Mitch Manners is your average time traveler, caught in a never-ending journey into the distant past. The situation he finds himself in, however, is far from ordinary.

You see, he’s not only stuck in the past, but he also finds himself stuck with the task of completing missions that end up being erased from his memory as soon as they’re completed.

That is, until Mitch Manners is suddenly transformed from a meandering journeyman consigned to exploring the past into a prisoner of a mysterious force that controls all of Mitch’s actions, including having him become a hired killer, with the fate of the earth hanging in the balance. Now, Mitch finds himself in a battle for his own survival, as well as the survival of all humanity.

That incredible story continues in season 2 of the sci-fi/thriller web series TIME KEEPER, created by Daryn Murphy, and which recently wrapped its 10 episode second season on July 5th.

Both seasons 1 and 2 are now streaming on its official web site and Youtube pages. The season 2 premiere of TIME KEEPER can be viewed at the embedded link located at  the end of this article. Season 3 is currently in pre-production, and Murphy hopes that filming will begin later this year. While he also hopes that TIME KEEPER will continue to grow its viewership, Murphy is considering a crowd funding campaign to make season 3 a reality.

TIME KEEPER stars Matt Lunsford as Mitch Manners, an ordinary man thrust into an extraordinary situation that changes his otherwise humdrum existence, and leads him to perhaps the most important mission he will ever have to accomplish – to save the world and himself from the mysterious presence that holds both in its grip.

In season 1, he ends up killing his former love Jan (Brandii Banks) on orders from the malevolent force who’s imprisoned him. As season 2 progresses, though, Mitch’s new powers come not just with responsibility, but with an intense moral dilemma that pervades his existence. Throughout the season, those responsible for putting Mitch in the crisis he finds himself in become more visible, and he soon finds out just how significant his role in the survival of the planet really is.

The series’ ensemble cast also features Chris Jackson as Mitch’s handler Dave, who always manages to stay on top of the time traveler’s adventures no matter where he lands, or how far back into the past he goes. His accomplice, Giselle (Katie Castonguay) also lends a hand to Dave as he keeps up to date with Mitch’s various journeys.

In season 2, Mitch’s world is made even more complicated and perilous by the mysterious Emily (Alison Burns). Emily serves as Dave’s associate, but is more responsible to the secret forces and powers that have become a primary part of Mitch’s mission.

More often than not, Emily’s an enforcer whose only mission is to carry out the agenda set forth by those powers. Yet, the real reason for her existence, as well as how she relates to Mitch, and above all, her true motives, are unknown to all but Emily herself.

Murphy was inspired by two very different sources to create TIME KEEPER. As he recalls, one was a popular video game that’s known for its emphasis on changing time. “I was playing the 1st installment of the game, Prince of Persia – Sands of Time, on Playstation. If you are unfamiliar, it also has an element tied to controlling time, but specifically, each time you reach a save point, the character goes into a sort of vision where you see flashes of the next stage of the journey you are about to take, flashes of the future.

The other inspiration for Murphy’s tale of a lost time traveler whose journeys turn into a battle for survival was, for the most part, from one of TV’s most celebrated sci-fi series. While trying to make the concept of inconsistencies in time understandable can often be a difficult task, Murphy decided to make those abnormalities a major part of TIME KEEPER’s setting, as well as its storytelling.

“When there is a time loop event in a STAR TREK episode (in THE NEXT GENERATION or VOYAGER, etc.) usually some character will note an inconsistency in cause and effect, something like ‘but if you weren’t there to do that thing then how did it happen in the first place and cause the blah blah blah’,” Murphy says.

“And someone will generally answer not to waste your energy thinking through temporal irregularities as you’ll never figure it out, or it will give you a headache. So I thought about creating a show where those kinds of paradoxes and temporal equations are not only common place, but used as tools and factored into a purposeful design,” he adds.

In fact, Murphy believes that the concept of time control, plus the frightening situation the show’s time traveling hero finds himself in, may be what truly makes TIME KEEPER unique. “I think taking the notion of the cause and effect paradox issues and making them a main feature of what users are really trying to do to affect time is part of that,” he says.

“And of course throwing our lead actor in the mix to be confused and thrown about like the audience so that he can basically bear the weight of not knowing what’s going on, but being along for the ride same as the viewers.”

Filmed entirely in Tampa-St. Petersburg, Florida, TIME KEEPER made full use of the city’s talented acting and movie/TV production community.

For Murphy, assembling the show’s ensemble was made easier thanks primarily due to that extensive resource; a process he detailed in full in an earlier article he wrote for SNOBBY ROBOT. (Soon to be posted!)

“In 2009 I was hired to DP (be a director of photography for) a feature film and the producer and director behind it are very involved in the theatre community. So when it came time to cast TIME KEEPER, I called the producer of that project up and she was able to narrow down a list of potentials based upon what I was looking for,” he says.

