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Series / The Time Traveler's Wife (2022)

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The Time Traveler's Wife is a miniseries based on the novel of the same name that debuted on May 15, 2022 on HBO. The show is the second adaptation of the novel, following the 2009 film adaptation, and was developed/written by Steven Moffat, directed by David Nutter, and stars Theo James, Rose Leslie, Kate Siegel, and Desmin Borges.

Henry de Tamble (James) has a unique disability. He is a time traveler, which has been a horrible burden that he’s been afflicted with since he was 8. Very frequently, he disappears from wherever and whenever he is and appears in another time and place with nothing in the way of tools or clothes on his person, and he has had to learn to survive by running, fighting and stealing. The only other people he knows with his disorder are himself along with future or past versions of himself that he frequently runs into.

Henry's life changes when he meets a young woman named Clare Abshire (Leslie) who knows him well and claims to be his future wife. Since she was 6, Clare has had run-ins with Henry at different ages, and has become close to him over 14 years, learning he’ll be her husband in the future. When she finally meets a version of him that has never met her, she’s upset to learn he’s not yet the man she fell in love with.

On July 1, 2022, it was announced that the series had been cancelled after one season.

The series provides examples of:

  • Covering Up Your Gray: Due to some time traveling shenanigans, the version of Henry who attends his wedding to Clare is an older future version with graying hair. He strongly associates the event with shoe polish, because he'd used it to darken his hair in order to pass as his younger self.
  • Have We Met Yet?: As a child, Clare meets and gets to know a time-traveling Henry in his thirties and forties who is already married to her in the future (though he hides this from the younger Clare until she is 16). An adult Clare then meets a younger Henry who is 28 and has no idea who she is.
  • Jerkass: Henry is not very nice after 20 years of being a time traveler. He frequently fights strangers to steal their clothes, cheated on his girlfriend with Clare and is not very patient with time-traveling versions of himself, past or present. He’s shown to grow out of this later.
  • Married in the Future: Clare and Henry of course, from the perspective of their present-day 2008 selves anyway (and earlier for Clare). Though Season 1 ends with their wedding.
  • Other Me Annoys Me: Whenever two versions of Henry run into each other, they do not get along, especially when they are both adults.
  • Screw Yourself: When Henry was 16 he performed oral sex on a time-traveling version of himself, also 16. His dad walked in on him and this is how he found out he was a time traveler.
  • Setting Update: The book’s present day events take place in 1991-2007. This series’ present is 2008-2024.
  • Stable Time Loop: As in the source material, Henry lives in a universe where You Already Changed the Past is very much in effect.
    • Henry and Clare's relationship is obviously a consequence of this. Both of them first meet a version of the other that has known them already for years and is aware that they are Married in the Future, and fall in love with someone who's already in love with them. At one point, Clare comments that she and Henry didn't really "choose each other" and that their relationship "just happened". Significantly, Henry and Clare both shape each other into the people they fell in love with. Clare's entire life and personality was shaped by frequent visits from time-traveling future Henry. Later, Clare's relationship with younger Henry in turn shapes him into the time-traveling future Henry who shaped her...
    • Shortly after Henry's first meeting with Clare in 2008, she shows him a notebook with a list of dates in the past when they met, telling him that he gave her those dates in advance, having memorized them from the notebook she's showing him now. She lampshades the fact that this information has come from nowhere.
    • As an adult, Henry frequently travels back to train his younger self in the specific survival skills he'd need while time-traveling.
    • Henry's lifelong friendship with Gomez and Charisse begins when a future version of him travels back to their first meeting in 2008 and tells them all that they are close friends in the future.
    • A minor but significant example - 28 year old Henry has long, wild hair, while his more mature future self who Clare fell in love with has short hair. The younger Henry eventually gets his hair cut to match his future self after seeing a portrait of him that Clare made as a teenager.
  • Time Travel for Fun and Profit: One of the few benefits of Henry's condition. His trips to the future enable him and Clare to win the lottery. A future Henry also provides 2008 Gomez with stock tips, which leads to Gomez being a prosperous lawyer with a Cool Car by 2022.
  • Your Days Are Numbered:
    • At the end of the first episode, 28 year old Henry finds two frozen severed feet with his birthmark on one of them, letting him know that one day he won’t be able to run, which is key to his survival.
    • At a tense party where there are two Henrys, young Henry’s girlfriend Ingrid heartbreakingly comes to the conclusion that she’s dead in the near future by the way older Henry looks at her. She also surmises that it’s suicide since she’s attempted it before.
    • When 36 year old Henry time-travels to the day of his wedding in 2008, the way he looks at his dad makes the latter realize that he's likely dead in the time period this Henry comes from.

Alternative Title(s): The Time Travelers Wife