H. G. Wells wrote many books that became classics — The Time Machine, The Invisible Man, The War of the Worlds, and The Island of Doctor Moreau among them — but what audiences and fans don’t know as much are the stories behind those beloved science-fiction tales.
Enter ABC’s Time After Time from creator Kevin Williamson (Scream movies, The Vampire Diaries). Using as inspiration the 1979 movie of the same name, which Williamson is “a huge fan of,” he developed the TV show with Warner Bros., which owned the property. “It’s a wonderful way to sort of introduce the world to H.G. Wells, a sort of young H.G. Wells,” Williamson says in the EW studio at San Diego Comic-Con, “before he’s written any of his classic novels, and we’ll show the inspiration for those novels.”
Like the movie, the new series, which stars Freddie Stroma (UnREAL) as Wells, finds the author traveling into the future after he discovers his doctor-friend, John (Josh Bowman), is infamous killer Jack the Ripper and has used his time-traveling machine to transport to modern-day New York City.
“Jack the Ripper takes a new shape and form,” Williamson said, explaining “that’s the launching pad” for the series.
A show about time travel wouldn’t be complete without a time machine, of course. That process came with its own set of challenges.
“I just don’t want it to look like another time machine,” executive producer and director Marcos Siega says. “It’s always going to look like something.”
In this case, their first design immediately brought a song to mind for Williamson: ‘Don’t Rain on My Parade.”
“It looked like Fanny Brice in the tugboat,” Williams laughs, referring to the iconic scene of Barbra Streisand in Funny Girl.
Going back to the drawing board, using materials authentic to the time period, Williamson was soon singing a new tune about the Time After Time machine.
“It’s great, and it’s something I think people will remember,” Siega says, “and I think moving forward everyone will look back at our time machine and say, ‘That’s a cool looking time machine.'”
Watch the full EW interview above to hear what costar Genesis Rodriguez has to say about Stroma’s Wells. Time After Time will premiere mid-season on ABC.
Entertainment Weekly is on the scene at San Diego Comic-Con. Go inside with all our coverage, available here.