Travelers was founded in 1864 in Hartford. It was founded to provide travel insurance to railroad travelers at a time when travel was far more risky and dangerous than today, hence the name. Along the way it had many industry firsts, including the first automobile policy, the first commercial airline policy, and the first policy for space travel. In 1954 it established the world's first privately owned weather research facility, the Travelers Weather Research Center, the first organization to make weather predictions using probabilities ("20% chance of rain"). By the early 1990s, Travelers was predominantly a general property and casualty insurer that also happened to do some travel insurance on the side, and it quietly exited its original business in 1994. What was left of Travelers' travel insurance business was acquired by three former employees and is now known as Travel Insured International, a Crum and Forster Company.
In a post-apocalyptic future, thousands of special operatives are tasked with preventing the collapse of society. These operatives, known as "travelers", have their consciousnesses sent back in time and transferred into the "host" body of present-day individuals who would otherwise be moments from death, to minimize unexpected impact on the time line. The transfer requires the exact location of the target, made possible by twenty-first century smart phones and GPS providing time, elevation, latitude, and longitude (TELL) coordinates that are archived for use in the future. Trained using social media and public records concerning their hosts, each traveler must maintain the host's pre-existing life as cover for the rest of their lives, while carrying out missions in teams of five. These missions are dictated by the Director in the future who monitors the time line, and are aimed at saving the world from a series of catastrophic events. One method by which the Director communicates with travelers is via pre-pubescent children used as messengers; unlike adults, any child can safely be taken over for a few minutes by the Director and then released from control without risk of killing them. All travelers are required to behave according to certain protocols to protect the time line:
The first season of Travelers has a score of 100% on Rotten Tomatoes based on nine reviews with an average rating of 8.0/10. Neil Genzlinger, writing for The New York Times, described the first season as "tasty", and "enjoyable science fiction", with "some attention-grabbing flourishes and fine acting". Hanh Nguyen, writing for IndieWire, describes the series as "fun and freaky," finding the series' appeal "in how the core group of five travelers adjust to life in our present," noting the "human nature in the travelers". Lawrence Devoe, of TheaterByte.com, called the series "tautly paced and suspenseful" with "well-developed characters", declaring that "Brad Wright has a real knack for creating futuristic series". Evan Narcisse, reviewing the first five episodes for io9, appreciated the moral dilemmas offered by the series premise and the awkwardness presented by the characters' interactions with their hosts' friends, colleagues, lovers, or caretakers: "This is a superhero show in double disguise, offering up clever explorations of the secret identity concept that touch on the guilt and contortions that come with living a double life." Netflix announced that the series was one of its "most devoured" series in 2017.