H.G Wells invents a Time Machine in Victorian London and inadvertently introduces one of the world’s deadliest murderers to the perfect escape pod.
What happens when you let Jack the Ripper onto the streets of 21st Century New York? Meandering over New York they manage to look like steampunk hipsters, Stevenson very quickly adapts to a world he believes is loud and angry calling his own murderous antics ‘amateur’.
As the two of the face-off within the two-hour premiere, I can’t help but wonder if it wouldn’t work a little better as a movie (as it is based off a movie) The first two episode sets up a drama that would make up an enjoyable ten episodes as Wells and Dr. Stevenson battle under the city lights.
While Jonathan manages to dive seamlessly into modern life Wells is overcome with confusion about the world he thought was a going to be Utopia. It’s sort of disappointing that there’s only minimal culture shock for both H.G and Stevenson, I kind of wanted at least a couple of confusion scenes surrounding Facebook and Siri.
John demands that Wells gives him the key to the time machine so he can go off murdering all over history.
Befriending assistant curator Jane he convinces her that he is the real deal and then it looks like she’s going to be his next victim. The logics of time travel seem very tentative at the moment as H.G dismisses the concept of going back in order to get John before he starts with his time-exploding theory.
As John captures Jane and uses a random woman’s apartment to keep hold of her. The show solidifies itself as a chase for the ‘macguffin’ worryingly I feel like if it relies to heavily on this motif it’ll be a relatively uninteresting series.
Jane herself is an intensely good character herself, whether it’s bashing John over the head or informing him that he’s an unremembered and unremarkable killer from history, his name never discovered. A story like this desperately needs the ‘average’ person, someone to point out the absurdity and make the quips and Jane seems perfect for the role.
The two have a final showdown at the museum as Jonathan tries to escape using the time machine holding Jane in exchange for the Key. Although no one seems to think about giving him a fake key and trapping him in the time machine. John informs H.G he’ll kill one person for every day he’s here and thus Jack the Ripper is unleashed on New York City.
There are a couple of mysteries set up in the first episode which I believe will give the TV version an extended look, including the man with the beard seemingly stalking both John and Wells without much reason. As well as the woman in the apartment who is implied to have been killed but then we are informed she’s still alive.
Overall this show has all the fixings of a quality hour drama, it’s strength is in the characterisations and the first seeds of mystery are being sown. I’ll definitely be watching the next episode.