Series / Voyagers!

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Voyagers! was a short-lived Science Fiction TV show from the 1980s. It told the story of Phineas Bogg (played by Jon-Erik Hexum), a man who works as a "Voyager": a member of a mysterious group of people who travel through time and make sure history is the way it should be. Unlike in other Time Travel series, there was no clear reason why history was changing. The series was meant as a way to subtly teach history to the target audience. In the pilot episode, Bogg is joined in his travels by Jeffrey Jones (played by Meeno Peluce), a young boy from the 1980s (who is something of a history expert) after Bogg loses his Voyager's manual; Bogg had failed to pay enough attention during his training and didn't know what to do without the book.

Compare and Contrast Time Squad.

The program ran for one season on NBC (1982-1983). Unfortunately, most people's awareness of the show is due to the unfortunate accidental death of Jon-Erik Hexum after the show had been canceled. (While on the set of his next series, Cover Up, he shot himself in the head with a pistol loaded with blanks as a joke, and died of a skull fracture.)


Tropes:

  • And Knowing Is Half the Battle: During the credits, viewers are told if they want to know more about the people, places, and events featured in the episode, to visit their local public library.
  • Adventures in the Bible: In the pilot, Bogg and Jeffrey find the infant Moses and send him down the Nile where he is found by the Pharaoh's daughter.
  • Applied Phlebotinum: The pocketwatch-like device used by the Voyagers to time travel.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: In the first episode, "Voyagers", Bogg is chewing Jeffrey out and listing the events that could happen as a result of him losing his guidebook: empires falling, wars raging, and Bogg losing his job.
  • Bad Dreams: In "The Trial of Phineas Bogg", Jeffrey says that up until recently, he's been having nightmares about his parents. As the trial is going badly, he fears that he'll have ones about being separated from Phineas before long as well.
  • Beethoven Was an Alien Spy: Though the show did not make bizarre claims about the backstories of the historic figures Bogg and Jones met during their adventures, there were a few odd moments...
    • Cleopatra running around Prohibition-era New York with gangsters, and meeting Babe Ruth, while speaking perfect English.
    • Jules Verne naming the globetrotting hero of Around the World in 80 Days Phileas Fogg after meeting Bogg.
    • Subverted later in "Jack's Back". Jeff asks if Jack the Ripper was really Drake. Bogg says it isn't like him and thinks he's just trying to mess up history by going after Nellie Bly.
  • The Boxing Episode: "All Fall Down" is a better than usual example of this trope in a sci-fi series, in no small part because it focused on a fight, the 1938 rematch between Joe Louis and Max Schmeling, which was significant for reasons outside of boxing.
  • Brainy Brunette: Jeffrey is quite resourceful and knowledgeable and has brown hair.
  • Broken Pedestal: "Bully and Billy" has Jeff encountering Billy the Kid, who he thinks is not honestly such a bad person. He changes his mind after seeing how mean and dishonorable he could be.
  • Cassandra Truth: Jeffrey, anguished about all the loss of life that's going to occur, tries to warn people that the Titanic is going to hit an iceberg. History continues on course because he can't get anyone to believe him.
  • Catchphrase: Bogg has two: "Bat's breath!" and "Smart kids give me a pain."
  • Clip Show: "The Trial of Phineas Bogg" is an unusually good instance of this. The clips are mostly explained in-universe as recordings from the omni of past adventures.
  • Cut Short: Due to the show's cancellation, the plot ended with Bogg and Jeff wrapping up another case successfully (of course, there will always be another one) but failing to capture Drake.
  • Double Standard: Discussed in "Buffalo Bill and Annie Play the Palace". Annie Oakley, matched in a shooting contest against the Grand Duke Michael, is asked to throw the contest to avoid making him look bad in front of his intended. She says that it would be an insult to her to lose on purpose, especially because in her life she's had to work twice as hard just to be considered equal to a man.
  • Eternal English: Absolutely everyone in every single time period visited by Jeffrey and Bogg spoke flawless, 20th Century English, from Cleopatra to Kublai Khan.
  • Excited Show Title!: The show title includes an exclamation point.
  • Expy: Mary Murphy, who appears in the pilot, is an obvious one for Mary Pickford, given that she's the most famous actress of the silent era. She was also a close friend of Douglas Fairbanks, to whom Mary Pickford was married from 1920 to 1936. (Funnily enough, Mary Pickford was later mentioned in "Destiny's Choice".)
