5 Reаsons Stаr Trek: Piсаrd Fаns Need To Wаtсһ Terry Mаtаlаs’ Otһer Sсi-Fi Sһow

While fans await news of the proposed Star Trek: Picard spin-off, Star Trek: Legacy, they should check out Terry Matalas’ other fantastic sci-fi show.

Star Trek Picard 12 Monkeys James Cole Deacon


  • 12 Monkeys offers a unique and fascinating take on time travel, incorporating predestination paradoxes and intersecting timelines.
  • Fans of Star Trek will recognize familiar faces in 12 Monkeys, including Todd Stashwick and Aaron Stanford.
  • The show is filled with shocking twists and satisfying pay-offs, with a strong internal logic that ties up loose ends and completes character arcs.

Star Trek: Picard season 3 showrunner Terry Matalas has another incredible science fiction show that should appeal to Star Trek fans. Picard season 3 reunited the core crew of the USS Enterprise-D on one last adventure to save the galaxy, and has received praise from critics and fans alike. With beloved familiar faces, classic villains, and compelling new characters, Picard season 3 had a lot to love, and much of that is thanks to Terry Matalas. Now that no new Star Trek shows are currently airing, fans may be looking for something else to watch, and they should look no further than Matalas’ other brilliant sci-fi show.

Syfy’s 12 Monkeys, created by Terry Matalas and Travis Fickett, takes the premise of the 1995 Bruce Willis movie of the same name, and expands it into a twisty time-travel series that remains criminally underrated. 12 Monkeys begins with James Cole (Aaron Stanford), a scavenger in a post-apocalyptic future after a deadly plague wiped out most of humanity. Cole then gets recruited by a group of scientists to travel back in time and prevent the enigmatic group known as the Army of the 12 Monkeys from ever releasing the plague in the first place. With its fascinating take on time travel and its incredibly compelling characters, 12 Monkeys takes viewers on a wild ride that comes to a satisfying conclusion at the end of its four seasons.

star trek admiral picard captain worf soji asha
Star Trek Picard Cast & Character Guide: All 3 Seasons

Star Trek: Picard season 3’s cast includes several new characters and the return of some of the biggest names and iconic characters in Star Trek.

5 12 Monkeys Does Time Travel Right

12 Monkeys Season 1 time machine

Star Trek has depicted time travel in various ways, but none quite like the time travel of 12 Monkeys. 12 Monkeys’ take on time travel is fascinating, incorporating predestination paradoxes, time loops within time loops, and various intersecting timelines. Unlike in the 1995 12 Monkeys film, time in the television show is not fixed; it can be altered, but it isn’t easy and the outcome may not be favorable. 12 Monkeys begins in 2043, in a future devastated by a plague that wiped out most of the population.

Scientist Katarina Jones (Barbara Sukowa) invented a time machine that can send people back into the past in a process called splintering. She plans to use this to prevent the plague from ever happening. A scavenger in the wasteland of 2043 named James Cole becomes the first person to successfully travel back in time. In 2013 and then 2015, Cole meets brilliant virologist Dr. Cassie Railly (Amanda Schull), and they begin working together to save the future. The time travel in 12 Monkeys almost feels plausible, with Cole’s and Cassie’s actions finishing a closed time loop that already happened as often as they manage to change something.

4 12 Monkeys Has Some Familiar Star Trek Faces

Star Trek fans will likely recognize several of the actors who pop up in 12 Monkeys. In Star Trek: Picard season 3, Todd Stashwick played Captain Liam Shaw, the prickly commander of the USS Titan who became one of Star Trek’s best new characters. In 12 Monkeys, Shaw plays Deacon, who starts on the side of the villains, but eventually becomes one of the show’s most beloved characters. Aaron Stanford, who plays main character James Cole, and Kirk Acevedo, who plays Cole’s best friend José Ramse, both make stealth appearances in Picard season 3, as well. In Picard season 3 episode 2, “Disengage,” Stanford appears as villainous Ferengi Sneed, while Acevedo portrays his Vulcan friend, Krinn. Other Star Trek actors who appear in 12 Monkeys include Faran Tahir, who played Captain Robau of the USS Kelvin in Star Trek (2009), and James Callis, who appeared in Picard season 2 as Jean-Luc Picard’s father, Maurice Picard.

Sneed and Krinn have a nearly identical backstory to their 12 Monkeys characters, Cole and Ramse. They grew up together as scavengers and saw one another as brothers.

3 12 Monkeys Has Shocking Twists & Satisfying Pay-Offs

12 Monkeys Aaron Stanford James Cole time machine splinter

With its twisty time travel plot and constantly shifting alliances, 12 Monkeys contains plenty of twists and big reveals throughout its four seasons. Plot points from the beginning of a season often come back around by the season’s conclusion, connecting in fascinating ways. Storylines that don’t necessarily happen in the right order make more sense as the story progresses, and time loops close themselves in surprising ways. 12 Monkeys has a strong internal logic that it sticks to for the entire show’s run, making it clear that the show’s creators had the story planned out from the beginning. By the end of the series, everything makes sense and the story comes to a satisfying conclusion that wonderfully ties up the loose ends and completes the characters’ story arcs.

2 12 Monkeys Has Memorable Characters & Great Character Development

One of the best things about Star Trek has always been its characters, and the return of some of these beloved characters in Picard season 3 helped make the season such a success. While the plot of 12 Monkeys is full of action and twists and turns, it’s the characters that make the show work as well as it does. Throughout the show’s four seasons, the characters grow and change, with friends becoming enemies and enemies becoming friends. James Cole starts this journey because he wants redemption from the actions of his past, but he forms important new connections with people along the way.

Cassie begins the series out of her depth, as she struggles to comprehend that a time traveler came to her for help preventing the plague, but she truly comes into her own as the show progresses. Emily Hampshire often steals the show as Jennifer Goines, the troubled math genius who begins the show in a psychiatric facility. Todd Stashwick’s Deacon also becomes a fan favorite, but he begins the series as the ruthless leader of a group of scavengers in the devastated future. These characters make an odd group, but somehow, they all come together to save the world.

1 Picard Season 3 Contains Several 12 Monkeys Easter Eggs

Star Trek Picard season 3 Disengage Jack Crusher James Cole 12 Monkeys

Aside from the actors who made the jump from 12 Monkeys to Star Trek: Picard, Matalas couldn’t help but include some hidden references to his previous sci-fi show. In Picard season 3, episode 2, “Disengage,” Captain Shaw calls out Jack Crusher (Ed Speleer) for being a conman and having various aliases. One of these aliases is James Cole, the name of Aaron Stanford’s character in 12 MonkeysIn a slightly more hidden reference, the drug created by Ferengi dealer Sneed (played by Stanford) is called “splinter,” which was the term used for time traveling in 12 Monkeys.

12 Monkeys and Star Trek: Picard season 3 also look visually similar in many ways, likely because, in addition to Matalas, several producers and other crew members worked on both shows.

In Star Trek: Picard season 3, episode 5, “Imposters,” Captain Shaw hums Simple Minds’ “Don’t You (Forget About Me)” as he escorts Admiral Picard and Captain William Riker (Jonathan Frakes) in a turbolift. Todd Stashwick’s character Deacon often sang this song in 12 Monkeys. As Terry Matalas also served as showrunner for Picard season 2, several references pop up in that season as well, often hidden in lines of dialogue and names of locations. Whether you’re looking for a new show to check out or just want to understand all of the Easter eggs in Star Trek: Picard, Matalas’ 12 Monkeys is a truly phenomenal, underrated gem of a sci-fi show.

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