ABC’s H.G. Wells time-travel series Time After Time has solved the “why didn’t your character just go back two minutes and keep that from happening?” pit into which time-travel TV series must inevitably fall, by adding a “rule” about ripples in time, and the danger of repeatedly “pricking” one particular space. This “endangers all of time” and could ultimately destroy time and the world, series creator/EP Kevin Williamson explained to TV critics who wondered, at TCA. This useful rule will be explained in the second episode.
The latest offering in TV’s time-travel craze is based on the 1979 novel by Karl Alexander about the adventures of H.G. Wells and his Time Machine, using the book, and its feature adaptation, as a starting point. Freddie Stroma stars as young Wells, and Josh Bowman is his friend Dr. John Stevenson, aka Jack the Ripper.
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Both Wells and Jack the Ripper travel to modern day United States where Wells, a utopian, is disappointed because, spoiler alert, this is not utopia.
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Meanwhile, Jack the Ripper, has traveled to current times. He’s also disappointed, because there’s one of him on every corner and he’s not so special here. Jack sets out on an arc of redemption, Williamson says, but, along the way he gets even worse and his character figures prominently into the fabric of the show.
And yet, Williamson insisted, the show is fun “escapist entertainment,” also describing it as “little wacky fun science fiction.”
And, because no session at this TCA would be complete without a Donald Trump question: one TV critic noted there are a lot of time-travel TV shows these days and wondered what’s with that, given that they all were pitched and developed ages ago, “even before the election, when time travel could be handy.”
Stroma, and Genesis Rodriguez, who plays love interest Jane Walker in the series, got asked the inevitable “If you could go back in time, when would you travel to and why?” Stroma charmingly answered he’d travel back to his childhood so he could see the world in which he lived, and see young parents though adult eyes, “to see their struggles when they had three children.” He acknowledged he’d likely be disappointed because we all romanticize our childhood memories.
Genesis, more pragmatically said she’d travel back to “right before Apple blew up, and get some stock and make that Apple money.”
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