  • Great Big Book of Everything: Averted in that Bogg loses his "Voyagers Manual" in the pilot. Jeffrey tags along to help, as he is a history buff (and Bogg can't return him to his own time, as his omni only goes up to 1970).
  • Heartwarming Orphan: Jeffrey Jones, an orphan at the beginning of the series, tends to be liked by most of the people he encounters. One of the bigger examples is his effect on Bogg, who transforms from self-proclaimed loner to protective caretaker after getting stuck with him.
  • Heroic B.S.O.D.: Olivia plans to quit after failing to save the Mona Lisa from the Titanic's sinking and unintentionally endangering Jeffrey. She gets over it after collaborating with Phineas at a second attempt to rescue the painting.
  • Historical-Domain Character: At least one appeared in every episode while Bogg often mentioned meeting others such as Marie Antoinette (who had terrible legs, apparently) and Archimedes. However, some of the Historical Domain Characters are less historical than others, such as Robin Hood.
    • Eddie Rickenbacker, Wilbur Wright, Orville Wright and Manfred von Richthofen (The Red Baron) in the pilot "Voyagers". It also depicts Moses and the Pharaoh's daughter as historical figures.
    • Spartacus, Cicero, Harriet Tubman and Samuel Langhorne Clemens (Mark Twain) in "Created Equal".
    • Billy the Kid, Theodore Roosevelt and Benjamin Franklin in "Bully and Billy".
    • Benjamin Franklin's mother Abiah Folger, Reverend Samuel Parris, Betty Parris, Abigail Williams, Susannah Martin, Justice Samuel Sewell, Harry Houdini and Francis Scott Key in "Agents of Satan". (With eight historical figures, this episode features more than any other.)
    • Lawrence of Arabia, Thomas Edison, Mary Edison, J.P. Morgan and Grosnevor P. Lowery in "Worlds Apart".
    • Cleopatra, Babe Ruth, Ed Barrow, Lucky Luciano and Mark Antony in "Cleo and the Babe".
    • Abraham Lincoln, Mary Todd Lincoln and Charles Dickens in "The Day the Rebs Took Lincoln". It also depicts Oliver Twist characters Fagin, the Artful Dodger, Bill Sikes and Nancy as historical figures.
    • Andrew Jackson, Jean Lafitte, Pierre Lafitte, William Clark and Merriwether Lewis in "Old Hickory and the Pirate".
    • Marco Polo, Maffeo Polo, Niccolo Polo, Kublai Khan, Albert Einstein and Clara Barton in "The Travels of Marco... and Friends".
    • Charles Lindbergh, his mother Evangeline Lindbergh, Harold Bixby, James H. "Doc" Kimball and Prince John (later King John) in "An Arrow Pointing East". It also depicts Robin Hood, Maid Marian, Little John and the Sheriff of Nottingham as historical figures.
    • George Washington, his mother Mary Bell Washington and Samuel Gompers in "Merry Christmas, Bogg".
    • Annie Oakley, Buffalo Bill Cody, Queen Victoria, Princess Victoria, Grand Duke Michael and Albert Schweitzer in "Buffalo Bill and Annie Play the Palace".
    • Sam Houston in "The Trial of Phineas Bogg".
    • Buffalo Bill Cody (again) and General Douglas MacArthur in "Sneak Attack".
    • Louis Pasteur, Bruce Ismay, Captain Edward J. Smith, Molly Brown and Lt. William Murdoch in "Voyagers of the Titanic".
    • Werner von Braun and General Hans Kammler in "Pursuit".
    • Franklin D. Roosevelt, Eleanor Roosevelt and Sara Roosevelt in "Destiny's Choice".
    • Joe Louis, Jack Blackburn, Max Schmeling and Jimmy Carter in "All Fall Down". Of all the real life people depicted as characters on the series, Schmeling and Carter were the only ones who were still alive at the time. Schmeling died on February 2, 2005 at the age of 99 while Carter's still alive.
    • Alexander Graham Bell, Mabel Hubbard, Thomas A. Watson, Gardiner Greene Hubbard and Dwight D. Eisenhower (as a baby) in "Barriers of Sound".
    • Arthur Conan Doyle and Nellie Bly in "Jack's Back". It also depicts Inspector Lestrade as an historical figure.
  • I Want My Mommy!: A gender-flipped variation from "Voyagers of the Titanic". While sick and half-conscious from rabies, Jeff moans for Bogg. The two are sometimes portrayed as having an almost father/son relationship.
  • Kneel, Push, Trip: In "Created Equal", Bogg knocks a large gladiator backwards over Jeff.
  • Last-Name Basis: Jeffrey always refers to Bogg by his surname, never as Phineas, which gets pretty odd during highly emotional moments.
  • Like a Son to Me: After a little while of time-traveling together, Phineas comes to see Jeff as being like his son (he actually says to another character that Jeff isn't his son, but he wishes he could say he was). While they don't quite have an average father/son relationship, he does try to teach and protect him.
  • Men Don't Cry: Mentioned in "Cleo and the Babe". At one point, Jeffrey tears up at seeing Yankee Stadium, as he used to go there with his father. He tells Bogg he doesn't want to be seen like this as crying is "sissy" for a man.
