TV Review - Time After Time (2017)

After five episodes, it's been reported that this series has been cancelled. It's an adaptation of the 1979 movie. The initial premise seems really finite. The show attempts to stretch that premise and expand on the original movie, but, by the third episode, the stretching becomes apparent and the whole thing starts to feel really thin. I'm not sure if this series was designed to go to a second season, but the show feels unsustainable with the two lead characters that it has.

Freddie Stroma (Unreal) stars as HG Wells, the famous author from London, 1893, who invents an actual time-machine. He is the epitome of the English gentleman but he's also a bit of a nerd, an old-century nerd. He's pure, sweet and kindhearted. He's a good-natured and loving man.

Josh Bowman (Revenge) also stars as John Stevenson, a doctor and surgeon who is the infamous "Jack the Ripper." He was friends with HG until he's discovered to be the crazy, serial killer. John steals the time-machine and travels to present-day New York City.

HG is able to follow John into the future, thanks to a quirk with the time-machine that John is able to alter and control the time-machine remotely. HG has to then hunt John who continues killing in NYC.

Kevin Williamson developed this series and the structure of it is very reminiscent, if not practically the same as Williamson's previous series The Following.

However, despite having added sci-fi elements, this series is ironically more restricted. Williamson has painted himself into a corner. The sci-fi elements at work allow for way more plot-holes than The Following, which at almost every turn begs another question, a question that could end the show all together. Essentially, with every problem, the question is raised of why not use the time-machine. HG has this incredible device but doesn't use it smartly. Plus, HG is tracking a serial killer in present-day NYC and decides not to use all the present-day technology to track him like simply calling the police and putting out an APB. It's stupid.

Williamson apparently wants to jump on the bandwagon of a lot of TV shows that asks audiences to fall in love with a bad guy, even a cold-blooded killer. From Tony Soprano, Walter White to Dexter Morgan, Williamson wants John Stevenson to join that list. From where the show starts with John's personality, the road to empathy and sympathy is an extremely long one, longer than one season can make.

With the numerous shots of Bowman's shirtless and half-naked body, Williamson clearly is trading on sex appeal to get us to side with his serial killer. Unfortunately, not even Bowman's gorgeous face and muscular torso are enough. It also doesn't help that Williamson makes his good guy a bit of an idiot and not that compelling a hero.

Rated TV-14-VL.
Running Time: 1 hr.
Sundays at 9PM on ABC.


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