Firstly, if you haven’t seen Terry Gilliam’s masterpiece then you must absolutely watch the film before getting this TV series. The 1995 movie is arguably the greatest science fiction film of all time, and the TV version will simply ruin it.
The differences are stark.
A delicate balance in the original brings the audience along as we all wonder if time travel is real, or is this simply madness? The experiences of the characters are sharp and purposeful. Brad Pitt and Bruce Willis turned in the performances of their lives, and Madeleine Stowe is similarly integral to making the story click.
In this new TV series of the same name exposition and easy answers are the norm. Things progress too easily, too quickly, and with the light economy of just coming out and saying it. Everything cheap and disposable about the medium contrasts against the original.
Changes to the characters are a mixed bag. What always bothers me is when Hollywood decides to churn out the same old white male beyond-the-law power fantasy (little dick) killer characters sold as the good guy. It’s the main reason I despise most Hollywood tripe. It is a fascistic power trip shoehorned into the latest plot, and nothing more. Contemptible.
In this case the time travel device has become a license to kill, as everyone is dead anyway–so the logic goes. The main guy is now free to kill at will without remorse, and this idea grated on me sufficiently enough to sour me on the entire project.
It’s more of the same hideous darkness we’ve come to expect, post 9/11. TV people and their conceits…