On the heels of a successful opening weekend, ABC has announced its plans for television adaptation of The Time Traveler's Wife, with Friends creator Marta Kauffman. The time travel romance may span a lifetime, but can it span multiple seasons?
ABC claims it has been working with Kauffman for years on a possible small-screen adaptation of Audrey Niffenegger's novel. The plan is for the romance between Clare and the time-traveling (and, incidentally, television-allergic) Henry to unfold over the course of several seasons, with individual episodes having their own story lines.
Normally, I'm all for adapting novels for television and giving them more room to breathe than they get in a feature film, but with The Time Traveler's Wife, I'm much more hesitant. The novel is such a self-contained animal, constantly folding in on itself and exploring the predestination paradox created by Henry's time travel and the tragic consequences of his condition, making it much more suited to a miniseries or feature film than a long-form television epic. And Journeyman, Fox's now-defunct series that also focused on involuntary time travel, worked because it was an adventure and mystery story, and its time-traveling protagonist was able to alter the timeline with his actions. Henry is, by comparison, leading a fairly ordinary life, and can alter nothing. But I suspect that, in a full-length series, Henry's time travel would be an incidental part of his character, and we would be seeing more of a How I Met Your Mother where the romantic lead occasionally happens to visit younger and older versions of his wife.