Time After Time follows a young H. G. Wells as he chases his friend John Stevenson, better known as Jack the Ripper, through time and into the modern day. He’ll meet a young museum curator named Jane Walker and find the inspiration for some of his best known works in the process. Based on a book and movie of the same name, Time After Time will premiere midseason on ABC in 2017.
We were able to sit down with H. G. Wells himself, Freddie Stroma, and Genesis Rodriguez, who plays Jane Walker, at San Diego Comic Con, as well as executive producers Marcos Siega and Kevin Williamson.
Williamson admitted that Time After Time was the movie that made him want to get into Hollywood. When he learned that Warner Brothers had the rights for it, he wanted to see those characters and stories played out in modern times. The show is an epic battle of good and evil, and more so an epic love story.
To get the part, Stroma did a lot of table reads. He was someone who jumped out to Siega while working on another show, Unreal, and Siega shared with us that Stroma was the second highest testing male lead ever (though they wouldn’t tell him who he lost out to) for Warner Brothers.
Genesis Rodriguez found that this role was the one that made her want to come back to television after seven years. She found Jane Walker to be a well-rounded character, who is a strong woman that is funny, smart, independent, and career-driven with her own life. It’s only after she meets Wells that she finds a destiny to fulfill.
When describing Stroma and Josh Bowman, who plays John Stevenson, Williamson said they’re like their characters. He and Rodriguez both agreed that Stroma is a gentleman, while Josh is a “playful little devil.”
Almost immediately, the pilot lets the audience and the characters in on everything – Wells knows he’s chasing his friend John Stevenson, Jane becomes a time travel believer – but the show is really about the marrying of mythology that inspired H. G. Wells’ novels, according to Marcos Siega.
The show will have fun with gender stereotypes and expectations of the past and present. Williamson and Rodriguez joke about how Wells stands when Jane enters the room and she’s confused by this gentlemanly behavior. But her relationship with Wells may also put her in future danger, as John Stevenson explores what she means to Wells.
Williamson promises that Jane learning about the time machine is only the tip of the iceberg and opens up the show to explore who else might know about it or want to use it for their own gain. Traveling between the past and present may also give Jack the Ripper the opportunity to reinvent himself in the present.
John Stevenson and H. G. Wells clash very quickly, but Siega promises that it won’t be repetitive to viewers. Stroma describes Stevenson as approaching the world with a ‘dog eat dog’ attitude. He’s so different from Wells, but they respect each other and run in the same social circles. They’re academics who intellectually challenge each other and their relationship becomes something of a cat-and-mouse game.
It’s also a love story. There is a lot of action and adventure, but the show will explore what pushes H. G. Wells and Jane Walker together and what pulls them apart. Star Freddie Stroma admits that his character has the double duty of figuring out the modern world and all its advancements, while also figuring out if their love will transcend their differences. He thinks that Jane embodies the future that Wells saw for mankind.
Stroma describes his character as a good, kind hearted person with a strong moral code that will be tested throughout the show. He’s looking forward to embodying Wells’ obsession with utopia and that belief that technology and science should further the human race.
In researching for the role, Stroma has read a few of H. G. Wells’ books, including The Island of Dr. Moreau and The Time Machine. He’s almost finished with The Invisible Man and he’s done a lot of reading on H. G. Wells himself. He also watched the original movie that the television show is based on, while Siega did the opposite – he read the book and didn’t watch the movie to prepare to produce the show.
One of many time travel shows premiering in the near future, Time After Time promises to be a sci-fi action-adventure show with something for everyone. The show premieres during the midseason on ABC in 2017.