A splintered commentary of SyFy Channel’s 12 Monkeys 

by Mord McGhee



 In the Year 2015

 You saw the movie and that means you know everything there is to know about the Army of the 12 MONKEYS. You know what our time-splintering anti-hero Cole accomplishes so there’s no sense in hanging with the new rethink of 12 Monkeys ALL THE WAY TO THE BITTER END.

To you I say: BULLSHIT!

You haven’t given 12 MONKEYS a chance, let alone its well-deserved attention.

From top to bottom, the television reboot of 12 Monkeys is a stand-alone hunk of blistering-hot eye candy. Put it in your mouth too soon and you’re going to get the burn of your life. Don’t blame me if you talk funny from that moment on. (But lI leally like Lelve Lonkeys, you say)? Good. Ice the tongue, grab some popcorn, turn off what you think you know about dystopia, and press play on season one.


In the Year 2016

Season Two is upon us. Everything we hoped for in plot and character development is cramming into the boat. There’s a flag above them, flapping in the crosswinds of science fiction and horror. It’s a savory/sweet blend of Scully & Mulder plus 24 Hours Later (Danny Boyle’s, not Sandra Bullock’s). At times dark and brooding, others bright and flashy. I don’t care how much up and down the storyline abuse I as a fan take, it continues to make me think: HELL YES.

The good ship 12 MONKEYS is kicking ass and taking names.

I am SO glad it’s still around this year…


In the Year 2020

 “Must,” the word slips from my own cracked lips, “get me to the writers…”

The room is abuzz with trampling boots. This way, that way. Yelling…

…There are clicks that might be machine guns.

I hear cries of terror.

I’m not sure what the Hell is going on because I’m in a pool of my own blood. I took a bullet from a blue-faced maniac wearing a black cloak. I feel heat. Someone is close enough to my face that I can make out what I think are eyes in the blur. “Who are you?” The voice says.

It’s so hard to breath I almost can’t say my own name.

Mord… Mc…. Mc…. McGhee.”


In the Year 1996

Me: “What?”

“Have you seen the movie Twelve Monkeys? It’s brilliant.”

Me: “I keep falling asleep on it. What I remember was okay. I’m not very bright, so sometimes it’s over my head. That whole loopy-timey-splintery thing.”

“Wanna drink a 30-pack of Iron City and go into the recording studio?”

Me: “Hell yeah.”


In the Year 2015

I was hesitant at first. Every sci-fi person I know (respect or otherwise) can’t believe when I tell them flat-out “I couldn’t make it through the Terry Gilliam version.” Truth be told, the first couple of episodes on SyFy gave me the feeling that it was exactly that all over again.

Then…. Enter the cavalcade of compelling characters.


Now that’s what I like… characters I can sink my teeth into.

The crazy daughter. The ultra-violent leader of the outside Scavs. The dead dude in the Night Room. The explosive dynamics between Ramsey and Cole. Old guys that are too damned good at killing (and remind me of Cancer Man from X-Files).

So I stick with 12 Monkeys past the first few weeks. By episode seven I’m talking to the actors, wondering why they don’t listen to me. Maybe I’d have understood more of the early if I’d seen the movie all the way through, but I don’t give a shit because I’m digging it.


In the Year 2020

“Must… get… to… the writers…..”

The blurry eyes twinkled. They had a light of their own. I imagined the meeting room at SyFy was built to mimic the MACHINE. A voice was thick, over-cooked pudding: “We need to get you to Katerina. She can save you.”

“NO!” The pain sliced from toes to ears. I crinkled, hissing the only names I recall.

“Fickett… Matalas… Tretta…. writers…..”

I’m running out of time.


In the Year 1996

“That was a bad idea. Iron City runs right through me.”

Me: “Maybe next week we should rent the VHS of Twelve Monkeys and I’ll give it another shot.”

“Or we could drink too much and make God-awful music again.”

Me: “Hell yeah.”


In the Year 2015

H.P. Lovecraft had an elegant way with the English language. He was a sweeping orchestra of blood-curdling fright. I’m more of a Rock’n’Roll nightmare that rolls through English mud. But you know what… Cthulhu has a face full of tentacles. That’s heavy metal in my book. It’s hard to argue with an elder god from the depths of the abyss. Got it? No? That’s okay.

I give the first six episodes an entirely different rating than the final seven.

When averaged out, FOUR Great Cthulhus out of five. That my friends is the highest rating achieved by a horror television show in my review column for THE HORROR WITHIN. The building crescendo explodes onto the viewer. The Finale was awesome. Surprises and twists popped the way a brick of firecrackers goes off on one short fuse.

Bravo to SyFy for bringing excellent acting, fantastic writing, and damned good special effects under one highly enjoyable roof. I’m stoked for the second season. It’s been renewed for 2016.

As long as they don’t….


In the Year 2020

I’m surrounded by a wall of dark shapes.

The voices blend together into a sort of Pink Floyd interlude; mumbles and words bouncing off one another. Most making no sense. My eyes close. I hear a woman with a German accent rise above the rest. “I’m here, McGhee!” She cradles my head and looks at the bullet holes. “What was so urgent that you have to tell the writers? Quick! I must splinter you back to a time when Cassie can save you.”

It’s now or never.

The fate of the world hinges upon my message…

“Don’t…. write…. the… fucking… musical… episode… in Season SIX…..”


In the Year 2015

Catch 12 Monkeys on SyFy.

It’s a thrill ride. Even if you’re unsure, you WON’T be disappointed by the time the virus-laden, post-apocalyptic dust settles. Until next time remember it’s only television.


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