Time After Time began its first series on Sunday night with some new twists and turns that will set it well on its way into serialised television.
The story starts same as it does in the movie with the Ripper murdering a prostitute and making his way to the home of HG Wells for drinks.
Wells, who is hosting a Gentleman’s party, is waxing on about his vision of the future. He believes that future technology will bring us together in a socialist utopia.
Of course all his friends think this to be absolute balderdash. When John Stevenson aka the Ripper finally arrives, Wells proudly unveils his time machine to his mates and they all laugh thinking that Wells has lost his mind.
Stevenson stays behind and briefly asks Wells about the machine and how it works. Wells and Stevenson are complete opposites: Where Wells is cautious and careful, Stevenson is a more devil may care type.
A knock at the door interrupts their discussion and Wells goes up the stairs to see what’s happening. He finds the police on his doorstep. There has been another murder and they are searching house to house.
One of the police finds Stevenson’s medical bag and opens it to reveal a bloodied knife. The police urgently search the cellar where Wells last saw Stevenson, but he is nowhere to be found.
As the police leave, Wells goes back down to his cellar and waits for the time machine to return. This is an important moment of the series because if you are not in possession of the key and use the machine, it will strand you in that time period.
Only the person in possession of the key is free to fully use the machine to go whenever they want.
As the machine returns Wells gets in and proceeds to follow Stevenson to 2017.
He winds up arriving at a HG Wells exhibit where he is taken into custody by the museums security. He is then introduced to Jane Walker (Genesis Rodriguez) the assistant curator of the museum.
Jane asks Wells a few questions and thinks he is an actor trying to use the exhibit for free publicity for the show. She tells her colleague that he is way more convincing than the other one, which prompts Wells to ask where Stevenson went.
Wells is let go, but not before the security guard tells him exactly where he told Stevenson to go.
Wells then proceeds to go to the hotel where Stevenson has checked in. But not before taking a good look around at the various electronic billboards and technology, which he finds ultimately fascinating.
Eventually Wells gets to the hotel and the check in desk directs him to the hotel bar and says she will tell Stevenson he is there when he arrives.
While sat at the bar Wells is agog with the level of violence he is seeing on the various TV monitors and a single tear rolls down his eye.
At this point Stevenson turns up and Wells proceeds to tell him that we do not belong here. Stevenson wants to stay because the level of violence in the culture appeals to him.
He also wants Wells to hand over the key to the time machine and tries to take it by force using a new weapon, which wasn’t available to him in the 1800’s.
Wells manages to get a punch in and runs out into the road and gets hit by a yellow taxi. Stevenson tries to get the key off of Wells while he is lying down on the road, but a police officer moves him on.
At the hospital Wells gets treated from a concussion and some minor cuts and bruises and finds that the hospital has called Jane. He had her business card on him when the ambulance picked him up.
Jane feeling sorry for Wells takes him home and proceeds to ask him some questions. She still doesn’t believe he is HG Wells.
To this end, Wells tells Jane that she was right — he is an actor playing a role — but says it is a matter of urgency that he finds his friend.
The ruse doesn’t last too long though because in order to prove his case Wells persuades Jane to go on a journey with him in the time machine.
They go three days into the future and learn about one of Stevenson’s murders. Armed with this information Wells, with some help from Jane, tries and prevent Stevenson from murdering a young woman. Wells is successful but Stevenson gets away.
Jane takes Wells back to her place in order to patch him up. Wells is determined to stop Stevenson and take him back to the 1800’s. So forgoes another hospital visit.
As Wells is taking a breath and Jane is rummaging around her apartment, Stevenson has tailed them and he takes Jane hostage.
As Stevenson leaves with Jane, some people turn up and stop the injured Wells from going after him. It is a woman and two guys. They knock Wells out so they can move him.
Wells wakes up at a new, more luxurious, location and the woman introduces herself to him as Vanessa Anders (Nicole Ari Parker). She reveals that she is his great, great granddaughter and says that she has met him in her past — when he babbled on about a time machine and asked her to retrieve it.
Of course Wells is a little dubious because these events haven’t happened for him yet, but he eventually decides to accept her help.
One of Anders’ men brings Jane’s phone and laptop as well as Wells’s personal items to the room. Anders tells Wells that Stevenson will most likely contact him by phone.
As predicted, Stevenson calls and Wells being the complete fish out of water comedically shouts down the phone. Stevenson tells Wells to meet him in central park where he will swap Jane for the key. Wells reluctantly agrees.
Vanessa’s security men volunteer to help Wells with the exchange, but Wells refuses saying that Stevenson will spot them. They reluctantly agree in order to ease Wells’s mind, and stay at a distance when the exchange happens, but gradually move in closer.
An altercation breaks out and Stevenson and the whole thing is a bust. Wells is furious and tells Vanessa’s security detail that they have just more or less killed Jane. Vanessa asks Wells why Stevenson would kill Jane given that she is his only leverage.
Another exchange is arranged at the exhibit and Wells and Jane are reunited, but before Stevenson can get away in the time machine with the key Wells proceeds to pull various cables out of the machine, stopping it in its tracks.
A fight breaks out in which Wells with help from Jane gets the better of Stevenson and retrieves the key. Stevenson yet again gets away.
With Stevenson in the wind, Vanessa invites Wells and Jane to stay at her place. They agree, given that it be safer for Jane, and they make plans to try and catch Stevenson.
While there, Wells meets Griffin (Will Chase). Griffin asks Wells a few questions, but does not get anywhere with him. Griffin and Wells met earlier in the episode where Wells told Griffin he was HG Wells, which got Griffin very curious.
The last scene we see a ginger-haired guy with a beard who has seemingly been tracking HG Wells. He proceeds to go into a room and the wall is covered with information — news articles and stuff to do with HG Wells and John Stevenson.
There were a few changes for this pilot episode from the movie. For one, Jane is a new character. In the movie Wells’ love interest was a bank clerk called Amy.
Also new is the whole time-travel travel thing to do with Vanessa Anders, which I liked. It’s a good way to set up a series.
Time After Time: Questions we were left asking:
- What were the exact circumstances of Wells’ meeting with Vanessa?
- Why is Griffin so interested in Wells?
- Who is the ginger-bearded man and why is he after Wells?
Time After Time airs Sundays on ABC at 9PM ET.