I love time travel fiction. So much so that I wrote my own time-travel rom com, The 12 Christmases of You & Me and I thought I'd share some of my favourite time-hopping films and TV shows that have all inspired the book.
1. The Back to the Future trilogy
Yes, I know I'm cheating a little bit* by including three films as one of my 12, but there are so many great time-travel films and TV shows that I couldn't bump any off my list and there was no way I wasn't including the whole of Marty's story.
Teenager Marty McFly accidentally sends himself back to 1955 in his scientist friend's time machine and finds himself muddled up in the lives of his teenage parents. When he alters the events of the past, he must put things right and make sure his parents fall in love, otherwise he'll never be born. And if that wasn't a difficult enough task, he also has to find a way to get back to his own timeline of 1985.
I've been watching the BTTF trilogy since I was little and have seen it squillions of times but it never loses its shine. It's such a brilliant story, with a perfect balance of humour and tension, and the soundtrack is SO GOOD.
*a lot, but it's my list, my rules
I usually like my time-travel fiction to be rom-com leaning, but Netflix's Dark, as the title suggests, isn't as cute and fluffy as some of my other picks but I love it anyway. In a small (and very rainy) German town, a twelve-year-old boy goes missing and, as the police - and his friends and family - search for him, they discover their town's mind-bending secrets.
Dark is a complex tale full of the twistiest of twists and turniest turns that had me HOOKED. I binge-watched the first two seasons with my teenage daughter before we had an agonising wait for the third and final season. We binge-watched the first two again just before it was aired - and then gobbled up the last set of episodes of the series in three days. I'm utterly perplexed how anybody could weave such a tangled story together, but I'm so glad they did because Dark is one of my all-time favourite TV shows.
3. 13 Going on 30
Jenna Rink can't wait to be a grown up ('Thirty, Flirty and Thriving') and when she makes a wish on her 13th birthday to jump ahead in time, it comes true and she wakes up as a 30-year-old with her dream job and an apartment in the city.
13 Going on 30 is one of my all-time favourite films. It's cute, fun and not only does it have the bonus of a time-travel element, it has a Thriller routine that everyone at the party joins in with. Perfection, every time I watch it. Which is a lot.
4. About Time
In About Time, Tim is (understandably) skeptical when his father reveals a huge family secret: every male in the family has the ability to travel back in time. But when it turns out his father isn't pulling his leg and he can time-travel, he uses his abilities to bag the girl of his dreams and live happily ever after. Of course, life isn't that simple and sometimes having the power to hop through time is more of a hindrance than an ace card.
Richard Curtis has delievered some brilliant rom coms, and About Time is no exception. It's full of humour, charm and the consequences of changing past events.
5. Life on Mars/Ashes to Ashes
Okay, I'm cheating a bit again by putting Life on Mars and Ashes to Ashes together but, in my defence, they are part of the same story/world and it's really, really hard to limit myself to just 12 films and TV shows.
Life on Mars follows police detective Sam Tyler as he wakes up in the 70s after being hit by a car in 2006. Is he dreaming while stuck in a coma, has he died, or has he really jumped back in time? Sam is still a police detective in his new timeline and there are lots of crimes to solve with sidekick Gene Hunt while he tries to figure out what the hell is going on and whether he can find his way back home again.
Ashes to Ashes is the follow-up series, this time centring around Alex Drake, a police officer who is shot while on duty and wakes in 1981. Again, there are lots of crimes to solve with Gene Hunt while Alex figures out how she's ended up in the past and if she can get back home.
6. Being Erica
Erica Strange has made some bad decisions in life, but when she visits a therapist to work through her issues, she doesn't expect to physically revisit them. But Dr Tom isn't your usual therapist and he sends Erica back to these pivotal moments in time to see if she can make better decisions and fix her life.
I loved Being Erica when it aired back in 2009 and if it were on Netflix, I'd be binge-watching it right now.
7. Eve's Christmas
Eve thinks she has the life she's always wanted, with a successful career and the luxury apartment in New York, but when she makes a wish on Christmas Eve, she finds herself transported back to a Christmas eight years ago, when she was about to get married and start a completely different life to the one she has now. When she's given a second chance to marry the love of her life, will she take it - or will she make the same mistake twice?
If you like your festive films to be magical and cheesy, you'll LOVE Eve's Christmas!
8. Goodnight Sweetheart
When TV repair man Gary Sparrow finds himself able to travel back and forth between his life in the 90s and London during the Blitz, he begins a double life, splitting his time between wife Yvonne in the present and barmaid Phoebe in the 1940s.
Okay, we know Gary is a git (not only to Yvonne and Phoebe, but to his best friend, Ron. Especially to his best friend, Ron) but Goodnight Sweetheart is such a brilliant series. I love the concept, plus we get the 90s nostalgia now and get to laugh at the decor of Gary and Yvonne's flat.
9. Groundhog Day
Groundhog Day is a bit different to the majority of time-travel films and TV shows because Bill Murray's character time-travels a lot - but repeatedly back to the same day. Which is fun for us, but not so much for poor Phil, who probably breaks out in a cold sweat every time he hears Sonny and Cher's 'I Got You, Babe'.
10. Quantum Leap
Whereas in most time travel stories somebody travels in time as themselves, in Quantum Leap the lead character, Sam inhabits the body of someone from the past, who he must help to avoid some sort of disaster (or death) before he can move on and hopefully 'leap' back into his own time again.
Oh, boy. There's no way you can have a list of time-travel film and TV shows and not include Quantum Leap. Like the Back to the Future series, I grew up watching Quantum Leap, following Sam's adventures as he's thrown into the lives of strangers to help them.
11. When We First Met
When We First Met is a rom com with a time-travel twist. Noah is in love with Avery, but she only sees him as a friend. But when he discovers he can travel back in time via a photo booth, he goes back to their first meeting to try to change events so they end up as more than just friends.
12. A Christmas Carol
A classic, which has been re-told many times since Charles Dickens wrote the book. Ebenezer Scrooge is visited by ghosts who show him his past, present and future in a bid to convince him to change his miserly ways.
There are loads of versions, from the old black-and-white film, cheery musicals, animated versions and (arguably the best version) told via the medium of Muppets. As well as the traditional re-telling of Dickens' story, there have been updated versions, but the message is always the same, whatever the guise.
So those are my favourite time-travel films and TV shows, but what are yours? Let us know in the comments below :)
What if you could go back in time and fix the biggest mistake of your life?
Two years ago, Maisie’s best friend walked out of her life and she hasn’t heard from him since. When she wakes up in 1994, she naturally assumes she’s dreaming. But when she finds herself in the past again the next night and her actions in the dream alter her present-day life, she begins to wonder if she’s somehow hopping back in time. And if she is time-travelling, can she save her friendship with Jonas?
When Maisie is forced to relive Christmases of the past, will she face up to her mistakes, or make them all over again?
The 12 Christmases of You & Me is a magical tale of friendship, first loves, and learning to live in the present.