Tonight marks the series premiere of the new Sci-Fi thriller Time After Time on ABC, based on the book and film of the same name by Karl Alexander.
In the intriguing new series by creator Kevin Williamson (The Vampire Diaries), real-life writer H.G. Wells ends up in the present day chasing down the infamous serial killer Jack The Ripper, but there’s a twist. Thanks to Wells’ handy-dandy time machine, Victorian London doctor John Stevenson (aka Jack The Ripper) is transported to 2017 to elude capture by authorities. Wells follows him in an attempt to capture the killer, who just so happens to have been a close friend of his.
If this seems confusing to you, don’t worry. It was even confusing at times for the lead actor on the show, Freddie Stroma as well. In an interview with ABC News, Stroma jokingly explained, “We had many, many moments where we’re like, ‘Wait a second. I don’t think any of this makes any sense!'” The actor also said that the two main characters’ relationship with each other is most interesting because they are best friends turned enemies due to ending up on opposite sides of the law.
The series brings the infamous 1800’s story into the present, introducing a whole new generation to the timeless tale that seems all too horrific to be true.
Jack The Ripper notoriously murdered at least five prostitutes in and around London in the late 1800’s. The man was never identified or captured, making the tale one of most mysterious of all time. Interest in the case has always remained with numerous books, films, and television series made about the case, with ABC’s new series only the latest one in the series.
Although the man was never officially identified or captured, many in London believed the killer to be James Maybrick, a wealthy cotton merchant at the time.
The new series has received mixed to negative reviews from critics thus far. The Hollywood Reporter claims that the series doesn’t stand out among other sci-fi shows of recent years. They also note that after the general plot from the 1979 film is covered, what else can the show possibly offer? In addition, examining the series’ message about 2017 when presenting the story is a point of contention because the message remains unclear. Seeing as the original material is nearly 40-years-old, the struggle of how to make the show current enough to matter but also staying close to the source material will be difficult to balance, possibly to the series’ detriment.
The New York Times review was also negative. It claims the show to ultimately be a “romantic comedy,” with a love interest for the lead character at the center of all the police-chasing drama. The review says the science fiction and thriller elements are “routine,” and the cast performances not as great as those in the 1979 film.
More reviews by Variety and Newsday repeat this sentiment, with the latter remaining very skeptical of the thought of yet another time-travel drama hitting the airwaves.
However, there’s no denying that the time-travelling genre has its loyal fans and those interested in Jack the Ripper and all that the mystery has to offer will no doubt tune in to at least the two-hour premiere episode tonight at 9/8c on ABC.
Still not sure if you want to check out the series? Watch the series’ trailer to decide:
[Featured Image by Hulton Archive/Getty Images]