The Time Traveler’s Wife is the latest take on Audrey Niffenegger’s classic 2003 novel. Developed by Steven Moffat — the creator of Sherlock and the celebrated showrunner of Doctor Who — the HBO series is premiering in just a few days, which is why the internet is currently taking in the early reviews for the Rose Leslie-led sci-fi romantic drama, and they seem to indicate a pretty middling adaptation.
The story revolves around a couple, Clare (Rose Leslie) and Henry (Theo James), who have to deal with a genetic defect of the latter that zaps him back and forward in time. The narrative is a non-linear telling of their married life together, with all the right wibbly-wobbly timey-wimey elements that should make it a walk in the park for Doctor Who veteran Steven Moffat.
Alas, that hardly seems to be the case in these early reviews. Judy Berman of Time dubbed the series a “multiverse of badness” in the title and went on to lambast Moffat’s attempt by writing: “In the absence of even that kernel of enjoyment, all The Time Traveler’s Wife has to offer is an extended, painfully literal allegory for the bromide that true love transcends time.”
/Film gave the show a 5 out of 10, calling it “a troubling tale of love and loss that’s too shallow to thrive.”
Variety also criticized the series for its repetitiveness and went on to note: “The story fails to convince that the couple shares much more than an understanding of the obstacles keeping them apart. So much time is spent on establishing the rules of this show’s game that there’s little room to play.”
Collider offered a more positive analysis in its review. “Taking certain story weaknesses into account, this version absolutely comes the closest to replicating the feeling one can get from reading Niffenegger’s book, which had its own addictive qualities,” the outlet writes.
We’ll have to wait for the critical consensus to properly form around The Time Traveler’s Wife in the coming week, but it seems that overall, the adaptation or the story at large, for that matter, will not be everyone’s cup of tea.