Fresh off of his 14 year stint as showrunner and writer for the Doctor Who reboot that put the venerable franchise back on everyone’s lips. Steven Moffat has now gotten the green light to produce an HBO adaptation of Audrey Niffenegger’s The Time Traveler’s Wife. This adaptation of the book isn’t the first — there was a 2009 film version starring Rachel McAdams in the title role — but it’s the first for television, and HBO has signed a straight-to-series order. It’s likely to be very good. If there’s one thing Moffat knows about, it’s how to write time travel stories.
Niffenegger’s book is about a couple whose life-long romance is constantly interrupted by the husband’s involuntary tendency to jump haphazardly through time and space. Moffat is a long-time fan of the novel, up to and including admitting to cribbing some of its details for the occasional Who script. In the announcement for the series, he ruefully noted that, when Niffenegger included a scene in a subsequent book where a character watches “The Girl In The Fireplace”—a Moffat-penned Who outing about a woman whose life intersects with The Doctor’s in a non-linear and unpredictable fashion—he “realized she was probably on to me.”
So far, The Time Traveler’s Wife has been ordered for one season, and if Moffat tells the story of the book in that one season, any next season following will have to move past the original material. If the show proves popular, it could well happen anyway, and there’s nothing in the language describing the new series that suggests that one season might be the limit.
Watch this space.