ABC have entered the overflowing time travel game with Time After Time, a downsizing of the 1979 film starring Malcolm McDowell and David Warner in the leading roles of Wells and Jack the Ripper. This introduction of yet another time travel series could well have potential viewers shaking their heads, but this is not on par with the current shows on offer.
For a start, the film, which was a cracking story with some excellent performances, provides the series with a good template to start with. It also benefits from moving the action forward by a good 38 years, or nearly four decades. The pilot works overtime to make this time machine journey arrive in a modern and topical USA. Trump is seen on the big screen television in the hotel bar and cell phones add an interesting facet to the tale.
In essence, Wells introduces his friends to his time machine. As they poke fun at the writer his friend Dr. Stevenson, aka Jack the Ripper is busy killing yet another London prostitute. Stevenson arrives one step ahead of Scotland Yard who are conducting a house to house search.
Anyone who has seen the 1979 film will know what happens next. Stevenson uses Wells’ machine to escape to a future time in New York. Not having the key, the time traveling device returns to Wells home. The writer then follows Stevenson to the future.
As pilots go, this one is full of clever bits and some pretty impressive acting by the leads. Genesis Rodriguez is alluring, endearing and plucky, in turns, and Stroma, along with Bowman, are beyond brilliant in their respective roles.
The Brit actors do a cracking job bringing their interpretation of the roles played by McDowell and Warner in 1979 to the small screen. Show creator Kevin Williamson, the man who teamed up with Wes Craven to create the wildly popular Scream franchise, has given us a villain and a hero that we can sink our teeth into.
Stevenson is thrilled to find that the future is violent and full of promise. Wells is horrified that his friend is a murderer who used his contraption to escape being caught back in Victorian England.
Time After Time looks brilliant. Director Marcos Siega is running a taut ship for the pilot and the quality of the production feels more like a film than a weekly television series. The sets are spectacular and the quality of the camera work is reminiscent of the cinema. This new series screams big screen from the very first frame.
Unlike NBC’S Timeless, or the Netflix offering of Travelers, Time After Time is not about preserving history or trying to fix a problem in the past that affects the future. This series is more personal and intimate.
Sure Timeless has a team chasing a villain but it all amounts to a much broader brush stroke. It is a group of people fighting to defeat an evil organization versus a single man trying to catch a killer across time. The two shows may well be a tad similar in their plot devices but the ways and means differ enormously.
Time After Time is set to air in early 2017 with ABC not yet revealing a premiere date. Looking at the show’s pilot episode however, one thing is certain, whenever the series arrives it will definitely impress.