User Reviews (15)

Add a Review

  • let me first say that i am biased. i had just arrived in los angeles to pursue my career in acting in july 2002 when i realized that being an extra would be a good, easy way to get my first taste of the biz. i was disheartened to find that extras are treated like dirt on most tv shows. even more depressing was that the overall environment of even the most successful shows (like ER) is filled with stress and unhappiness.

    when i started working on 'that was then', it restored my faith in showbiz. all the actors and crew had such great time working together. there was so much pride and optimism in everyone's work. they really thought this show could be the next big thing...

    i watched the first two episodes. i thought they were both great. well acted all around. they had the poignancy and humor of cameron crowe and john hughes. james bulliard and tyler lablane were both fantastic (and, i might add, wonderfully friendly people on the set). kiele sanchez was mesmerizingly beautiful (and a very sweet girl in person as well). once i saw the show, i realized why the actors and crew were always so nice and happy. they were making a very good show.

    and then my heart sank when i found out that the show was cancelled. i was actually working on the show the day before abc canned it. and by then, everyone knew that the ratings were bad, so the atmosphere was a little less optimistic and happy. but everyone was still nice, got along well, and worked hard. the next day, they were all unemployed again. abc said that it was a good show in a bad timeslot and they were looking to put it somewhere else. seems that those plans have been scrapped. it is months later and i still wish i could thank the actors on this show for being the ONLY actors i ever encountered who would take the time to talk to the extras and even eat with them during lunch. i wish them all the best of luck.
  • paoguy11816 September 2003
    Come on. They only showed two episodes of this series. I believe the show the audience deserved more than that. The two episodes I saw showed a lot of promise. I liked the cast, but everybody needs more than two episodes to prove themselves.

    The network really missed an opportunity to promote this show on 80s and other retro-style radio stations. The 80s are in, and this show could have done well had it been given a chance.

    The world, they say, will never know.
  • stilldragons27 September 2002
    Wow, I'm impressed! This is far and away the best written series premiere that I've seen this season. I was on the edge of my seat fifteen minutes into the show and didn't leave that spot until the show was over. Will I be back? You better believe it!
  • "That Was Then" grabbed my attention in mid-July when ABC started running promos for the new fall season. I'm a big fan of the "Back to the Future" movies so I was really hoping they would pull this one off in the same way.

    Flash forward to late September: The show airs and I love it instantly. The writing, the acting, everything, is perfect. I laugh, I feel inspired, and I believe I've just witnessed the birth of a very popular show.

    Though James Bulliard (Travis Glass), looks a little old to be in high school, we soon forget this as he plays the part to a T. Tyler Labine (Donnie Pinkus) is the perfect wise cracking mulleted-buddy. He steals every scene he's in, and plays one of the funniest new characters on TV this season. Top that off with the beautiful Kiele Sanchez (Claudia), who turns in great performance as the innocent "love that got away" from Travis. I actually remember seeing her on MTV a few years back on the wannabe VJ contest, and I was happy to see her career blossoming.

    Along with the youthful stars, veterans Jeffrey Tambor (who could forget him on "The Larry Sanders Show") and Bess Armstrong round out the cast as Travis's parents.

    The cast is perfect. The writing is perfect. This is a great show, one that I certainly hope will get a second chance in a much better time slot than 8 on Friday night. It deserved better, and I can only hope ABC will have sense enough to bring it back when the time is right.
  • I taped this show Friday, didn't get to see it til Monday, and boy did I really enjoy it. It was great to hear the #41 hit by the Kinks "Do It Again" used as the key element to the time travel.

    Great acting, interesting concept, it's like Back To The Future, meets Quantum Leap Meets Early Edition.

    I just hope a Friday time slot doesn't doom this show!!
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Neither was stolen from the other. Both came out at the same time, so that would be rather difficult. Do you have any idea how long it takes to get a TV series created, casted, pilot approved, pilot filmed, pilot aired, season approved, season filmed, and aired? It can't happen with two shows that debut within the same season for one to be a rip-off of the other (the same applies to those who still think that, for instance, "Babylon 5" is a rip-off of "Star Trek: Deep Space 9").

    Both series basically ripped (intentionally or otherwise) the plot of a novel published in 1998 entitled "Replay" (search for it on Amazon or It was a serious drama with a fantasy element, and not at all a comedy. Good read, too, for those who like this sort of thing.

    I will agree, however, that "Do Over" was considerably superior to "That Was Then." They also weren't even all that similar in their basic plots, beyond the "adult relives youth" angle.

    Minor Spoiler Warnings for both series!:

    In "Do Over," the protagonist (Joel Larsen) found his 30-ish mind in his teenager body, and "stayed" there.

    In "That Was Then," the protagonist's adult mind went back and forth from his past high school body and time to the present, where he could see the results of his attempts to fix his own past and that of his family. Usually, he only made things worse. It was also more of a drama and less of a comedy than "Do Over."

