Yes, once upon a time, before all the multiverses collided into one big, messy mashup of entertainment properties, time travel was the most utilized gimmick for a couple of years. Time travel stories were appearing everywhere. In the same way, multiverse stories are going wild now. Time loops, paradoxes, and so much more became exciting tools to put the characters into some of the most nerve-wracking possible situations. The Lazarus Project feels like a relic from that old-era time-traveling shenanigans. The series is a clear example of how things can travel around in time, even on television.
The Lazarus Project is a TV series produced by Sky Max and created by Joe Barton. Barton has been a TV veteran for decades, and he has been able to work on many successful shows, including a couple of ones that fall under the genre umbrella. The series stars Paapa Essiedu, Anjli Mohindra, Rudi Dharmalingam, Charly Clive, Brian Gleeson, and Tom Burke. The series tells the story of George, a man who suddenly sees himself trapped inside a time loop. George is then recruited by The Lazarus Project, a secret organization that uses time travel to prevent some of the greatest catastrophes in human history.
The Lazarus Project functions very much like a series of old movies. Not only because it tries very much to be as simple as possible with its time travel exploits but also because the entry-level is quite approachable. Yes, there are time paradoxes and a lot of information to process, but at its core, there is a very clean and solid story about a man finding himself in a very crazy situation. In some ways, The Lazarus Project has more in common with a spy show such as 24 than with something like Back to the Future or Primer. Here, the agency, its agents, and how they approach time travel to solve problems make the show feel like classic television.
In fact, we could say that what really distinguishes The Lazarus Project from other projects is the focus on its characters. There are many shows out there with secret organizations that look at and do many cool things all around the globe. Which is create, the cool factor will always be something that people will feel attracted to. However, in stories like this, there are very few moments where the story stops to focus on the characters and how this time travel stuff is affecting them. The result is a very interesting case study of how time travelers might actually feel in the case that this technology actually existed.
This element might not be the most showy, spectacular, or mysterious element on the show. Still, it is definitely the most interesting and the one that I want to see further develop in future seasons. Season 2 is already in the works, and we are waiting for its upcoming release. Why so soon? Well, the fact is that The Lazarus Project, or at least the season that is now being shown in America, was released last year on Sky Max. It really makes you wonder how we are in 2023, and this kind of release is still a thing. You would think that a series like this would be released at the same time worldwide. And yet, some audiences still have to wait a full year for the show to be released in their territories.
Thankfully, the number of spoilers on the internet is minimal. The reach of the first season during its original release was not that big, and it ended up being one more of those British shows that only British people can watch. This is great for new audiences because the series also places mystery as a big factor in its storytelling besides the fantastic character development. The character begins piecing together the mystery of an incoming global tragedy, and the audience’s journey to piece the clues together is vital for the show’s enjoyment.
The entire cast is filled with fantastic actors, but Essideu really shines, taking on the role of the fish out of water. He is the audience’s surrogate, but he is also a character of himself, with his own passions, biases, and many questions that will help us, the viewers, to understand what is happening in the story. However, Anjli Mohindra shines as Archie, one of the agents inside the Lazarus Project, and the one who guides Essideu’s character through the maze of time travel. Mohindra has the looks, attitude, and acting chops to become a big star.
If there is something that hurts the show a bit is that the second half of the season over texts itself a bit too much. By the time the season ends, you can feel that at least two episodes could have been cut from the final runtime, creating a more direct and powerful story. What it is, isn’t bad, but it makes you feel like you are running in circles too many times. And, of course, don’t expect to find any proper answers during this season, as everything, or most of it, is left in the air for the second season as the story continues. Everything is very intriguing, so it makes us keep watching.
In the end, The Lazarus Project is a classical secret agency show that knows how to use time travel to raise the stakes to a new level. All the actors do an amazing job, and Anjli Mohindra delivers a breakthrough performance. The writing’s pace could have been a bit better during the second half of the season, but the build-up to what is coming and the character development make everything worthwhile. Let’s hope the creators can stick the landing with an ending that feels like the proper conclusion to all these elements and characters they have created.