Catastrophic World History Gets Rebooted in TNT's 'Lazarus Project'

“The Lazarus Project” is a new end-of-the-world drama with a twist -- the world doesn’t end just once, but at least four times. 

The mission of this “Project” is to travel back in time with a team of young geniuses to prevent these catastrophes from happening. 

This is one successful project! As we learn in Episode One of “The Lazarus Project” (premiering Sunday on TNT), the Lazarus-ites have succeeded in reversing the course of history on numerous occasions, thereby ensuring the survival of the planet and its people. I hope readers of this TV Blog understand this, because I do not.



Let me try again. According to one of the Project members, for example, the world ended in 1963 when the United States and USSR finally had a nuclear exchange.

But a Lazarus Project team somehow intervened by getting there before the missiles flew, and rearranged things so that the whole scenario would end peacefully. The result: No world-ending nuke exchange! 

The same thing happened in an incident in 1979 in which Pakistan and India had a nuclear exchange that eventually engulfed the world. 

But before that could happen, a Lazarus team swooped in beforehand and changed the whole thing up. 

The show cited two other fictional examples of world-ending events that were also reverse-engineered by the folks at Lazarus.

Think of each of these missions as a reboot. When our PCs or cable boxes suddenly go haywire for no apparent reason, our solution is to reboot, often to a version that preceded our present one -- after which our problems miraculously go away.

Same thing with the Lazarus Project, which restores the world and its people to their pre-catastrophe version, thus heading off disaster.

The show centers on a young man (played by Paapa Essiedu) who suddenly finds himself living for a day or even a few months before time returns to the day the series started and these same time frames repeat themselves.

He repeatedly wakes up on the same day -- always July 1 -- understandably bewildered.

For reasons that a simple-minded TV blogger does not understand and never will, this phenomenon makes him a candidate for recruitment by this highly secret Lazarus Project.

And like so many of these kinds of shows or movies, a mysterious person finds him in an old deserted building and readily reveals all to him. So much for secrecy.

And then, before you can say “Groundhog Day,” the man -- an app developer named George -- is taking part in his first Lazarus mission, guns a-blazin’. 

The TV Blog has written often about TV’s unquenchable thirst for end-of-the-world scenarios and the way all these shows appear to reflect the seemingly widespread fear today that the world is coming to an end.

Every day, it seems, there’s a new threat -- this time from artificial intelligence. I saw this headline just yesterday on warning that AI will kill us all: “AI industry and researchers sign statement warning of ‘extinction’ risk.”

“Mitigating the risk of extinction from AI should be a global priority alongside other societal-scale risks such as pandemics and nuclear war,” said the statement, whose signatories included Grimes, on-again, off-again girlfriend of Elon Musk.

AI, nukes, pandemics … the world can rest easy now that the Lazarus Project is on the case, even if none of us understand what it does, or how it does it.

“The Lazarus Project” premieres on Sunday (June 4) at 9 p.m. on TNT.  

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