Let’s do the time warp again! TV shows allow fans to take a deep dive into characters’ lives for an extended period, but sometimes the medium requires a jump forward to keep the story line moving.
“I spent so many years on network television, but then suddenly priorities shifted,” the actress told Deadline in October 2021, referring to the birth of her daughter, Iris, with husband Josh Bowman. “I think there comes a moment in every woman’s life — in every person’s life — where it becomes less about work and more about family, and that’s what happened while I was making the show.”
As a result of VanCamp’s decision, her character was killed off, and the show jumped ahead three years to catch up with Nic’s widower, Conrad Hawkins (Matt Czuchry), and their daughter, Gigi, after they had mourned.
“Conrad losing Nic is a terrible tragedy, and we felt like if we were going to tell a true story of grief, it would last for a really long time. And I don’t think we wanted to spend multiple episodes, 10, however long it takes for a man to lose the love of his life and the mother of his 9-month-old child. We felt like we would play the loss and the grief and the ‘What the hell just happened?’ for a couple of episodes and then do the time jump so we could find Conrad recovered, on the brink of, ready for whatever new version of his life there would be,” executive producer Peter Elkoff told Entertainment Tonight in October 2021. “It was really to avoid a prolonged grieving story because we wouldn’t want to shortchange it and have him suddenly, three episodes later, without jumping time being like, ‘No, I’m fine now.’”
Some shows, on the other hand, have struggled with shifting beyond high school, so time jumps allow for new creative avenues and aging the characters to more closely match their portrayers. Riverdale, for instance, fast-forwarded seven years into the future in February 2021.
“We did decide very quickly because all of the kids were seemingly going to different colleges and we didn’t want them to all go to, like, Riverdale University. And in terms of drama, for me, college is a less appealing version of high school stories,” creator Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa told Entertainment Weekly at the time. “In terms of what we’re most excited about is that after four seasons of pretty elaborate, complicated storytelling, this time jump allows us to start with a clean slate, drop in the middle of stories and then have people catch up. And it allows us to play new dynamics.”
Scroll through the gallery below to revisit TV shows that featured time jumps.