Time travel is having quite a moment on TV right now. Though it’s been around TV since the Twilight Zone days, it seems like every network is suddenly trying to get in on the fourth dimension, with NBC’s Timeless, Hulu’s 11.22.63, the CW’s Legends of Tomorrow, Comedy Central’s Time Traveling Bong, Starz’s Outlander, and Syfy’s 12 Monkeys — not to mention the recent debuts of Making History and Time After Time, on Fox and ABC respectively. With so many recent shows mining laughs, violence, or romance from the past and/or future, we decided to take our own trip through the ages to look at the notable time-travel shows from yesteryear and today — but not the future. We don’t have that technology yet.
Like any good trip through time, there are a few rules. One, visiting parallel universes that look like the future or past don’t count as time travel. Two, the characters need to physically travel through time; it doesn’t count if they can see the past or future with some sort of third eye or a mysterious newspaper. Three, time travel must be part of the show from the get-go — if a series decides halfway through its run to explain confusing story arcs or give itself a do-over (looking at you, Lost), then it didn’t make the cut.