Time After Time is the novel by Karl Alexander that served as the basis of Nicholas Meyer’s 1979 film of the same name, which postulates that Jack the Ripper has taken HG Wells’ time machine from Victorian England to the present, and Wells must pursue him there to bring him to justice. Now, The Vampire Diaries and The Following producer Kevin Williamson is taking the concept and turning it into a television series. We spoke to him about what to expect…
What went into the decision to turn Time After Time into a television series?
It’s one of my favourite films of all time, and it’s ne of the reasons I wanted to be a storyteller. When I first saw the Nicholas Meyer movie, it had a sensibility that became my sensibility. At first I thought about doing a remake, but realised I’m not a remaker. So then I thought about a TV series where you could go further. We live in an age where you could do a limited series, like a Netflix show, where you can binge watch a serialised show.
So Time After Time really goes with HG Wells and what became his influence to write The Time Machine, but then what happened with The Island Of Dr Moreau, The Invisible Man, War Of The Worlds and all those other great classics he is going to write? I thought, “What a great stepping off point. If we can take Jack the Ripper, he gets lost in modern day New York City. HG Wells on his tail and then we can build the mythology from there and have a mash up of HG Wells’ greatest hits. We are going to start to meet characters in the coming episodes where it’s, like, “Hey, is that Dr Moreau? Is that the Invisible Man?”
You sound like a true Wells fan.
What I love about HG Wells is he was trying to show the good and bad in humanity as it related to science and technology. I think we are in a really important time right now, or is it a very weird time? We have all this technology, which is both good and bad. One of the most profound moments in the pilot is when H.G. is sitting there watching the news. He believes in utopia. He believes in a society that was going to perfect itself and he thought there’d be no war, and there’d be no famine, and there’d be no disease and that everyone would be living together as brothers and sisters in sweet harmony.
That was his dream for the future. He knew technology would bring that. You can imagine his disappointment. That’s the show. The show is watching him stumble through a modern day world trying to find Jack the Ripper, who quickly aligns himself with some real evil people who know about the time machine. It’s going to grow from that.
Time After Time will air on ABC in the US later in 2017, with a UK air date and channel to be announced. For all the latest TV news, pick up the new issue of SciFiNow.