Time travel fans are in for a treat this Sunday, March 5 when two premiering shows tackle the temporal topic: ABC’s H.G. Wells-inspired
, and FOX’s comedy Time After Time . The repetitious format of TV has always lent itself well to history jumping stories, as we’ll see with these 24 shows featuring some major time travel antics. Making History
(1963-present) Doctor Who
Seriously long-running show about a designated Time Lord curing what ails the Earth throughout the years. In its fifth decade, Peter Capaldi became the show’s twelfth de facto Doc.
Caitriona Balfe plays a 1945 wartime nurse who’s cast away from her husband and back in time to 1743 Scotland where she falls into a torrid romance with a Highland soldier (Sam Heughan).
(2015-present) 12 Monkeys
In this sci-fi series adapted from the Terry Gilliam movie of the same name (which in turn was based on experimental 1962 short La Jetee), James Cole plays a 2043 chrononaut sent back in time to prevent a world-decimating virus.
(2008-09) Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles
No fate but what we remake: Avoiding the dour endgame of Terminator 3, this two-season show saw post- T2 Sarah and John Connor leaping forward in time to 2007 where they scrambled to avoid more cyborg assassins, skeptical law enforcement, and anyone else with designs on the future.
(2016) Legends of Tomorrow
With the world under Vandal Savage’s control in 2166, lord of time Rip Hunter tears the temporal fabric a new one: in 2016, he assembles a team of DC superheroes to prevent the Savage rise.
J.J. Abrams and Damon Lindelof’s mindbending drama centered on a group of plane crash survivors trapped on a mysterious island that not only changed location but also transported its inhabitants to the past.
The show wasn’t about time travel per se, but prominent character Hiro Nakamura’s ability to manipulate time played a big part.
A trio of timecops pursue a mastermind crook out to alter human history to his dastardly benefit.
Quantum Leap (1989-93)
Scott Bakula is Dr. Sam Beckett who, under threat of his time-travelling lab getting the plug pulled by the government, sends his consciousness out from the present. Throughout each historical leap, he must take on a new identity and fix something wrong in the past in attempting return to the present.
In 2077, Vancouver is not a nice place to live. Corporate oligarchs dominate the continents and terrorists, hellbent against the system, travel back in time to tear up the roots. Officer Kiera (Rachel Nichols) and her amazing jumpsuit are pulled to 2012 as well.
Becca Brady gets cold feet before her second wedding and side steps back to 1995, on the day of her first betrothal, and seizes the opportunity to redo her next 20 years right.
Tru Calling (2003-05)
She may look like just any other morgue employee filing paperwork and showing corpses to DUI offenders, but Tru Davies has a secret power: she can reset and relive the day as a calling to save the recently deceased.
Samurai Jack (2001-04)
A feudal Japan swordsman is thrown into the future where his demonic opponent has taken over the world. Creator Genndy Tartakovsky will air 10 episodes later this year or next, to properly conclude the story over a decade after Samurai ended on Cartoon Network.
Life on Mars (2006-07)
John Simms plays a Manchester police officer who, after a bonk on the head by a moving automobile, wakes up in 1973.
Goodnight Sweetheart (1993-99)
Television fixer Gary Sparrow is stuck in routine until he finds a portal back to 1940s Britain, and gets entangled in comedic and romantic misadventures within both decades. A 2016 special saw Nicholas Lyndhurst reprising his role as Gary, who is permanently stuck in the past but finds an opportunity to return to modern day.
Peabody’s Improbable History (1959-60)
As with most stories, this is about a genius talking dog with a time machine who adopts a human boy from a back alley. Pupper Peabody originally appeared in segments on The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show, though he later got a DreamWorks animated movie and subsequent Netflix show.
7 Days (1998-2001)
Alien technology recovered from the Roswell UFO crash is crafted by the NSA into a working time machine, which can send government agents back a week to avert disasters (but not far back enough to save the UPN channel).
The Time Tunnel (1966-67)
To avert government shutdown, two directors of a secret lab hurl themselves into the swirling psychedelics known as The Time Tunnel, where they become privy to some of mankind’s greatest hits. Back in the present, their colleagues help guide the two back towards the present lest they be forever lost somewhere along the infinite corridors of time.
Having recovered from the lunacy of Tiny Toon Adventures and Animaniacs, Warner Bros.’ TV animation department went full-on edutainment with this show of time travellers who dispense history lessons through song and wordplay.
In this 20-episode fantastic voyage, a temporal skipper picks up a kid sidekick by accident, and the two are tasked with making sure historic events occur to keep our timeline and school yearbooks correct.
Fonz and The Happy Days Gang (1980-82)
The Fonz jumped the shark and into a time machine in this Saturday morning cartoon spinoff of Happy Days where he and the gang (along with a dog named Mr. Cool) try getting back to 1957.
(2011) Terra Nova
This Steven Spielberg-produced show features Stephen Lang as a human colony leader during the dinosaur days, sent there one-way from Earth where, by 2149, overpopulation has consumed the planet.
Time Trax (1993-94)
When a bunch of crooks and creeps flee 200 years into the past using a machine called TRAX, a detective is sent back to the ’90s to capture them.
Time keeps on skipping for Dan Vasser, until he discovers he’s being flung around recent history to alter the course of things to keep the future in check.