H.G. Wells versus Jack the Ripper is the premise for new ABC show Time after Time, television’s latest time travel show. Set to premiere March 5, 2017, Time after Time centers on the H.G. Wells of the past as he discovers that his closest friend is actually Jack the Ripper, and has stolen his time machine to escape to the future. The new Wells adaptation marks the sixth time travel show currently on television. Executive Producer Marcos Siega shares that the season will take place before Wells wrote his famous novels, so the adventures he encounters while chasing his friend will act as the inspiration for those stories.
Pitting H.G. Wells against Jack the Ripper is a unique twist. Jack the Ripper is the moniker given to a series of murders that occurred in London, England around 1888. The murders occurred around the area of Whitechapel with five victims, and no suspect was arrested. The theories of the murderer’s identity has spun several works with Time after Time being the latest.
Despite the plot revolving around H.G. Wells and his machine from The Time Machine, the focus of the show will be on Wells’ relationship with his friend John Stevenson (Jack the Ripper) as he hunts for him in this brave new world. An interesting note, Kevin Williamson shares that time travel will actually only occur four times in the twelve episodes, so don’t expect Wells or Stevenson to hop back and forth in every episode. The show will explore the time traveling concept, but will also reach into other novels by Wells, beginning with The Invisible Man and The Island of Doctor Moreau, and eventually dipping into the themes of War of the Worlds.
“Thematically the way that he often wrote about the good and bad of human nature and how it relates to technology. We live in a world where we’re ruled by technology and our little gadgets in our hand. That’s how we live and breathe now. It inspires the good and the bad in us,” said creator Kevin Williamson.
The mix of novels poses interesting questions for what’s in store this season. In The Time Machine, The Traveler went to a future where humanity had evolved to the point of absolute peace, but the past love of knowledge had faded. In Time after Time, the future Wells finds himself in a world not one with nature, but one of technology and progress, a place where the notorious serial killer thrives. In a way, the 21st century acts in the way the Morlocks do, taking everything he believed about a peaceful future, and flipping it.
The Invisible Man first appeared as a serial in 1897 before being published as novel, and follows the story of a man who turns himself invisible through a science experiment. The 1896 novel, The Island of Doctor Moreau also involves science experiments, but features Doctor Moreau as more of a mad scientist with his hybrid creatures made from animals and humans.
In some ways, War of the Worlds is more far fetched then the other notable works by Wells, being credited as one of the first books to detail a fight between humans and extraterrestrials. It is unclear what connection to the alien novel the show will have. It can be assumed that the show will feature the true science fiction that Wells embodied in his works. Kevin Williamson teases for fans to be on the look out for Easter eggs from the novels as the season progresses.
What’s your favorite H.G. Wells’ novel?
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