12 Monkeys has returned for a third series, bring yourself back up to speed.

12 Monkeys is a TV show that airs on the US channel SyFy. While its reviews have been mixed at best (Rotten Tomatoes gave its first season 62%, while MetaCritic gave it 57%), it has been extremely well recieved by fans of sci fi. It was so successful that it has been commissioned up to a fourth season when the story will come to a close.

The premise of the TV show is that a man, James Cole, travels back in time from an apocalyptic future where a virus has ravaged humanity to the number of 7 billion deaths. He arrives in his past - our 2015 - to warn of a shadowy organization known as “the Army of the 12 Monkeys”. In a bid to avert the disaster that Cole has witnessed first hand, he enlists the help of world-class virologist Dr Cassandra (Cassie) Railly.

And that’s just the first season, season 2 offers yet more twists and turns as Cole has to come to terms with the power of time travel invested in him and his fellow travellers.

Sound familiar? That’s because it is. Fans of ‘90s sci fi will recognize the plot, and name, from 1995’s 12 Monkeys. The TV show is a near exact copy of the film itself. This had a lot if critics turning up their nose. So it would be safe to assume none of them ever enjoyed an episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, ever, not once. You know just that other cult classic, famously adapted to the small screen from a, well, film.


12 Monkeys Season 3

While commissioned for four seasons, the third season is set to air on SyFy on May 19 2017. There is a trailer released for season 3, watch it below.


12 Monkeys Season 3 Release

The manner in which the series is to be released is a novel approach to cable programming. Released on Friday May 19th, the show’s 10 episodes will air over just three nights. Friday saw four episodes shown back to back. Following that, three episodes aired on Saturday and Sunday.

This Forbes article details the *yawn* financial and marketing logic behind that decision. But you as a fan won’t care about that. All you’ll give a damn for is that you can spend one glorious weekend bingeing your way through the whole season.


12 Monkeys Season 3 Cast

James Cole

Usually just called Cole, he’s played by Aaron Stanford and is the time travelling hero of the show. Hero may be a bit strong, he starts out as an unwilling and flawed leader but grows into his role over the first two seasons. You may recognize Stanford from the 2006 remake of The Hills Have Eyes.

Dr Cassandra (Cassie) Railly

Cassie is a world-class virologist whose work is pored over in the future (Cole’s present) as she leaves a message about the origins of the plague. She also mentions Cole’s name, which spurs on Cole’s selection as the show’s unwilling hero. Cassie is played by Amanda Schull who has a long list of past TV appearances, including repeat appearances in One Tree Hill and Pretty Little Liars.

Jennifer Goines

Fan favorite Jennifer Goines is played by Emily Hampshire. She is integral to the plot of the series but does not feature in the series until midway through the first season. She is the supposedly mentally unstable daughter of Leland Goines, a shady figure in the even-shadier Markridge Group.

José Ramse

José Ramse is played by by Kirk Acevedo. He is Cole’s best friend and although their relationship is regularly tested, it is a close one. Ramse is the only other character, apart from Cole and Cassie to get full credits on the first two seasons. Expect his position to be as important in season 3.


12 Monkeys Movie

The film that the TV show is based on was released in 1995. It was directed by Terry Gilliam, who is famous as the director of films such as Time Bandits, Brazil, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas and the Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus. He was also a founding member of Monty Python. It starred Bruce Willis as James Cole, Brad Pitt as Jeffrey Goines and Madeleine Stowe as Kathryn Railly.


12 Monkeys Season 3 Recap

By now you’ve probably caught up to date with the latest season of 12 Monkeys, right? What did you think? Pretty crazy right? If you’re anything like us, by now you’ve probably watched and rewatched it, and spotted some of the more oblique easter eggs and hints. But if you didn’t, here are a couple straight from the horse’s mouth. Straight from showrunner Terry Matalas himself...

The Showrunners Didn’t Know About Release Schedule 

When the show was being written the showrunners were unaware that the show would be show over three nights in one weekend. But when they were told they pushed to have it released in the chunks that it was; that is 4 episodes on Friday, 3 on Saturday and 3 on Sunday. Of these divisions Matalas said, “Each night is like a season’s worth of stories. I hope it’s something that’s successful and they do it again, because this show in particular, even though it’s very, very episodic and each one is a different thing, the threads are all united and I think if they’re fresh in your brain, the more satisfying it will be.”

The 99 Luftballons Nail-Biter

So not only was episode one Matalas’ directorial debut, he was also concerned it could be his last. The out of context musical number with Jennifer Goines singing 99 Luftballons while stranded in the WWI trenches filled him with fear. He thought it was a real nail-biter that could condemn him to “Director Jail” on his first attempt.

Luckily it seems to have gone down fairly well and Matalas intends to direct the second and last episodes of season four.

The Show Has Time Travelling Royalty

The casting of Pallid Man’s father, Zalmon Shawe, was a no brainer for Matalas. It was of course master of time travel himself, Christopher Lloyd who played Doc Brown in Back to the Future. Lloyd was heavily invested in making his character as creepy as possible, suggesting that the character have no eyebrows. This would give the character an imperceptible oddness.

As originally told to Mental Floss by Terry Matalas.

If you would like to see more articles about other new and exciting TV shows launching check out our Everybody Loves a List! articles.

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