“Making History” is the newest addition to Fox’s Sunday night lineup. Brought to you by the producers of “The Last Man on Earth,” the comedy series premiere of “Making History” proves to fit in well with other shows in the lineup such as “Bob’s Burgers,” “Family Guy” and “The Last Man on Earth.”
The pilot opens with our hero Dan, played by Adam Palley, an almost too laid-back maintenance guy, trying to leave work early at Bedford College in Lexington, Massachusetts. As he is packing his things Chris, played by Yassir Lester, a self-righteous history teacher, threatens to have Dan fired for ducking out early instead of fixing Chris’ classroom’s heat. After some “smooth” talking Dan ends up bailing work to travel—through time to 1775 colonial America.
Dan travels back and forth to 1775 often and has made a pretty sweet life for himself in the colonies. While talking to his colonial girlfriend Deborah, played by Leighton Meester, Dan gets held at musket-point by British soldiers. It is then he realizes something has gone terribly wrong; Paul Revere is a few days late on his legendary horse ride through town to let everyone know the British are coming.
Dan goes back to 2016 to find that America is subtly starting to gain British qualities, like people drinking tea instead of coffee and eating fish and chips. To stop the possible damage that is facing present-day America Dan must recruit the uptight history professor to help him fix the past.
Despite their differences the two men end up being a pretty solid team. Dan’s cool-dude attitude complements Chris’s nerdiness quite well. Palley and Lester’s performances alone make the show worth watching. Meester’s part is not as prominent in this episode, but it is obvious she will play an important role later on.
“Making History” relies heavily on pop culture references for laughs. When Dan is in colonial America he can never come up with the right words to say to people. To make up for this he steals references from the 20th and 21st century. He swoons Deborah with a beautiful and heartfelt rendition of Celine Dion’s “My Heart Will Go On.” Deborah asks him where he is always disappearing to and he replies, “to infinity and beyond!” The “Titanic” and “Toy Story” references are a little cheesy and outdated, but that is just part of Dan’s character.
The writers manage to weave in issues regarding race in modern American society. Chris, the African-American history teacher, ends up having a rough time in the era of slavery. The audience really feels for Chris when he says to a horse, “you get treated better than me in this time.”
At one point Deborah excitedly asks, “so in 2016 black people and white people are friends?” Dan says, “yes, exactly!” while Chris simultaneously says, “not at all.”
Although these issues are brought up with humor, the seriousness the writers feel toward racial equality is in plain sight.
Should you watch it?: Maybe.
“Making History” may not be the greatest show Fox has put out, but it has its moments. For those of you who are skeptical of another take on the overdone time travel plot, be open-minded. Also, history buffs should take this show with a grain of salt. While the American history aspect is essential to the plot, this is not The History Channel; this is a comedy on Fox.
Catch “Making History” Sundays at 6:30 p.m. on Fox.
Collegian reporter Jonny Rhein can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @jonnyrhein.