Time After Time: Pilot
Here we go again.
What was once on the silver screen now graces it's much smaller cousin, the idiot box. Hmm, that's hardly fair to TV nowadays. What would we do without it?
Conversely, what would TV do without it's larger cousin? TV's "Time After Time" is the direct descendant of 1979's movie of the same name. Like 12 Monkeys, it is a much beloved property that has big shoes to fill from it's celluloid predecessor.
I was pretty tough on the TV iteration of 12 Monkeys to start, as the movie version was an all time favorite of mine. Similarly, I have special place in my heart for the film version of "Time".
Better check your shoe size TV version.
So let's take a quick look at the two properties and see where the hew together or grow apart.
Malcom McDowell played the original "HG". McDowell has had a long and distinguished movie and TV career. His take on HG was the classic "fish out of water" approach. Geeky, bumbling often confused but very lovable.
McDowell's HG was an endearing squinty and bookish everyman.
Freddie Stroma is our new HG and the little I know of him comes from the Harry Potter movies. There he played the not very likable Cormac McLaggen.
Stroma plays HG with a flair for the clumsy also. The approach differs when Stroma's character takes to his new century with much more ease. I'm not sure if I am a big fan of that. He did bumble around with all the remotes in one sequence but the acclamation is a bit too fast and he seems a little cocksure.
Speaking of cocksure.
Josh Bowman plays Dr. Stevenson, aka. Jack the Ripper.
Stevenson in the movie was played by the illustrious geek god, David Warner. If you want a measure of Warner's street cred check out his IMDB page. It's as long as a Klingon battle cruiser.
I don't know anything about Bowman's career. Although I'm sure "Revenge" fans could fill me in. His "Ripper" has a bit of the playboy in him and a taste for cruelty. Warner's Ripper had a deep seated cold malevolence. I daresay Warner brings more gravitas to to the role but we'll see where Bowman takes Jack.
Genesis Rodriguez plays Jane Walker the peppy assistant curator of the local museum where HG's time machine is kept. She's nervous but smart. A little fragile but very competent. And you know what? Genesis has "it"
It's hard to define what "it" is but she has it. It's probably the facial looks and the subtlety of acting that goes along with it. I was harsh to Amanda Schull before I came to appreciate her skills. She can do "hurt" and that is not easy. She has "it". Emily Hampshire also of 12 Monkeys has "it". When she is sad you are doubly so.
I eagerly anticipate where Genesis is going to take her character.
Genesis' cinematic forebear was Mary Steenburgen. Ha, good luck measuring up to her. Steenburgen is tantamount to a national treasure. Also confident and fragile with a spice of loneliness. Steenburgen can stand toe to toe with Warner in geek cred. The only change here is that Steenburgen's character was named Amy. I wonder why the change?
Seriously, you need to see the movie if you already haven't.
The Nicholas Meyer Effect
Who is Nicholas Meyer? He's the man who wrote the original screenplay for "Time After Time" and the teleplay for the TV version. In fact you can see many of the touches that the movie version had in the TV version. Of course, the whole thing is the inspiration for the TV series but there are little things too.
Like this. Meyer has a great love for Sherlock Holmes. In fact, he has written three great Holmes adventures one of which was turned into a movie, "The Seven Per Cent Solution". In that movie, Holmes teams up with Sigmund Freud. You may remember from the pilot episode Sunday night, HG was about to give Jane a false name when he mentioned, "Sigmund" and she said, "You better not say Freud." A nice nod to the Seven Per Cent movie.
As you can see, the movie version of HG came to the future in the classic Holmes deerstalker cap. Elementary!
In both versions HG appeared in a museum where his time machine was being kept as an exhibit.
Here's an interesting parallel.
Stevenson held a knife to his second victim atop the roof.
In the movie he did pretty much the same to Amy. I can't help but think the first was a salute to the second.
I'm pretty sure they used a newspaper to track events in the movie version. To see a newspaper in the TV version was a little odd. News print is pretty much a dying industry so one would hope the TV version would catch up to the digital age for it's information.
I'm sure it was just another homage.
As in the movie, HG was greatly disappointed to see mankind still at odds with itself. Many years had passed but had much progress been made? If you're the bloodthirsty Jack the Ripper then the answer is yes. Both the TV and movie versions of Jack professed how happy and "at home" they were in this sad society.
The Big Change
So what's the big difference between the TV and movie versions?
HG has a great, great granddaughter and she seems to be a person of means.
Like 12 Monkeys, Time After Time needed to jiggle with the story a little in order to move on from the original premise. One can't just stick with the original script and hope to go on season after season.
Vanessa Anders is the distant relative (played by Nicole Ari Parker) and she knows a lot about HG. She states that they have met and shows him written proof. (What, no pictures or other digital proof?)
Vanessa seems to be part if not the head of a secret cabal or government group. It isn't a stretch to think she and her group may have benefited greatly from the knowledge of her time traveling forebear.
So what are her motives? Save the cheerleader. Save the world?
Since she is such a mysterious figure one could reason (from many, many years of watching TV) that the group she represents is one that seeks to benefit from HG's time travel. Insight into the future would prove invaluable to their efforts and now doubt they hope to make HG their unwilling dupe.
Or they could be good. Any money on that?
Odds and Ends
Here's a look at the two machines. I have to say I like the TV version better. The movie one looks like a truncated VW.
Over the moon in love? Yes, the movie version had a romance angle too.
I wonder how much the space program benefited from HG's time travel? Is there a clue here?
Don't mess with Texas! A funny Jane moment. I bet there are a lot more to come.
All right, who is this lady?
We saw her during the Times Square sequence. She looks right at the camera and smiles. Which is what most people would do. But if she was just an innocent passerby shouldn't she have been edited out for breaking the fourth wall?
Does she work with the crew and they gave her a moment?
I'm thinking she is just a passerby and it was such a lovely moment they decided to leave it in.
I'll be back shortly with the second half of the premier night. See you then!