You might think a show with the word "man" in the title would be no place to find a SFL. And unfortunately you'd be right.
The show revolves around reporter Dan Vassar, who suddenly develops the ability to travel through time, apparently to help other people at important junctures in their lives. And when I say "revolves around" I mean it. It's all about him.
Dan is part of a love quadrangle made possible by his time travel. In the past, his wife Katie, dated his brother Jack, and Dan was engaged to a woman named Livia, who died in a plane crash. When he travels back in time, he often visits scenes from the past of the foursome. It can get a little awkward -- in the best possible way, which makes it the most interesting part of the show, as the actual changing people's lives plots aren't that stunning.
In the pilot episode, the moment I became most intrigued with the show was the moment Livia shows up. I was captivated by her sudden appearance as a fellow time-traveler, and was hoping we'd get to follow her story too, see what she's been up to, time-hopping for the last 6 years, see the bigger picture of what the time travel is all about.
Instead, Livia seems to just hang out waiting for Dan, but she doesn't really help much. Finally in the most recent episode (107 - "Double Down"), she does take the bold action of driving a car to help him get away.
I presume she knows more than she tells Dan, but she remains cryptic about what their role is and how it all works. In the third episode, she reveals that she had been time traveling before she met him, and then when they were together, she stopped for a while, until she traveled before her plane went down. Which leaves lots of questions: Is her only job to help him? What does she do when she's not hanging around waiting for him?
One problem is there's no sexual tension at all between Dan and Livia. And we've never really seen him as someone worth mooning/fighting over. The potential to cheat is purely theoretical. Instead of seeing an emotional struggle, this episode features a ridiculous literal fight between current-Dan and past-Dan. And there's the moment when she finds out that he married Katie. Although she now seems to be glued to Dan as he zips around in the past, apparently she never travelled to a moment in his life when she would observe Dan's current married with child state?
In this episode, we finally get to follow Livia somewhere, but yet again, it's All About Dan. She pops into Dan's current-day house to spy on Katie and get Dan's money. Sigh. But at least she's doing something useful.
Which is more than Katie gets to do. A reporter in her own right, the last 2 eps have focused around her basically asking Dan's PERMISSION to go back to work as an anchorwoman. Talk about time travel!
In this ep, fulfilling the role of these two women to help and save Dan, time-travel Livia helps current-Dan help past-Katie save past-Dan from his self-destructive gambling problem.
The other figure in the love quad, brother Jack badgers Katie to find out what's going on with Dan, as he can see it's taking a toll on her. Though he presumably has a continued emotional tie to her, it comes across as bullying, which is too bad, because he could do it in a gentle way, that would make him more appealing as a character instead of making sure we don't root for him. But you know what, I'm annoyed enough by Dan that I now appreciate Jack turning on him.
Tellingly, the photos of Katie (Gretchen Egolf) and Livia (Moon Bloodgood) on the official website are of them posing and vamping. Note to writers: you've got two great women available - use them.