    Note: opinions are opinions, but when you state a criminal charge such as plagiarism as fact, and do so in print (which includes online), you had better be able to back it up. Otherwise, you're committing libel, which is itself a serious crime.

    Saying that a TV series sucks is opinion. Saying that the acting is amateurish, the writing lame, the directing uninspired, etc. is opinion. Stating that one series is a rip-off of another is an accusation of the crime of plagiarism. Unless you know that to be true for a fact and can prove it (as in the series creator told you so in person, and you have a video of him doing so, or something in his handwriting confessing to it), don't make such charges.
  • This was such a great series, so of course ABC canceled it after just two episodes. The story was great, and so was the '80s music. The only problem with this series was the time slot (Friday night at 8pm.) If ABC had put this series in a decent time slot, it might have had a chance. What a shame.
  • You can disregard what the previous poster said. He obviously never watched this show. My wife and I both loved this show. Do Over was terrible in comparison. Anything with Tyler Labine in it is just plain awesome. I really wish that the network had shown the rest of the episodes of this show to finish out the season at least. I'm still disappointed it wasn't given the chance it deserved. Tyler Labine is the new Jack Black and he rocks. He was great in Evil Alien Conquerors. The whole 1980's high school/college scene in this show took me back to a simper and better time. It was refreshing to watch. I'm still hoping the DVD set is released someday for this show.
  • It only aired two episodes, and those were three years ago, and yet here I am thinking about it. That has to indicate something, doesn't it? It was an interesting and fun show with a good premise that deserved more of an opportunity to find an audience. Unfortunately TV these days is all about instant success, and there is never any investment in quality programming...

    Great cast and a cool story! I'm just sorry those of us who caught the first two weeks of it never got a chance to know how the main character would work everything out so that he got the girl and kept the nephew and didn't screw anyones life up to dramatically!
  • I really wanted this show to have a good run. We all know we have wanted to go back to some time in our life and do things differently, so this was an intriguing concept, even though it has already been done. I suppose after watching a few other "back in time" ideas, I was holding this one to big standards. I did get a bit picky. I went through high school in the '80's and also graduated in 1988. What I find most difficult with most of these type shows that go back to the '80's is the music. The writers show their age. I was a little upset to hear the Kinks and Stones- I turned to my wife and said, "I grew up at that time, and what 16 year old listened to these bands?" I even called up my old buddies to find out if I was wrong...nope. I know there were some, and I'll get over it, (and I have feeling there will be a million comments from those who will say they indeed listened to the Stones and Kinks at that time) but it was the hair bands that everyone was into, but they always get dissed on these shows. I like the friction that is produced among the characters as well as each one's ability to carry their own story, which is interwoven throughout the show. I was hoping for more interaction with the teachers. We have one...where are the others?!?!? I will be watching this show for the duration, unless it simply takes some terrible turns, but so far so good.
  • jeffs1962caddy27 September 2002
    I just saw the the first episode tonight and I was real impressed.I thought the show was great.I always wanted to turn back the clock and change my life.As we all know we cant.I will continue watching this show untill the day it is cancelled.
  • It was nice to see that the networks both decided to do the exact same show this season. "That Was Then" and "Do Over" are almost mirror images of each other, with both pilots storylines being remarkedly similar. There are three differences. "Do Over" is 30 minutes, versus an hour for "That Was Then". "Do Over" is a sitcom..."That Was Then" goes for the drama-comedy. "Do Over" is the early 1980s versus the late 80s in "That Was Then."

    The half hour format seems to work better for these shows. "Do Over" was fun and quick moving. "That Was Then" tended to drag (at least the pilot so far.) I love time travel stuff, but I found myself bored during "That Was Then" at times. Hopefully it will improve. Otherwise, I don't see ABC giving it much chance. How much chance can it really be getting at 9 PM on Friday night?
  • This show, along with Push Nevada, are two of the best new shows I've seen in years. What a shock that the networks would actually invest time in something other than another unamusing, irritating sitcom.

    The fact that network television has no clue about what is good and what isn't is the reason I'm not surpised that both of these shows have already been cancelled.

    That Was Then was not given a proper chance. You can't properly judge a TV show after three episodes.

    I suppose anything other than a sappy evening drama or yet another cookie cutter sitcom doesn't agree with the modern TV watcher's attention span.

    I'm seriously considering giving up on network TV altogether.
  • The main problem with this show is that it stole it's plot from the WB's "Do Over" and didn't do as well. "Do Over" is both a better comedy AND drama than this lame piece of dung. Watch "Do Over" if you like this show and you'll me stunned. No I don't work for Warner Bros.
  • When I first heard about this show, I thought that it was going to be a crapfest, but boy, was I ever wrong! The writing is amazing, the concept is a cool one, and TYLER LABINE is the scene stealer of the show!!! Did I say the writing is amazing? Well if I did, I'm saying it again! The music in the show is awesome too, it's your favorite 80's hits being used as mood music for the scenes!

    My newest favorite show is THAT WAS THEN!!! Tyler Labine = Huge Future Star!!!