Episode Reviews (3)
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The second episode of "The Time Tunnel" series maintains the fairly high production values of the pilot. As the series progressed and budgets tightened, the script and production quality eroded, in typical Irwin Allen TV fashion.
This is a very enjoyable episode for anyone who is inclined to appreciate 1960s fantasy television. While the special effects, sets and props are primitive by our current standards, they were very entertaining and eye-catching for 1966. The four space suits, each in a different bright color, are especially appealing. (Hilariously, in the first moon fight scene, Beard's red space suit has *painted emblems* of oxygen tanks on its back, instead of the actual cylinders present in the other scenes!)
Animated shots of the rocket show a classic fantasy vehicle with large swooping fins that lands vertically. I suspect this was acquired footage from some previous 20th Century Fox feature. These were disconcertingly mixed in with stock footage of what looks to be an Atlas rocket in launch phase, even when the M.E.M. rocket is in transit in space.
This episode establishes that Doug and Tony work as a team and that they are both very versatile. It also -- I believe for the last time -- shows that they are returned into their original clothing as the Tunnel transfers them to another time. Omission of this in later episodes invites a "Huh?" reaction.
The plot element of having the villain Beard appear in both "present" 1968 and "future" 1978 is a nice twist that respects the viewer's intelligence. It invites good speculation on what Beard did between those years to ensure that he would be aboard the M.E.M. rocket that he knew would have Doug and Tony as stowaways.
The best special effect is the moon storehouse exploding in the background as Doug & Tony walk away. I was sure that the storehouse in that shot was part of a matte painting, so the explosion, animated in as an optical, was a cool surprise. The worst effect was the lame depiction of the guys floating in zero-G, not done nearly as well as Mr. Allen's crew had already accomplished a year before on the aired pilot episode of "Lost In Space".
It is a little hard to accept that all of TicToc's security forces are unable to locate one renegade in the most critical part of the TT complex. And how did Doug get those four fuel tanks up the ladder back into the ship? But, as many have commented, it is best with Irwin Allen TV shows to not spend much time asking how or why. Better to sit back and have fun watching this creative blast from the past.moreless
Tony and Doug find themselves on a manned mission to Mars. Their extra weight causes technical malfunctions. To add to their woes, there is a traitor on board that they have to contend with and vanquish.
By today\'s standards a bit low tech, but the concept is way ahead of its time. You know Doug and Tony will survive whatever mayhem erupts, yet we care enough about them to watch what happens till the very end. Old hat - perhaps in 2006 - but quite entertaining for 1968 standards. Mind you in their world they are already sending a man to Mars, while in our reality we haven\'t even been to the moon!