TORONTO — As Eric McCormack sees it, the grim future in his Vancouver-shot sci-fi series “Travelers” doesn’t seem so far-fetched these days.
The drama, which launches its third season Friday on Netflix, stars the Toronto native as one of several time travellers from a dystopian future who go back to the 21st century via their consciousness and infiltrate the bodies of people in an effort to save humanity from calamity.
With political tensions high in the U.S. and a recent report from the United Nations warning of dire climate change as soon as 2040, McCormack sees “so many parallels” between the show and today’s world.
“I’m sure (creator) Brad Wright would love to claim that he was being prescient but he couldn’t have imagined when he wrote season 1 how prescient he was being,” McCormack said in a recent phone interview from Los Angeles, where he has a home with his family.
“We’ve seen post-apocalyptic visions for decades — they usually involved man destroying himself, usually with the atom bomb or something. But now what we’re seeing is two-fold: It is climate change, it’s very much what we’ve done to ourselves without admitting it, and even now our government isn’t admitting it down here, which is just incredible.
“And we’re also talking about nuclear war in ways that always used to seem ludicrous. At its worst we thought, ‘No one is really ever going to push that button,’ and now we have a buffoon that is just dangerous enough that it’s a real concern. I had a line in the second season where I said, ‘The reason we came back to this particular period, to the early 21st century, is because this is when the future has traced it to the beginning of the end’ — and now that line doesn’t seem science-fiction at all.”
That line was written into the series in season 2 to reflect the current political climate, noted the “Will & Grace” star.
“I was calling that the sky was falling before the (U.S.) election and I had friends going, ‘Oh, relax, it can’t be that bad. They’ll rein him in,’” said the Emmy and Golden Globe-nominated actor, referring to U.S. President Donald Trump.
“No. It’s worse than we ever thought, it’s worse every day than we ever thought. There’s not a day of rest. Not a day.”
McCormack, who splits his time between L.A. and Vancouver, said the political upheaval south of the border has him leery about living in the U.S.
“I’m just scared. I’m scared,” he said. ”We have a number of reasons to stay here and keep our double life, but what sounded like overreaction two years ago, it’s starting to feel less and less like that.
“My wife and I both love where we’re from and we love the home we’ve created in Vancouver, and I love working there. The nice thing about the Netflix show is we’re creating television for the world but we’re doing it in Canada, with Canadians, starring Canadians — and I’m proud of that.”
“Travelers” also stars MacKenzie Porter, Jared Abrahamson, Nesta Cooper, Reilly Dolman, and Patrick Gilmore. The first two seasons were on Netflix and Showcase in Canada.
Season 3 is exclusively on Netflix, which offers more cohesion, said McCormack.
“The problem with it being both a Showcase show and then a Netflix outside of Canada (show) was that we were kind of making two shows,” McCormack said.
“There was a network show that had to be a certain length, we couldn’t swear, and so if you watched it on Showcase, there’s something you didn’t get in every episode, probably four or five minutes possibly worth of material. So this year we didn’t have to do that — we didn’t have to do two edits, we could just tell the story.”