George’s day was going pretty well until it went to hell.
The Lazarus Project Season 1 Episode 1 began an engaging science-fiction version of “Groundhog Day” with nary a lick of the humor.
Instead of the iconic Bill Murray in this imported British series, we got the likable George, played by Paapa Essiedu (I May Destroy You).
George is an everyman updated for the digital age. Instead of being a fledgling novelist, he was an app designer. They have the same creative drive and the same likelihood of success.
Fortunately, George had his live-in girlfriend, Sarah, in his corner. Sarah is a teacher, but she was willing to carry George’s dream all the same financially. The supportive Sarah is easy to like.
July 1 proved to be an important day for George. He impressed a bank official by singling out an American firm about to undergo turmoil. George landed the loan he needed to get his business-forecasting app, Hazard Lights (great name!), off the ground.
With all the apps being developed, is it that easy to get a loan equipped with just a tablet and an idea? I guess that’s why this is speculative fiction.
Poor George’s celebration was short-lived, with the next deadly virus being foreshadowed on TV at the restaurant where he and Sarah were spending his start-up funding.
Good guy George couldn’t catch a break. Surprisingly, Sarah got pregnant but then caught the virulent MERS-22 virus filling emergency rooms in London.
Time blinked, and George was back in bed with Sarah as July 1 began anew.
If you often watch TV online, you would think that getting a redo would be a good thing. But George poorly handled this development.
Rather than attempting to determine what had happened to him, George shouted about his case of deja vu to the world, which wasn’t amused.
The bank officer wasn’t sold when George told him he had already given George the loan and wouldn’t grant him a loan the second time. Banks try not to hand over money to crazy-sounding people.
When George informed Sarah they had already lived that day, her initial response was more one of concern.
The more obsessed George became, the more their relationship deteriorated until Sarah finally moved out since he wouldn’t get the professional help she recommended.
But as George attempted to chase down Sarah, he finally got a little of the clarity he had been seeking.
A woman came up to him and accurately described how he had been experiencing. She also gave him an address to go to after his next backward time jump.
Fortunately, George was an intelligent guy who learned from his mistakes. So when he jumped back again, he pretended not to notice. After a romp in bed with Sarah, he raced to the address he had been given.
And all became clear to him, thanks to his recruiter, Archie. She was a member of The Lazarus Project, which uses time travel to prevent world-ending cataclysms. Apparently, they had done this multiple times in the past, and most of humanity was totally unaware of it.
George was conscious of these time resets because he was a mutant (unfortunately, not a cool one like Wolverine). Since he was such a rare being, Lazarus wanted to recruit him to their team.
Most of the squad, led by the amiable Mum, were from various militaries around the globe. That’s likely because people considering blowing up the world won’t stop just because you asked nicely. There’s got to be firepower to back up that request.
Then there was George. What possible skill set could he bring to this scientific enterprise? As his fellow mutant Shiv snarkily noted in typical TV quotes fashion, “An app designer. That’s going to come in handy.”
George joined Lazarus but smartly went on living his life, dropping off Sarah at school and then going to “his office,” in this case, a sleek setup monitoring chaos around the globe and a singularity that makes the time jumps possible. (Don’t try too hard to understand the science. Just roll with it.)
An everyday life also meant George had to participate in social occasions, such as a party at the home of Karl, Sarah’s pompous jock coworker who lusts after her.
He bugged George for an investment tip, and George gave him the name of the failing American firm. This turned out to be a crucial plot point.
After foolishly investing, Karl confronted Sarah about his losses. He grabbed at her, causing her to almost stumble in front of a garbage truck, but George arrived in time to catch her.
The first case George caught was a missing nuclear warhead nicknamed Big Boy. Shockingly, Archie downplayed the possibility that the stolen weapon would be any kind of problem like those disappeared every day. Boy, was she wrong!
George’s algorithm (yea, apps!) enabled him to find a link between the bomb theft and a former Lazarus operative turned terrorist. This led to an exciting chase through Paris, where Dane did wonderful things with an RV.
Still, both Dane and Archie ended up shot to death. Fortunately, just as the mushroom cloud formed, Mum made a time jump, bringing Dane and Archie back to life, comic book-style.
However, George found himself in a dilemma. Busy on the phone, he didn’t catch Sarah this time when Karl pushed her. So does he selfishly use what he has learned to benefit himself? It sounds like a “With great power comes great responsibility” moment coming.
To catch how George’s life changes, watch The Lazarus Project online.
Is George in over his head?
Which of the other team members do you like best?
What do you think of using time travel to prevent Armageddon?
Dale McGarrigle is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.