Drama, mystery, action, fantasy...this series had it all. On top of all that, it had another great quality; it was educational.
It seems to me as if a ton of research went into the show. And not just getting dates right, but other things such as period costumes, decor and vehicles. At times, stock footage was included to spice things up, but overall, the series had what looked like a fairly big budget for the time. The time tunnel itself was impressive in size and the show had a grand feel to it overall, as if it were a lavish play.
The episodes were all based on the fact that Tony and Doug, the two scientists trapped in time, could show up anywhere in any time period. Of course, the episodes [conveniently] almost always took place in famous locales or times in history. Some examples are the battle of Jericho (where they met Joshua and became the two spies that Rahab hid), WWII-era Pearl Harbor (where Tony met himself as a young boy) and the penal colony Devil's Island (a favorite of mine which was accurate right down to having French actors play the parts of the prisoners). In having them land in such places (land being a literal term, as the tunnel seemed to rip a hole in the sky and spit them out), not only was it fun to watch, but viewers also learned something about the period and the figures involved. It was interesting seeming them land in a place for the first time and have to figure out where they were and when it was. There were fluff episodes, too, involving aliens and such, but the series is definitely remembered for the historical accuracy more than the fantasy.
For the fact that it was fun and that I actually learned something from it, I really loved this show. I only hope today's generation gets to see it and come to appreciate it as the entertaining learning tool it was.
I loved "Time Tunnel" as a kid when it originally aired, built toy models of the control room from ViewMaster 3D slides of the show, acted out my own adventures. But a lot in terms of historical understanding and television technology has changed over the past 40 years, making the program, ironically, an anachronism with each passing year. Most of the episode historical backdrops are now known to be inaccurate or flat out wrong, which diminishes the interest value. Plots, characters and special effects are noticeably poor. As a whole, measured against its contemporary sci-fi shows (1966 - 67), "Time Tunnel" is a bit above "Lost In Space" but well below "Star Trek." It's tough to sit through an entire episode without seeing obvious flaws, cliche plots and one-dimensional characters. Personal nostalgia urges me to overlook all this, but it's very, very hard. Sadly, what thrilled me as a kid during the original run disappoints me as an adult the second time around. Some things are, indeed, better left in the past.
I was always happy when I'd turn the channel and find a rerun of Time Tunnel on. I was always interested in time travel, and this was a great fix for me. I don't remember a huge amount about the show as I don't find it on as much as I use to, but I will always instantly think of them spinning around with that seizure-causing background, always curious as to where they'd end up next. Cheesy, maybe, but I was hooked.
It always amazes me how great the story telling was in the early years of TV. This is one of the earliest time travel shows. The great thing about this show was not only did they go into the past but they also went to the future. Even though I'm a huge critic of time travel this show had some great plots. I was always amazed at how much actual science this show had in it and it taught me a lot about history. I was also really surprised at how great the special effects were for their time, especially the lab scenes and the future scenes. One of the best looking episodes was the space craft that is on its way to Mars and had to go to the moon. My favorite episode has to be the Pearl Harbor episode. Such great acting and action for a show so "old". I love having the DVD collection and watch it whenever the mood strikes me.
There was and still is a special place in my heart for this series. Like most of Irwin Allen's productions, the later episodes degenerated into sheer sillyness, but the first season of the Time Tunnel was great! The Titanic episode was a classic, and the Krakatoa episode still sticks out in my memory all these years later. The one episode that had the biggest impact on me as a kid was the Pearl Harbor episode where Tony goes through the agony of losing his father for a second time during the attack. The Time Tunnel didn't run as long as Allen's more popular series, but when the writers started running out of ideas and brought in the aliens in the hokey rubber monster costumes (something Irwin Allen always seemed to resort to in the later episodes of all of his series) it was perhaps all for the best that the series was canceled. But the Time Tunnel started out great...a history lesson in every episode.
