A Web Exclusive Review with Kat Wells
Imagine if H.G. Wells and Jack the Ripper knew each other. Were good friends, even. Now imagine that Jack the Ripper took off in H.G. Wells’ time machine to escape the cops and Wells followed him and they ended up in 2017 and were chasing each other all over New York City! Pretty fucking cool idea, huh?
That’s the premise of ABC’s new drama, Time After Time. The show is based on the 1979 film (and novel) of the same name, and this 2017 iteration was developed for ABC by Kevin Williamson (which makes some sense given the Ripper aspect of the story, but which makes little sense given how much I expect out of Kevin Williamson and how little this show delivers).
Episode 1: Pilot
|H.G. Wells and Jack the Ripper: A Buddy Comedy (j/k, I wish)|
The rest of the pilot is filled with the tropes of time travel fiction that we are all by now familiar with. Once in 2017, Wells is apprehended by security at the New York City museum the machine winds up in, and is very confused by the fact that the assistant curator he must answer to is a woman (Genesis Rodriguez). He even stands up every time she does, like some kind of chivalrous relic! LOLZ! Wells wanders around New York City, mesmerized by the sights and sounds of the future and dismayed at the absence of any trace of the beloved Utopia he expected it to be.
|Skyscrapers and drones and selfie sticks... Oh my!|
If that all seems a little plodding and exhausting, it kind of is. It’s a very exciting premise, for sure (already realized to better effect in the 1979 film starring Malcolm McDowell and David Warner), but the procedural nature and paint-by-numbers box-ticking of network television has taken much of the fun out of it. All of the elements are ostensibly there: romance, action, mystery (there are other people of our “when” who somehow also know Wells has traveled to our time and are trying to find him). But it doesn’t quite gel.
Episode 2: I Will Catch You & Episode 3: Out of Time
|Wells, sporting brand new 2017 hair, hangs with Jane and his time machine|
The first three episodes of Time After Time feel like one long movie (and not really in a good way); after a little digging, I found that they do indeed, with a few exceptions, follow the plot of the 1979 film. I guess that’s fine, but I’m having a hard time imagining where it goes after that. Even more frustrating to me is how well and quickly both the Ripper and Wells adapt to the modern world, asking girls why they’re “single,” tossing around phrases like “self-aware,” and making jokes about Crossfit (honestly, how in the HELL does H.G. Wells know what Crossfit is after only a few days in our “when,” let alone the stereotypes about people who Crossfit? I could scream).
|Jack the Ripper: cell phone user and nice shirt enthusiast|
Kat's Rating: 2.5 out of 5 Anachronistic Hairdos
Time After Time airs Sundays on ABC at 9pm