CRIME TRAVELER was a dreadfully dull British cop show in which the protagonist discovers one of his police station’s forensic scientists is secretly working on a time machine developed by her father. Although it’s not possible to alter the past, using the machine does make investigating crimes easier, with the catch that if you stay too long in the past, you’ll be trapped in time forever (another example of making up bullshit rules to add some suspense). The lead is wooden and the stories just never catch fire.
TENCHU by contrast, is a terrific Japanese miniseries in which a female ninja from the warring states era is mysteriously hurled forward to the present, where she becomes the surrogate daughter/ninja enforcer for a suburban senior who’s determined no-one should ever suffer the kind of tragedy she did when she lost her daughter. This is often rather issue-of-the-week (spousal abuse, sex slavery, scam operations targeting seniors) but it works well. Part of that is the two strong female leads, partly that the fight scenes are awesome: no stereotypical ninja stuff, just moving fast and hitting hard (all rights to image with current holder). “Lives are important—you should never take them away.”
THE DISAPPEARANCE OF NAGATO YUKI-CHAN was a sequel to The Disappearance of Haruhi Susimaya taking place in that parallel world, where Nagato is just a shy nerd rather than an ET and Kyon desperate to tell her how he feels. Online research indicated this was treated as a genuine parallel world rather than the typical anime reboot where the same characters (from Haruhi’s original series) get slightly different treatment; having seen this, I really can’t see it that way so it’s not for the book. “If he’s been here six months, he’s no longer mysterious, nor a transfer student.”
THE SECRET WORLD OF POLLY FLINT is a plodding British fantasy in which a young girl discovers the medieval inhabitants of the village where she lives are “time gypsies” able to pop in and out of other eras—and then three of them get trapped in the present. It says a lot that the first episode of this I could find was fourth out of six, and I don’t think I missed anything. “You only think it’s you that’s real and me that’s not because there’s more of you.”
The British TIME RIDERS isn’t much better: a scientist tries to prove to her boss that her time machine works by bringing a young boy to the present from the 1800s, only to have him decide to dissect the child for Sinister Experiments. Scientist then adapts her time machine to her motorcycle and takes off with the kid, riding into the English Civil War for the usual anachronistic perils (“She’s a witch!”). Forgettable. “The lake of fire is the second death!”