  • Misplaced Accent: Given that everyone speaks English, this comes up in most episodes but it's never more glaring than in "Buffalo Bill and Annie Play the Palace" which depicts Queen Victoria, her granddaughter Princess Victoria and Grand Duke Michael of Russia as having American accents. It's all the more irritating as every other British character on the series has some variety of British accent, as does the odd non-Briton for that matter.
    • In "Jack's Back", Arthur Conan Doyle (who was Scottish) has an English accent.
  • Near Villain Victory: "The Trial of Phineas Bogg." Drake has convicted and banished thirty Voyagers and it looks like Phineas is going to be the thirty-first, until Susan turns up with Drake's copy of The Prince, in which he wrote all the unethical things he did. Drake would have won if he'd been able to resist leaving a record for posterity.
  • Parental Abandonment: Jeffrey's parents died in a car accident before the beginning of the show (and his aunt, who was boarding him in the pilot, wasn't too keen on having him there), hence his willingness to chase around time and space with Bogg. It helps that Phineas attempts to fill the gap.
  • Parental Substitute: While they don't have an average father/son relationship, Jeffrey gives signs of seeing Bogg as a substitute for his parents, who were killed before the beginning of the show.
  • Platonic Declaration of Love: Drake accuses Phineas of endangering Jeffrey during their time-travel experiences. Phineas responds that he loves Jeffrey and wouldn't let anything hurt him. As Phineas said in an earlier episode that he would like to be able to say Jeffrey was his son, it's pretty clear it isn't romantic.
  • The Queen's Latin: In "Created Equal", Cicero and the slave-master Bitiatus both have upper class English accents.
  • Ripple Effect Indicator:Red Light = History Needs Fixing. Green Light = History's Been Fixed.
  • Ripple Effect-Proof Memory: After setting history back on course, Jeffrey and Bogg are the only ones who remember the alternative timelines.
  • San Dimas Time: Most episodes start with Jeffrey and Bogg arriving in one time period, jumping to another time period (usually to escape a sticky situation), and then returning to the first time period to fix history. This often results in Bogg wanting to hang around in the second time period (usually because of a woman) while Jeffrey anxiously tries to impress on him the urgency of needing to go back to the first time period "before it's too late", despite how little sense this makes.
  • Set Right What Once Went Wrong: This was also the plot for the entire series — Phineas and Jeffrey would travel through time to "give history a little nudge".
    Bogg: We travel through time to help history along - give it a push where it's needed. When the Omni's red, it means history's wrong. Our job is to get everything back on track.
  • Steampunk
  • The Last of These Is Not Like the Others: While trying to cheer up/distract Jeffrey during "Cleo and the Babe", Bogg lists three examples of Manly Tears occurring during history: Napoleon at Waterloo, George Washington at Valley Forge, and General Eisenhower at Bunker Hill. Jeffrey, as intended, reacts in surprise, knowing that the third is inaccurate.
  • They Fight Crime!: A girl-crazy pirate and a kid from the 80's save history from... um... itself?
  • Time Travel Escape: This happens once per episode, though Bogg and Jeffrey always return to set history back on course.
  • Time Travelers Are Spies: In "Sneak Attack", Jackie Knox mistakes Bogg and Jeffrey for Axis spies in Pearl Harbor on December 6, 1941.
  • Trapped in the Past: As the Omni is only supposed to go up until 1970 and Bogg's arrival in 1982 was a fluke, he can't return Jeffrey to his own time.
  • Wacky Parent, Serious Child: Played with. Bogg and Jeff's relationship is odd, but there are hints that it's partially a father/son bond. Bogg is historically ignorant and easily distracted by a pretty face, often needing Jeff to advise him or get him back on track. However, there are cases where it's Jeff who needs Bogg to keep him in line.
  • Young Future Famous People: In the first episode, Jeffrey and Bogg find the infant Moses in his basket and send it down the Nile where it was discovered by the Pharaoh's daughter. They later meet the 12-year-old Samuel Clemens (a.k.a. Mark Twain) in Hannibal, Missouri in 1847 and the 14-year-old Buffalo Bill Cody (whom they had previously met as an adult at Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee celebrations in London in 1887) working the Pony Express in 1860. Furthermore, they often meet historical figures before they become famous but who are already adults such as Spartacus, Harriet Tubman and Theodore Roosevelt. Bogg helps deliver Dwight D. Eisenhower in "Barriers of Sound".

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Series/Voyagers