Tuesday, March 28, 2017

TV Tuesday: Time After Time

I am a sucker for anything with a time travel plot. I think what intrigues me so much is how thought-provoking it is - the idea that you could travel through time, to any point in the past or future. My husband and I both enjoyed the new NBC TV series last fall called Timeless, about a ragtag group traveling through time to try to stop a villain from changing the past, visiting all kinds of incredible historical events. So, I was very excited to learn that ABC was getting into the time travel game with its own series this spring, Time After Time, which is based on a novel and 1979 movie by the same name (which I've heard is pretty good).

The main characters in Time After Time are quite famous - or infamous, as the case may be. The story begins in the late 1800's in London, where a young H.G. Wells, played by Freddie Stroma, is entertaining friends one evening and telling them about his time machine prototype in the basement. A late arrival to the party, Dr. John Stevenson (played by the hunky Josh Bowman), arrives, followed quickly by the police who are tracking Jack the Ripper. A bloody knife in John's doctor bag, left at the front door, confirms their suspicions, much to H.G.'s shock. To escape from the police, John heads to the basement to try out his friend's time machine. It works and transports him to present-day New York, where the time machine is on display in a museum. Horrified by what his friend has done (and is), H.G. quickly follows him to 2017 New York to stop him.

When H.G. arrives at the museum, he meets a lovely assistant curator named Jane Walker, played by Genesis Rodriguez. He tries to hide his identity at first, but before long, he has to take her into his confidence. H.G. is desperate to find John before he can kill again. That is the main thread of the show - H.G. and Jane trying to find Jack the Ripper in modern NY, to stop him from killing women - but the plot gets more complicated. Additional characters are added to the mix, included a descendant of H.G. and various people who want the time machine for their own purposes (including John so he can escape).

We have watched four episodes so far and are enjoying this fast-paced thriller with a sense of humor. There are the expected (and fun) fish-out-of-water situations, as both H.G. and John adjust to life in 2017. Can you imagine how fascinated H.G. Wells would be, with all his prognostications, by what the future really did bring? The chase gets more action-packed and complex as more people get involved. And, of course, there is the time travel, which is just starting to ramp up a bit several episodes in.

I've heard some criticisms of Time After Time (and also Timeless) by science fiction buffs, and yes, their arguments are valid - neither of these shows really sticks to the accepted rules of time travel in science fiction (and obviously the science of the machine is complete fantasy!). My husband and I, though, have been able to suspend disbelief and just go with it, enjoying the show for what it is. And what is it? Time After Time is a fun show, above all, with action, suspense, and humor, that puts two well-known historical figures into an intriguing situation. We'll see where it goes from here, but for now, we are enjoying it.

Time After Time is currently airing on ABC Sundays at 9 pm, so you can catch up On Demand or at the ABC website (episodes 2 - 4 are available there now for free) or for $1.99 an episode on Amazon, link below (so you could watch the first episode there & the rest on the ABC website).

For more time travel fun, some of my favorites (besides Timeless) include:
  • Frequency - TV show (not technical traveling through time but communicating across time so similar themes
  • 12 Monkeys – movie - post-apocalyptic time-travel thriller - SO GOOD!
  • Predestination – twisty time-travel movie - a major mind-bender!
  • Project Almanac - fun, fast-paced movie of teens who time travel
  • Dark Matter by Blake Crouch - amazing sci fi thriller my husband and I both LOVED. 
  • To Say Nothing of the Dog by Connie Willis - a modern classic with plenty of humor set in Victorian England (and the present)
  • The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes - a chilling thriller about a time-traveling serial killer
  • The Time Machine by H.G. Wells! - a classic and the inspiration for this show
  • Time and Again by Jack Finney - a classic time travel novel, set in 1970 and 1882 New York
  • Outlander by Diana Gabaldon - romantic time travel novel from 1945 to 1700's in Scotland
I told you I like time travel stories!

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