Oct 24, 2016

The Ian Fleming Episode of Timeless Airs Tonight on NBC

The Ian Fleming appearance on NBC’s Timeless that EW first reported over the summer will air tonight at 10/9c. Sean Maguire, who played Robin Hood on Once Upon A Time and, it should be noted, bears no resemblance to Fleming, will play the James Bond author in a story set during his wartime service for British Naval Intelligence. Based on the trailers and clips, however, I don’t think we should expect a historically accurate Fleming on the time travel adventure show. Instead, it looks like we’ll get the James Bond surrogate the author is usually used as on television. Which isn’t automatically a bad thing; it could still be a lot of fun. Based on the clips, it looks like we’ll be seeing Maguire playing Jason Connery’s Ian Fleming from the 1990 TV movie Spymaker: The Secret Life of Ian Fleming. This Fleming is undercover behind German lines, something the real, deskbound Fleming may have dreamed of doing, but couldn’t risk owing to the secrets that he knew. Yet the notion of Fleming on a commando raid disguised in Nazi drag persists in popular culture (seen most recently in the BBC miniseries Fleming). Indeed, it has its barest roots in reality, as written in John Pearson's still excellent biography. Screenwriters are wont to spin some of Fleming's more creative notional operations that he dreamed up for the 30 Assault Unit commandos into the very sorts of adventures the future author probably imagined himself going on... and frequently combine that with an actual intelligence gathering trip he undertook, after the fighting had been done, to recover the German Naval Archive. Indeed, Timeless Executive Producer Eric Kripke admits that Fleming was more or less filling a void in their script. He told EW, "We needed a spy in Germany to help our heroes and bring them into this world… and we turned to our historian, and he said, ‘Let me work on it,’ and then he comes running in the room an hour later and says, ‘Ian Fleming was there!'" So it doesn't sound like a history lesson, but then it hardly needs to be. It does sound like it could be pretty fun, so I'll certainly be watching tonight. (And Timeless is a fun show already.) Unfortunately, one of the main rules of the series is that the characters can't return to points in time they've already visited, so it seems highly unlikely that Fleming could become a recurring character.

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