Time After Time
Airs: Sundays 9/8 central
Starring: Freddie Stroma, Josh Bowman, Genesis Rodriguez, Nicole Ari Parker
Rating: TV-14 (V)
Reviewer: Lori Twichell
FA Scorecard: B
What happens when the most notorious serial killer in history gets his hands on a time machine? This is the premise of the new ABC television series, Time and Again. H.G. Wells (bonus points if you didn’t have to Google to know he was a real person – and author of The Time Machine) is a young writer working for a newspaper, but he dreams of greater things. His vivid imagination veers into the science fiction realm and the possibility of time travel. This leads him to venture not only into vividly creating adventures on paper, but invention the invention of a real, honest to goodness time machine. Though it looks impossible, the machine actually works. It is unfortunate that Wells realizes this because his friend, John Stevenson, has taken off in the machine to escape Scotland Yard. Stevenson, it seems, is the infamous serial killer, Jack the Ripper.
And thus begins this dangerous and thrilling adventure with Wells chasing his friend along the space/time continuum.
Of course, the two of them end up here, in 2017. (My family loved that it was set up so that they arrived for their adventures on the premiere date of the show!) This is a difficult jump for H.G. as he assumed that by this time in history, the world would be living at complete peace without violence. Stevenson adapts to the digital world quickly – embracing the dark side of 2017.
Anyone who knows me in the least is well-aware of my love of time travel. I have always loved the idea of traveling through time to actually watch history unfold. This isn’t my first go round with this story. Many years ago, there was a film of the same name that starred Mary Steenburgen and Malcolm McDowell. It was a favorite of mine as I was growing up. It may have even been one of the first things that really kicked off my love of time travel. Seriously – look how cool this was!
When I saw the first images for the new series, I wasn’t necessarily impressed. It felt a little bit like Beverly Hills 90210 does time travel. I mean look at Wells and Jack the Ripper – they’re hot! A lot of times shows tend to focus on that hot factor and forget the plot. Thankfully, I can say that I really enjoyed this iteration of the story.
The storylines were fast paced, well plotted and clever. Though I’ve watched many shows where people come from the past to our time, I hadn’t realized some of the most recent inventions that could really throw someone for a loop. Cars and phones and cameras – that’s old news. Seeing the wonder and magic on the face of H.G. Wells as he sees a drone flying on its own over his head and someone riding a hoverboard down the street delighted me. That was one of my favorite scenes and I must say that Freddie Stroma (a personal favorite actor) pulled off that joy and delight beautifully. And it’s agonizing to watch him take in the fact that we aren’t living in a utopia.
My daughter also pointed out that they kept everything precisely relevant to this moment in time. The news stories spliced into the show were as current and updated as one can get on a network show. As someone who works in film and television, it’s not easy to keep things that current in a production – so hats off on that one.
My entire family enjoyed watching this together. Though it could have been truly bloody and gory (Jack the Ripper after all) but they managed to keep it a story that my whole family adored. In fact at the end of the first episode, there was no hesitation whatsoever before starting the next episode. It was unanimous and very passionate that we must see what happens next!
I know the buzz is that this show premiered to low ratings, but I have to say that it has a lot of potential. I’m hopeful that ABC really gives it a solid chance because it could be something outstanding. Besides that, ABC, you need to give us sci-fi fans some love – after the cancelation of Agent Carter and Forever, we’re feeling a little burned. Show us you care! Give Time After Time a fighting chance!