A young girl watches as a strange man materializes in front of her. There is no logical explanation as to where (or when) he came from, but she’s not scared. He’s charming, he knows impossible things about the future and her future, and, best of all, he seems invested in knowing her. But this man is not a Time Lord. Before the Tenth Doctor crawled through Reinette’s fireplace in the 2006 Doctor Who episode “The Girl in the Fireplace,” or the Eleventh Doctor crashed his TARDIS in Amy Pond’s yard in 2010’s “Eleventh Hour,” it was Henry DeTamble who appeared to little Clare Abshire in the 2003 novel The Time Traveler’s Wife.
When it was announced that Audrey Niffenegger’s romantic novel was being adapted for television with Moffat the helm, the former Doctor Who showrunner mentioned that he had written “Fireplace” as “a direct response” to the book. It’s one of those episodes of Nu Who that I had always put off watching, so held up by fans as one of the series’ classics that it demanded complete attention. Well, I finally watched the Doctor meet Reinette a.k.a. Madame de Pompadour, and… I really hope this isn’t an indicator of what to expect from Moffat’s take on The Time Traveler’s Wife.