13 February 2006 | DeanNYC
Historic In Many Ways...
There are several things to note about "Voyagers!" The first is that this was a part of a master plan by NBC Program chief Brandon Tartikoff to merge entertainment with education, and to provide kids with intelligent programming, not the usual dreck that seemed so prevalent in the 1980s.
The concept of the show was deceptively simple. There are a team of men and women who keep track of "history." These "voyagers" each have a hand-held device called an "Omni" which gives them their location, the date and a signal if history is "wrong." They all go back and forward through time to correct any "mistakes" that may have occurred in time and keep the world on track.
One voyager is named Phineas Bogg (an obvious play on Jules Verne's Phileas Fogg from "Around The World In 80 Days"). However this particular voyager didn't pass his history exam and landed on the windowsill of Jeffrey, who just happened to be a whiz kid in history. Together, they became "Voyagers!"
The serious problem the program had was in its construction. In one episode, Germany had somehow won World War I. The voyagers traveled back in time and discovered that famed flying ace Eddie Rickenbacher had nothing to do. That's because the Wright Brothers hadn't invented the airplane. So they had to travel again and discovered Orville and Wilbur were arguing over a girl in their bicycle shop instead of working on their flying machine. So the Voyagers had to set them back on track.
It had to have been extremely difficult to write such elaborate plots that both were well known enough for an audience to relate to and yet capable of making sense in the plot of the show. As brilliant as some of these episodes were, the question is how many related subplots could there be for any moment in history, before you get into material that isn't in the library? With such a limitation, with production costs being what they were for an early 1980s s/f program and with ratings being lower than desired, "Voyagers!" was not viable for more than a year. Looking at the series now, it would have made for a brilliant "Harry Potter" style string of films, since there really aren't enough historic events to have made it to the famed 100 episode level.