The Complete Series
- Buy the DVD
Reviewed by Will Harris
hows revolving around time travel have popped up on the TV dial for eons now, generally only sticking around long enough to earn their place in our memories before disappearing in a puff of poor ratings. Somewhere between “The Time Tunnel” and “Quantum Leap” (relatively speaking, of course) lie the adventures of Phineas Bogg and Jeffrey Jones in “Voyagers!” This is one of those shows so inextricably linked to the ‘80s that precious few people who didn’t live through the decade actually remember it; but for those who do remember, this collection of all 20 episodes will absolutely make their millennium.
Phineas Bogg (Jon-Erik Hexum) is a member of the Voyagers, a society of time travelers who bounce around the space/time continuum in order to help history along and give it a push where it’s needed. When Phineas’ trusty device, the Omni, glows red, it means history is wrong, and it’s the job of the Voyagers to get everything back on track. For Phineas’ young acquaintance, Jeffrey Jones (Meeno Peluce), however, it’s all just one big adventure. Y’see, Phineas accidentally landed in Jeffrey’s time, and when he lunged to save Jeffrey from falling to his death, he also accidentally left behind the instruction manual for the Omni. As a result, the two of them are basically forced to bounce from era to era, saving history whenever necessary, but unable to steer themselves back to Jeffrey’s time.
One thing that makes the show particularly unique is that the Voyagers generally travel to two different time periods per episode, with one problem somehow tying into the other, and the eras tend to be far enough apart from each other to keep things interesting. Like, say, in “Created Equal,” where they manage to aid both Spartacus and Harriet Tubman. There’s a bit of “Sliders” to the series at times, since Phineas and Jeffrey often find themselves in scenarios that shouldn’t exist, such as when they land in China and meet a disgruntled Kublai Khan, who never got the visit from Marco Polo he’d been expecting. It’s far more about sci-fi fun than historical accuracy, of course, but it’s a shame that the series didn’t get the opportunity to explore the mythos of the Voyagers more often. There are a few episodes where Phineas and Jeffrey meet up with other members of the gang, as well as one where Phineas is placed on trial for disobeying the rules of the organization. You can guarantee that these episodes stand out in the minds of fans more than trips to visit Robin Hood or Cleopatra.
“Voyagers!” only lasted a single season, wrapping things up with nothing in the way of a definitive finale. The show’s diehard aficionados have continued the tales of Phineas and Jeffrey via fan fiction, but the reality is that we’re left without any clue as to whether young Jeffrey ever made it back to his own time. Had Jon-Erik Hexum not met an untimely death due to an accidental shooting on the set of “Cover Up,” his post-“Voyagers!” series, we might’ve gotten a follow-up TV movie to resolve the mystery. Instead, we’re left with only the 20 episodes within this set.
But, hey, we’re not complaining. Heck, we didn’t think we’d see “Voyagers!” on DVD at all, so at least we’ve got that much.
In closing, we’d be remiss if we didn’t offer up this final comment, borrowed straight from the show’s end credits: if you want to learn more about the historical events which take place during these various episodes, then take a voyage to your nearest public library. It’s all in books!
Special Features: Nary a one. Clearly, Hexum has a very good excuse for his absence, but Peluce’s IMDb listing, which cites his most recent role as being that of Eric the Hippy in 2001’s “Alex in Wonder,” would give anyone the impression that he’s got time on his hands. In actuality, his website proves otherwise, but based on previous bare bones TV releases from Universal, it’s a fair bet that no one took the time to contact him. (We tried, though, just to see if we were right. As of this writing, however, there’s been no response to our e-mail.)