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ABC’s ‘Traveler': I’m Already a Believer

I’ve already got a new television addiction for the summer months (thank God!). It may not be deep and layered like “The Sopranos” (I’ve maintained the ban on my former favorite HBO series since last season’s horribly disturbing Vito storyline), but it’s as relentlessly nonstop as “24.” In fact, it might be the new “24.”

ABC’s new action drama, “Traveler,” hit the ground running in last night’s two hour special. Jay Tyler, fresh out of Yale grad school are about to embark on one last summer of fun before they hit the reality of the working world. Within five minutes of the first episode, Will Traveler, the third member of the road trip crew convinces them to pull what seems an innocent prank–rollerblading down all the stairs of a big New York City art museum (they call it The Drexler but it’s really the Met).

But as soon as Jay and Tyler are out the door the museum blows up, and it seems as if Will is the bomber. The FBI has Jay and Tyler on tape looking awfully suspicious fleeing the museum just before the explosion, and less than 15 minutes into the pilot a full blown man-hunt is underway in the vein of “The Fugitive.” Jay and Tyler soon must come to grips with Will’s betrayal, the fact that he doesn’t seem to exist, and the fact that their future as well-paid professionals is shattered. Never mind their freedom.

Deep breath.

I was a reluctant believer at first–the premise is a bit weak. (Why don’t they just turn themselves in and tell the whole story?) But I haven’t watched anything that adrenaline-inducing since the first season of “24.” I was glued to the screen, my heart was racing, and I can’t wait until next week. I’ve long wondered if someone could figure out how to replicate the magic formula that is “24,” and “Traveler” may have done it. It feels like everything is happening in real time.

And, Jay and Tyler are easy on the eyes.

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