A member of a league of time travelers and a boy travel through time repairing errors in world history.A member of a league of time travelers and a boy travel through time repairing errors in world history.A member of a league of time travelers and a boy travel through time repairing errors in world history.
The show was about a recently orphaned 12 year old named Jeffrey Jones (Meeno Pulce). Jeff is living a dreary life in his Manhattan high rise with his aunt and uncle, who don't like the idea of suddenly raising a kid themselves. One night a time traveler named Phineas Bogg (Jon-Erik Hexum) crashes into Jeff's bedroom. Bogg is a ruggedly handsome man that's dressed like a pirate from the 1700s, who happens to be a member of a mysterious organization called "Voyagers". "I am a Voyager" Bogg says, "You ever hear of one? Course not, no one has", Bogg continues to tell Jeff. Voyagers are people that are trained to "travel through the ages" to keep history on track and make sure it's always on the right path. They don't get into the philosophical aspects of what is the right or wrong history, and there is no need to in a fun show like this. If the Omni flashed red then something was wrong with history. Once the good guys fixed the problem it became a solid green. The Voyagers seems to exist out of our linear time, they appear to be from the past but use technology from the future. Through a series of mishaps Jeff winds up as Bogg's time traveling companion, and Bogg is unable to take Jeff back to 1982 because his Omni would only go up to 1970. Apparently it was malfunctioning, which led him to land in Jeff's 1982 high rise apartment in the first place. Jeff is a child genius who knows everything there is to know about history. Bogg doesn't know much about history so Jeff proves valuable to Bogg, as Bogg left his Guidebook back in Jeff's 1982 bedroom (remember they can't go back). Jeff basically becomes Bogg's new Guidebook and the two improvise their way through solving problems the best they can.
This was created as an educational series for children, and it worked. They hit it out of the ballpark with this one. I probably learned more about history from Voyagers! then I did from any of my 2nd grade classes. There was always a main plot and then a secondary story line where Jeff and Bogg visited another time line. Sometimes a brief third time story would be thrown in. The best episodes had two story lines that mirrored each other in some way. "Agents of Satan" had Jeff and Bogg land in New England during the Salem witch trials, after escaping being burned at the stake the duo land in 1924 Boston during a séance that just happens to have Harry Houdini in the audience. Houdini never believed in real magic or the supernatural, only the incredibly well staged illusions that he performed. He famously went around the country debunking phonies swindling people out of money, so when Houdini sees our heroes appear out of nowhere and then immediately vanish into thin air he is convinced that ghosts are real. Jeff and Bogg inadvertently turned a green light zone into a red one. This kind of story telling was just flat out AMAZING for a kids show. The writing was top notch. Other great episodes were "Worlds Apart" (Thomas Edison and Lawerence of Arabia), "The Travels of Marco Polo", "Barriers of Sound" (Alexander Graham Bell), "Voyagers of the Titanic", "The Trial of Phineas Bogg" (we get to see the Voyager school) and "Jack's Back" (Jack the Ripper).
I have acquired all the episodes in recent years, complete with the NBC bumpers ("Voyagers will be back after these messages"). A few of my episodes even have some of the old NBC ads from the time, with Meeno and Jon-Erik dressed in costume and telling us "Sundays are the place to be on NBC!", which was a precursor to the "NBC Let's All Be There!" ads a couple years later. I get a flood rush of magical childhood nostalgia when I see stuff like that. I was nervous that show would look just too ridiculous and immature for my adult eyes. I was proved wrong. Sure there are a couple of forgettable episodes and yes there are some corny moments here and there where you can tell this was a children's series, but it's damn entertaining one. The acting can be silly at times, but sometimes you have to just accept a well made show's faults and just roll with it. The stories and the writing were what really attracted me. This was a series aimed at children but written with older audiences in mind, so I can still watch this one as an adult and not feel guilty. The series always dealt with famous historical figures, but who cares? The show had plenty of wit and zany enthusiasm going for it. That other great time travel series Quantum Leap would be there later to deal with the more regular folk. At the end of each episode Meeno Pulce would give a quick narration over the closing credits, telling you that you could learn more about the historic figures visited in this episode through reading, "Take a voyage down to your local library, it's all in books". Unfortunately NBC canceled the show after 1 season. The show couldn't compete against the hard hitting 60 Minutes, and perhaps the complex plots was something that couldn't be sustained. I'll always remember this show though. It's a shame that back in the 80s moron shows like The Dukes of Hazzard lasted for six years and Voyagers! only stayed on the air for one.
- Aug 3, 2006