I have to say, I really enjoyed the Time Tunnel, until a certain crutial point where it became disappointing to watch. What was this you ask? Well once they brought up Aliens, that ruined the series. The producers seemed to have run out of ideas to keep feeding into the scripts. Aliens and outer space was good only ONCE, not 5 or 6 times.
Aside from aliens, the show was very well written and well cast. Though the fighting dials was very unreal, it made for good entertainment. They could sucessfully send people back, but they could never bring them forward.
Anyways, this show is very good and out on DVD, check it out, there is lots of historical information and a bonus re-launch episode of the Time Tunnel from 2002!
I recall watching this show as a kid & thinking wow. Now as an adult it has lost the wow factor. But keeping in mind when it was made & the fact that they didn't give any thought to a time paradox, I mean sending a soldier back to Roman times with a machine gun & grenades or trying to stop the Titanic from sinking, can you say "lets scew with the future" It's a good show to sit back & watch what they thought sci-fi was about. I like to think off Time Tunnel as a trail blazer for shows like Voyagers, Quantum Leap, Journey man or any other time travelling shows. The 2002 unaired pilot was actually pretty good.
So, taking it for what it was, a '60's take at sci-fi combined with a history class it's not bad...hard to watch by today's standard, butnot bad.
This show had great potential but its greatest weakness was that the show was written around what stock footage they had to make a story, which I think is a mistake. You could tell when the ideas were drying up is when they started introducing the tired old formula of aliens trying to take over with Doug and Tony trying to stop them. Also little character development which I think was a great shame.
Another problem was as soon as you started thinking deeply into the concept of the show, you find not a lot of thinking went behind it such as the size of the complex, the number of personnel etc. I mean when the alarm bells rang in the complex and you see everyone running around, where were they going? Also Doug and Tony never changed clothes, they wore the same get-up right throughout practically, which is ridiculous! A little more thinking and better writing could have produced an even better and longer lasting series.
"The Time Tunnel" began with a wonderful first episode, "Rendezvous with Yesterday," about the sinking of 'The Titanic.' Unfortunately, only a few episodes came close to matching the creativity of the first. The series was a lost opportunity.
As a child I loved this program. Although it only lasted one season, it left an indelible mark in my memory. As a result of watching "The Time Tunnel," I found myself looking up Krakatoa and 'The Titanic' in the family encyclopedia. Sadly, some of the episodes were over the top and bad. Tony and Doug were everywhere and did almost everything! They were on the Titanic, in the Trojan Horse, and fought aliens! Aliens? What do aliens have to do with time travel? If only the scriptwriting had been better, "The Time Tunnel" could have been a classic.
Irwin Allen morphs Lost into Space to Lost in Time. Two scientists are hurled into time through a \\\'time tunnel\\\', but cannot be retrieved by the tunnel controllers, although many attempts to recover the scientists are made throughout the series.
Time travel is fertile ground for any sci-fi series - some of TVs best episodes revolve around it - and it does not disappoint here. The writing, acting and special effects are good and an effort is made to make the sets approach at least near-believability. The Allen penchant for firework displays and blinking console props from previous series is present throughout and is somewhat annoying - Allen was a psychopathic cost-cutter. Special mention should be made for the time tunnel design and surrounding set.
In general, a fair series with many mediocre, yet entertaining, episodes . . . and some good ones.
The Time Tunnel had great special effects for the 1960's. Alright, they used alot of stock footage, but they used it well. James Darren and Robert Colbert are also great actors and because of them the show is tolerable to watch. The big downside to this show is the plots are the same in every single episode. Tony and Doug are transported into the past (or the future in rare occasions) because the people at the Time Tunnel base just really don't know what there doing. The two time travelers get spotted by a person of the time period and get captured, or they flee to a "safe" place. From there you get a few fist fights, people being transported to the Time Tunnel base and being sent back to their time period again, a war or two, and if your lucky a few aliens. After watching a few episodes you can see why the series was ended after one season. And please don't base your next history report after one of these episodes, because I read online that The Time Tunnel is not historically accurate.
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