A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
John, better known as Jack the Ripper, is handsome and charming, which sends a decidedly iffy message, as does his choice of victims. However, in modern times, female victims can be subversively smart and strong -- knocking him out when his back is turned instead of cowering.
Positive Role Models
H.G., though brave and in the hero's role, often falters and is unsure of himself (but generally comes through in the end); Jane is smart and savvy, though often cast in the role of a victim. John is a charming villain, which may make parents uncomfortable.
Violence & Scariness
Gunplay, stabbings, slashings, shots of shiny knives with blood on them, elaborate blades held to the necks of crying women, gory wounds; characters are killed suddenly on-screen with scary noises but no blood or gore. Violence with a sexual edge. Men menace attractive young women in scenes with sexual cues including tight/skimpy clothing, and victims sometimes seem willing to engage in sex with their handsome young male murderer. A man chokes a woman and talks enthusiastically about how much he enjoys killing.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Flirting, dating, sexual tension, iffy messages: Victims are seen as sexually available and are then murdered (though the murders don't appear justified or glamorized). Jack the Ripper killed several prostitutes; they and their profession are referred to frequently, and a street pickup in the show's first episode is followed by a murder by knife during sex.
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Infrequent cursing: "hell." Occasional mild off-color language: "You feisty little bugger."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Scenes take place in bars or parties with adults drinking; a character suggests that someone needs a drink to cheer up.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents should know that Time After Time is a drama about criminal Jack the Ripper and writer H.G. Wells, who both time-travel from Victorian London to modern-day New York. Since the show centers on a famous serial killer who targeted prostitutes, parents can expect many references to sex work, violence, and murder and an unsettling connection between sex and violence: At least one woman is killed during sex that the Ripper paid for, while other victims, it is implied, are happy to have sex with Jack before it turns into murder. These victims may wear skimpy or tight clothing and be flirtatious and overly friendly; parents may want to clarify to teens that this by no way means these victims "deserve" what they get. Complicating matters, Jack is good-looking and charming. Characters are killed suddenly on-screen; there's gunplay, slashing, stabbings, elaborate knives covered in blood; a murderer chokes a woman and talks happily about how much he enjoys killing. There's also infrequent cursing ("hell") and scenes that take place at bars, clubs, and parties with adults drinking.
Is It Any Good?
Fresh writing and plotting bring a new energy to what could have been a miserably clichéd (and misogynistic) period thriller about a famous murderer. The central conceit of the 1979 movie -- that Jack the Ripper is comfortably at home in our violent times -- has aged well. "In our time, I was a freak," says John to H.G. gloatingly. "Today, I'm an amateur. You can walk into a shop and purchase a rifle! They encourage it!" The show has clearly put some tantalizingly deep thought into what someone from another time would find astonishing: earbuds, selfie sticks, break dancing, and a first-aid kit all draw rapturous responses from H.G. and John.
In addition, Time After Time is knowingly ironic about its slasher origins. "Why prostitutes?" asks Jane (Genesis Rodriguez), the curator of a museum with a Wells exhibit who quickly gets caught up in the goings-on and is held captive by John. "Do you have something against women? Or just sex?" Yes, it's a drama about a murderer of young women, but a smart and unpredictable drama about a murderer and worth a look if the violent premise doesn't turn you off.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.