It’s a mix of three or more things I noticed.
It composes a similar plot to The Host, where people are overtaken (for the lack of better words) by the consciousness of people from the future. The difference is in the future part and the transferring of consciousness through space and time. In The Host we seen things happening in a linear fashion. No one was tampering with time travel or anything like that. In Travelers, we get to see a host come from the future and overwrite the consciousness of a person at any given time. Some similarities are the host assumes their entire identity, making the body and host one being.
The second of course is the Terminator. About a man, technically a cyborg, from the future coming back in time to alter a desolate future. The team in Travelers are on a mission exactly like the Terminator because in their time it is all but lost. You notice this when people from the future come and they’re completely amazed by things we take for granted, like air and food. You only get an idea of their world through those types of moments, but you get the idea that their world is like when Neo first went into that world outside the Matrix. Now that I mentioned it, there’s quite a few films with this idea of a terrible future and humans being the cause of it. It’s good propaganda for enivormental reasons. Even Cable’s character from Deadpool 2 comes to mind because his motivation was all but the same. A destroyed future caused by humans so he comes back in time to repair events that led to his daughter’s death. It’s all very interesting themes to say the least.
The third aspect involves artificial intelligence. A subject we’ve seen in films time and time again. Is it man’s best friend or is it skynet? Fiction aside, if you ever saw Person of Interest (because it has similar themes involving A.I.) or Black Mirror’s Hang The DJ, then you’ll know where I’m going. In Travelers, it was revealed that this director, who designed the ‘grand plan’ to avoid an asteroid striking earth and sending it into an unlikely future, was an A.I. program. And every mission given to followers is guided by this A.I.
Now in the Hang The DJ episode for example, there also existed an A.I. program designed to match lovers together, and the willing participates we’re instructed to follow the A.I.’s programming, but the main characters eventually rebel. We also get to see (in Travelers) that having changed the future, a split has created factions in this future world where there are those who follow the director (the A.I.) and the grand plan, and those who side against it to what I assume are those people who are like Will Smith’s character in I Am Robot. The whole mentioning of Person of Interest and Black Mirror more specifically is that we see this dynamic with artificial intelligence replacing more and more of man and woman’s faculty to where they take orders from it, like it were a God.
As I’ve said throughout this piece, the themes are all interesting to me because it makes me imagine the possibility of a world where ideas within this show aren’t works of art, but are works of reality. From the healing components of nanotechnology right down to the most excited part of people from the future altering events of the past to change time. It’s nothing new of course (Continuum, History of Trunks to name a few) but the show breathes new life into these varying concepts. And with its degree of drama we see between the characters and their upside down lives, it all makes for a good show in my opinion.