NBC's new time travel epic, Journeyman, is a show so overloaded with backstory that much of the time one spends watching the pilot is used deciphering the interactions rather than focusing on the show itself. This might be a more fruitful exercise if the romantic story arcs were not so clichéd. The show definitely has interesting elements to it, but too much of it seems focused on soap opera-type romance.
Journeyman centers around Dan Vasser (Kevin McKidd, Rome). Dan is a newspaper reporter who happens to get swept up in a huge ball of light that sends him back in time, but just a few years back. After getting his bearings (at least a little), Dan saves a man who is about to kill himself, and soon jumps back into the present. Throughout the rest of the pilot, Dan jumps to different moments in the past, continually interacting with the same man and his wife, and meets up with a few people from his own past. He quickly learns that time in the present does not stand still when he is in the past, nor does the amount of time he was in the past directly correspond with the amount that elapses in the present.
Back in the present, Dan's wife, Katie (Gretchen Egolf) becomes increasingly distraught with her husband's disappearances. It becomes abundantly clear that Dan has had some sort of problem in the past, presumably, though not definitely, alcohol addiction or another type of addiction. Additionally, his marriage to Katie has been going through a rough period which has just gotten back on track prior to Dan's disappearances. Thus, Dan skipping out for days at a time wreaks havoc in his marriage.
Making the whole thing that much more complicated is the fact that Dan keeps seeing the ex-love of his life, Livia (Moon Bloodgood) when he goes back in time. Livia, it seems, was last seen by Dan as she was getting in a cab to go to the airport years previously. Though the show does not state as much till more than halfway through, the audience quickly perceives that the plane Livia was on crashed. Dan's seeing Livia in the past causes his unresolved feelings for her to resurface, creating an odd sort of love triangle with his wife.