In the wake of orders from new corporate parent WarnerMedia to increase its output, HBO has given a straight-to-series order for a TV show adaptation of Audre Niffenegger’s novel The Time Traveler’s Wife. Not only that, but Doctor Who and Sherlock showrunner Steven Moffat is at the helm of the drama series adaptation.
The story revolves around a man who has a genetic disorder that causes him to travel through time unpredictably. This causes him to experience his life—especially his relationship with his wife and daughter—through a skewed lens, meeting his grade-school-aged daughter before she’s ever been born, and glimpsing tragic events that will occur far in the future.
The book was published in 2003 and adapted into a feature film in 2009 starring Eric Bana and Rachel McAdams. That film actually did a nice job of capitalizing on the premise in a really emotional, moving way, and I can only imagine how devastating a full drama series adaptation will be.
In a statement, Moffat said his relationship to the book goes back years:
“I read Audrey Niffenegger’s The Time Traveler’s Wife many years ago, and I fell in love with it. In fact, I wrote a Doctor Who episode called ‘The Girl In The Fireplace’ as a direct response to it. When, in her next novel, Audrey had a character watching that very episode, I realised she was probably on to me. All these years later, the chance to adapt the novel itself, is a dream come true. The brave new world of long form television is now ready for this kind of depth and complexity. It’s a story of happy ever after — but not necessarily in that order.”
The TV show adaptation is described as “an intricate and magical love story,” and Moffat will executive produce alongside Sue Vertue and Brian Minchin, with Warner Bros. Television and Hartswood Films producing.
HBO’s new corporate parent essentially mandated that the prestige network needed to ramp up its quantity of shows in order to compete with Netflix, so it’s possible this is the first of many series orders we’re going to see. HBO was already on the hunt for big series with Game of Thrones coming to an end next year, but they’ve got some exciting stuff on tap. There pilots for the Game of Thrones prequel and Damon Lindelof’s Watchmen series, as well as the J.J. Abrams-produced Demimonde, the Jordan Peele-produced Lovecraft Country, and the recently ordered Joss Whedon series The Nevers. So there’s plenty of exciting stuff on tap, and likely plenty more where this comes from.