Monday, October 15, 2007

DVD review: The Time Tunnel

I was looking forward to getting the same freaked out feeling I had when I was a little kid watching this TV show, from 1966, on DVD, but this was definitely a case of: whatever had enhanced my memory was gone now. I suppose it was just that I was young, so maybe I focused on that really cool oval shaped tunnel, which still looks pretty great, but you rarely see it. The production is just too transparent for an adult-- it looks like an excuse to use available historical studio sets, and you almost feel like they wrote the episodes based on whatever set they could get use of cheap.

The show is about these two guys who go into a time machine and get lost in time, just kind of thrown from one historically relevant event to another. They usually land on something like a hay bale instead of a picket fence, which is good. Then they interact with the events, using their knowledge of history to make sure nothing really changes. The basic problem with time travel stories always seemed to be that you could take one of two approaches. One is that nothing can really be altered-- you go back, screw things up, threaten to change the course of history, then work your ass off to make things stay just as they are. Which would have somehow happened anyway, even if you just sat there and smoked a pipe-- because that idea is like destiny-- everything is fixed. The other idea is that there are infinite strands of possibility and you might affect one, but not all of them, so essentially you could get bounced into a situation countless times, do something different each time, and it would just mean pretty much nothing. Both of these ideas are just a big drag as far as a story goes. The one good time travel story I ever saw was the movie "Primer" which takes a practical, and close to believable, approach to time travel, and is fairly gritty, scary, and mind blowing.

I watched one of these Time Tunnel episodes-- one with space aliens, because I thought that might be interesting. The two travelers, Doug and Tony, end up on an alien ship traveling to Earth in the 1800s-- so they end up dealing with aliens AND some cowboys and old codgers in the American West. The funny thing is, the aliens are gathering "protein" for their starving planet, and they do it by getting Earthlings to round up supplies that they can take back. So they're like gathering up boxes with cans of beans and loading them on the ship, and you're thinking, No, No, NO! That's going to take forever!

Really, the best thing about this show is Doug and Tony's wardrobe. They go through all of the world's history wearing the same thing-- Doug has pretty square, or hip (depending on what time period YOU'RE in) wool suit, with a sewn on belt! It's pretty great. And a tie, I think it's orange, but tasteful. And he has a great haircut. Tony is supposed to be considerably more hip, but he isn't-- his hair is long, and he wears some tight slacks and a dark green turtleneck. Now if the whole show was about fashion, rather than wars and disasters, that might have been really interesting.

1 comment:

gomonkeygo said...

Thank you! I was wondering about tarnishing my own childhood fantasies that came from Time Tunnel if I watched it now. I think I'll pass. My friends and I used to play out episodes sometimes and leap through the tunnel! I do love that tunnel, still, though. Like to have it in my basement...