Time After Time

TV review by
Joyce Slaton, Common Sense Media
Time After Time TV Poster Image
Violent but entertaining story of time-traveling Victorians.

Parents say

age 16+
Based on 2 reviews

Kids say

age 13+
Based on 1 review

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

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 & Representations

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

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. 

Sex

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. 

Language

Infrequent cursing: "hell." Occasional mild off-color language: "You feisty little bugger." 

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Scenes take place in bars or parties with adults drinking; a character suggests that someone needs a drink to cheer up. 

What 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. 

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byLowe's man March 16, 2017

Not what H.G. Wells would've written.

Jack the Ripper wasn't in The Time Machine. I also read, I think, 1 or 2 of his other books. Jack the Ripper wasn't in the ones I read. If H.G. Wel... Continue reading
Adult Written byRegina R. March 17, 2017

This movie has "modern misogyny" written all over it

The acting is fairly good and it has a good pace of action. In spite of that there are lots of modern cliches and classical faux-feminism . While it does not im... Continue reading

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What's the story?

Based on the 1979 cult movie of the same name, TIME AFTER TIME picks up in London in 1893, when newspaperman H.G. Wells (Freddie Stroma) brings a group of his friends over to show them the time machine he's invented to research a new book. Most of the gentlemen scoff at Wells' invention -- but John Stevenson (Josh Bowman), a man with secrets of his own, gives the machine a try to escape being arrested. Now Stevenson, better known as Jack the Ripper, is loose in modern-day New York, determined to keep on killing. And it's up to H.G. to track him down and bring him back to justice in his own time.

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. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about why Time After Time and many other shows are about crime. What do people find interesting about crime and murder? 

  • Families can talk about the concept of time travel. Do you think it could ever be possible? Do you think it would make the world better or worse?

TV details

For kids who love scary stuff

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