From there, production of season 1 began in earnest. As all web series creators can attest, however, getting a show from the written page to the screen can come with many challenges and many opportunities to learn from those difficulties. One aspect Murphy sought to improve on for season 2 was keeping his cast compensated for their hard work.

“In shooting season 1, I went into the project with a very small budget which did not allow for cast or crew pay, but (I) knew that going into Season 2, which was bigger in scale, I wanted to make sure those jobs were filled,” he says. Another key part that Murphy hoped to improve as season 2’s filming began was on the technical side.

During season 1, though, trying to achieve the best sounding audio possible proved to be another stumbling block for Murphy and his crew. “One area, for example, in season 1 that was lacking was a dedicated manager of production sound. Simply put, sound engineers in the area were often booked and even the few interested in working of an independent production (that I could find anyway) couldn’t come on with no pay.”

By the time season 2 began shooting, Murphy began to alleviate those problems with a larger crew working alongside his talented cast. “In season 2, I was able to find that role and feel comfortable entrusting that job to him. I also brought on other roles that would have been invaluable in season 1 that also were not easy to come by,” he says.

“I was able to have an AD, a gaffer, and grips pretty much throughout, which made shooting the production more manageable.  For the same reason, in season 1, I was DP for approximately 50% of it. In season 2, only about 25%.”

Nevertheless, two of the biggest difficulties any web series creator can face arose throughout filming of season 2: finding locations to shoot in, and to keep up with the busy schedules of actors. Murphy found himself facing those challenges head on as season 2’s filming got underway.

“What was a strength in getting through dialogue by using theatre actors, could sometimes be a hindrance due to the fact that most, if not all of them, were usually in a play, or preparing for one. Though, on that same note, they were all willing to go far above and beyond the norm, often coming from one job to the set and then flying off to a rehearsal, or something, so lots of dedication,” says Murphy, who adds that while many of the show’s cast were on set at the same time, their experience in theatre helped them maneuver each script’s often large chunks of dialogue.

However, the adversities didn’t stop there, particularly when it came to filming at night.

“Night scenes involving generators could also be difficult on a small budget as often the situation would have suggested a better package (as far as grip truck, power and equipment) and we generally had the generator closer than the sound engineer, or I, would have liked,” he adds.

Despite all those difficulties, season 2 of TIME KEEPER was a complete success thanks to its talented and dedicated team – both in front of, and behind the camera.

A series that Murphy feels will win over fans of shows like DOCTOR WHO, STAR TREK and other serialized sci-fi series, plus other time travel-based movies and TV shows, TIME KEEPER is filled with suspense, thrills, compelling characters, and maybe a laugh or two along the way. Yet, he says, viewers can expect the mood to evolve as season 1 transitions into season 2.

“When I describe the show to people who have never seen it, my elevator pitch is a cross between Quantum Leap and Memento. Season 1 Episode 1 of TIME KEEPER is much in line with what you would expect in a QUANTUM LEAP dynamic and there’s even a joke thrown in to reference it, but by the end and getting deeper into Season 1, it becomes a very different, darker thing.”

Reaction to the series has been overwhelmingly positive for Murphy. However, just like many web series creators fighting to stand out in a crowded marketplace of other series – and time wasters like the latest viral video sensations, getting people to watch is always a challenge.

“The reaction has been very positive among those who have seen it. In the local scene, I’ve heard a number of times that it’s one of the best local productions they have seen. The tough part, not that I’m alone in this, has been driving viewers to find it and see it. One of my main weaknesses is networking in general and I’ve been trying my best to get the word out.”

Nevertheless, Murphy hopes to improve TIME KEEPER’s profile, along with making it a profitable venture through festival screenings, and through networking and cross-promotion with his fellow filmmakers.

“I would love if it could draw enough attention to offset some of the costs involved, but mostly it is in an effort to draw people in, build an audience of followers who hopefully want to see more TIME KEEPER, go out to festivals and meet other creators and support campaigns for features as well as other web series.”

TIME KEEPER is a show that’s more than just a story about an ordinary guy in an extraordinary situation. It’s a show set in a world that challenges the boundaries of time, and with people who must fight to save not only the world, but also themselves, and all that they stand for, against mysterious entities who want nothing but to destroy it all. Fighting for what you believe in is just as important in real life as it is in the series, and it’s a mission depicted through Mitch’s incredible journey as TIME KEEPER unfolds.

Murphy describes the show, and its core concept, this way: “The show’s theme is very much about being denied the thing you want most and revolting against the notion that it can be kept from you. Season 1 and a lot of season 2 involves Mitch knowing what he has lost once he had something to lose and we will see the lengths to which he is willing to go to get it back and also the backlash within himself for giving into that need.”

(Note: The series is not currently closed-captioned.)



TWITTER: @TimeKeeperShow

The first episode of TIME KEEPER’s second season can be viewed here: