Jack The Ripper Trots the Globe With Style in ABC's New Thriller 'Time After Time'

Damian Holbrook
Preview Sarah Shatz/ABC

Sunday night’s second time-travel series (see Fox’s Making History) and one of the countless dramas of this genre this season (Netflix’s Travelers, NBC’s Timeless and The CW’s Legends of Tomorrow) kicks off with a delightful spin on classic lit. Based on the 1979 film starring Malcolm McDowell, which was already an adaptation of Karl Alexander’s novel of the same name, this tale follows young Time Machine author H.G. Wells (UnReal’s Freddie Stroma) from 1893 London to modern-day Manhattan, via his titular vehicle, natch. He’s in pursuit of his friend John Stevenson (Revenge’s Josh Bowman, above), who has secretly been slaying the ladies—literally—as Jack the Ripper back home. But even though the series is from the folks behind the grisly thriller The Following, don’t expect a bloodbath. “There will be scares and jumps, but it’s not a violent show,” says executive producer Kevin Williamson. “It’s meant to be a romantic adventure.” That angle comes into play after Wells winds up partnering with Jane Walker (Genesis Rodriguez), a strong-willed and charming museum curator mounting, quite fittingly, an exhibit about the works of Wells. Once she realizes that the well-mannered Brit with the wild backstory is actually the legendary icon-to-be, Jane joins his hunt for Stevenson, and before you can say “cat-and-mouse,” both men are taking a shine to the very liberated lady.

ABC Orders Kevin Williamson Time Travel Drama Time After Time

ABC Orders Kevin Williamson Time Travel Drama Time After Time

The Vampire Diaries creator tackles a suspenseful cat and mouse pursuit between H.G. Wells and Jack the Ripper.

Along the way, a larger story will take shape. “We build a mythology, a big epic melodrama, where you have these two warring families and the time machine becomes very important,” Williamson says, hinting that there may be ancestors of the central players who would like to change the past. In addition, the series will crib from Wells works like The Island of Dr. Moreau and The Invisible Man to fuel both the plot and some well-placed twists. “Every week a little more of the mythology that pieces it together [is revealed],” executive producer Marcos Siega says. “It all becomes one big thing…and yes, there are a lot of cliffhangers.” Time to set that DVR.

Time After Time, Series Premiere, Sunday, March 5, 9/8c, ABC