter and
    the Prisoner of Azkaban

Deja Vu
    Primer Questions
Bender's Big Score
Popular Christmas Movies
The Butterfly Effect
  The Butterfly Effect 2
  The Butterfly Effect 3:  Revelations
The Last Mimzy
The Lake House
The Time Traveler's Wife
The Hot Tub Time Machine
Los Cronocrimines a.k.a. TimeCrimes
A Sound of Thundrer
Frequently Asked Questions
    About Time Travel

Source Code
Blackadder Back & Forth
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III
11 Minutes Ago
Men in Black III
La Jetée
Midnight in Paris
Meet the Robinsons
H. G. Wells' The Time Machine
The Jacket
Safety Not Guaranteed
The Philadelphia Experiment
    The Philadelphia Experiment II
Time After Time
About Time
Free Birds
X-Men:  Days of Future Past
Edge of Tomorrow
Mr. Peabody & Sherman
Project Almanac
Time Lapse
O Homem Do Futuro
    a.k.a. The Man from the Future

Abby Sen
When We First Met
See You Yesterday
The History of Time Travel
Copyright Information

The temporal anomaly terminology used here is drawn from Appendix 11:  Temporal Anomalies of Multiverser from Valdron Inc, and is illustrated on the home page of this web site.  This site is part of M. J. Young Net.

Books by the Author.

The Book

Temporal Anomalies in Time Travel Movies
Why Not Analyze Time Travel Television Shows?

E-mails from readers often ask why the temporal anomalies work is limited to movies, and does not explore time travel stories in other media such as books, video games, and especially television shows.  It would be circular to respond that the author is, after all, the "time travel movies examiner", since then the question would be why the title is so exclusive.  Yet even in the old award-winning Temporal Anomalies in Time Travel Movies website launched in 1997 (an Event Horizon "Hot Spot" which outlived the award giver), the focus has always been on movies.  There are numerous problems with analyzing stories in other media, particularly television shows, of which these are the most evident.

Scope of the Impact

A temporal analysis really has to consider the impact the time traveler has on all of history.  Thus if in the first episode of the sixth season of Star Trek:  The Next Generation, Time's Arrow part II, several crew members travel to the nineteenth century, it is necessary for the analysis to consider what impact this has on their Encounter at Farpoint when the crew is just forming in season one, or on Guinan who joins the crew in the first episode of season two, The Child, but who apparently (we later learn) had previously met some of them in that past time--and on every other episode to that point.

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Complicating it further, a television series that decides to include time travel will almost always do so more than once.  Time's Arrow was neither the first nor the last episode in which members of the crew of that ship traveled to the past, and each such trip has the potential to interact with the others.  It is entirely possible that at the end of the series, a final time travel episode would change events through its entire run.  That means you really cannot analyze the time travel in a television series without taking the series as a whole--potentially hundreds of hours of viewing, with which the reader might not be sufficiently familiar to follow the discussion.  Doing an analysis involves becoming familiar with the story in detail--the details are often critical, and no analysis has been published without reviewing the movie at least three times, sometimes as many as twenty, to confirm the minutia.  This would be impossible with a television series.  Besides, once the series has ended, interest lags significantly.  That is part of why most series end.

It is certainly true that movies also come in series, such as the Terminator collection, Back to the Future with its Part II and Part III, and the old Star Trek movies (along with the 2009 addition).  However, movies are released not closer than a year apart, are much shorter, and are frequently viewed on video and television for decades afterwards.  Even when they might impact events in previous movies (or in previous television episodes), they are generally much more self-contained as stories, and those impacts easier to untangle.

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Additionally, television series have different writers at different times, and they often treat time travel differently from one episode to another.  Some episodes may be brilliant, while others might be disastrous, and if no effort is made to achieve consistency in the time travel rules, the analysis will be as inconsistent as the show itself.  That matters less with movies, which might treat time differently from one to the next, but are inherently more self-contained.

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This is compounded to some degree by the difficulty for the reader to find the right episodes.  That is less of a problem today than it was when this effort started in 1997, but it is still more challenging for most of us to locate specific episodes of old television series than to get copies of most movies.  If the reader has not seen the show being discussed and cannot easily get it, the analysis has a very limited appeal.  This author first encountered time travel in the 1960's Time Tunnel television series and H. G. Wells' wonderful novel about English class stratification The Time Machine, but few readers of this site will be directly familiar with either of those.

Many of these problems apply as well to books, which although not usually serialized or episodic or inconsistent (although Poule Anderson's Time Patrol is all of these) are still more effort to read and so have a smaller audience; and to video games, which require effort to play so as to discover the story events, and comic books, which have a more limited audience.  There are, meanwhile, hundreds of movies with time travel elements in them, and thus plenty to analyze in the years ahead.

As always, the author welcomes questions by e-mail or in comment postings, and will offer opinions on any scenarios presented in such communications, as able.

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