The Time Traveler’s Spouse overview — schmaltz-coated sci-fi romance

No marriage is ideal, however when your partner retains disappearing for weeks, solely to return bare and vomiting, it could be an indication that you simply want outdoors assist — or a divorce. But what Henry and Clare DeTamble want isn’t a counsellor, or perhaps a solicitor. It’s a theoretical physicist.

The Time Traveler’s Spouse, airing on Sky Atlantic, is a brand new serialised adaptation of Audrey Niffenegger’s best-selling sci-fi-cum-romance novel. Produced by HBO and developed by Steven Moffat (no stranger to the style from his time as Physician Who showrunner), it seeks to make amends for the little-loved, mawkish movie model of 2009.

Though the schmaltz has not at all been purged solely — a gap sequence finds Henry and Clare musing about love and their uncommon relationship in When Harry Met Sally-style interviews — the six-episode construction is clearly higher suited to containing such a knotty, trippy narrative.

Time journey for Henry (Theo James) is “not a superpower, [but] a incapacity”. It sees him repeatedly, uncontrollably and quickly slip out of his linear chronology, leaving solely a pile of garments behind. The gross inconvenience is tempered by the truth that these flights by means of time are typically brief haul, hardly ever taking him outdoors his native Chicago or past his lifespan.

Usually he finds himself relocated to a backyard the place he discovers six-year-old Clare (Everleigh McDonell), who will finally grow to be his spouse (Rose Leslie). In what may nicely be thought-about an act of grooming, thirtysomething Henry tells the kid her destiny. And so she grows up ready and readying herself for when their lives will intersect as adults. When it arrives, she encounters a youthful, shaggy-haired Henry who’s oblivious to his future self’s involvement in Clare’s previous. “I’m going to marry you,” she explains to him. Fairly intense for a primary date.

The central gimmick is unavoidably clunky, and it solely will get extra headache-inducing as soon as it’s established that a number of Henrys of various ages coexist in the identical timeline. However the present is buoyed by the charisma of the 2 lovers, and it succeeds in mining its conceit for some mild humour and reflections on love and loss. When it’s not too busy attempting to elucidate itself that’s.

★★★☆☆

On Sky Atlantic from Could 16 at 9pm and on HBO from Could 15

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