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Category:    Home > Reviews > Science Fiction > Action > Thriller > TV > Time Tunnel – Volume 1 & 2/The Complete Series

Time Tunnel – Volume 1 & 2/The Complete Series


Picture: C+     Sound: C     Extras: B      Episodes: B



Irwin Allen essentially was Fox TV in the 1960s, coming up with hit after hit for the studio and new TV networks in need of winning programs.  Sometimes, the shows did not work out and the most unfortunate ratings casualty was The Time Tunnel, about the U.S. Government’s next “Manhattan Project” as they secretly put out a then $7 Billion (imagine what that would equal now) on a project that sees time as the next frontier after splitting the atom.  It is under military control, of course, until things go wrong.


James Darren and Robert Colbert play the two doctors who fall though land up flying through time and space as an early run of the machine turns into a catastrophe and the technicians must keep tracking them and trying to help them out until they can figure out a way to get enough of a fix on their position to bring them home.  With Whit Bissell as the Army man overseeing Dr. Swain (John Zaremba) and Dr. Ann MacGregor (the great Lee Meriwether) doing what they can to save them as they (and we) watch all the events helplessly, it might just be the best set up Allen ever came up with.  Only 30 shows were produced in the 1966 – 1967 season, but they are all very good and Fox has split up the shows into two 15-episode sets.  The shows are:



1)     Rendezvous With Yesterday (guest stars Gary Merrill and Michael Rennie)

2)     One Way To The Moon

3)     End Of The World (guest stars Paul Carr)

4)     The Day The Sky Fell In

5)     The Last Patrol (guest stars Carroll O’Connor and Michael Pate)

6)     Crack Of Doom (guest stars Ellen Burstyn)

7)     Revenge Of The Gods (guest stars Abraham Soafer)

8)     Massacre (guest stars Perry Lopez)

9)     Devil’s Island (guest stars Oscar Beregi, Jr.)

10)  Reign Of Terror

11)  Secret Weapon (guest stars Nehemiah Persoff)

12)  Death Trap (guest stars R. G. Armstrong and Tom Skerritt)

13)  The Alamo (guest stars Jim Davis)

14)  Night Of The Long Knives guest stars Perry Lopez and Malachi Throne)

15)  Invasion

16)  The Revenge Of Robin Hood

17)  Kill Two By Two (guest stars Mako)

18)  Visitors From Beyond The Stars (guest stars Fred Beir)

19)  The Ghost Of Nero (guest stars Gunnar Hellström and Richard Jaeckel)

20)  The Walls Of Jericho (guest stars Abraham Sofaer)

21)  Idol Of Death

22)  Billy The Kid

23)  Pirates Of Deadman’s Island (guest stars Victor Jory and Regis Toomey)

24)  Chase Through Time (guest stars Robert Duvall and Lew Gallo)

25)  Death Merchant (guest stars Malachi Throne)

26)  Attack Of The Barbarians (guest stars Paul Mantee and John Saxon)

27)  Merlin The Magician

28)  The Kidnappers (guest stars Michael Ansara)

29)  Raiders From Outer Space (guest stars Kevin Hagen)

30)  Town Of Terror (guest stars Mabel Albertson)



This is James Darren’s best work, while the show ranks not far behind Kolchak: The Night Stalker as the best single-season U.S. TV series ever made.  Like Kolchak, the show was far from out of good ideas before it folded and both were ironically shows that were picked up by ABC-TV.  Once again, we are also reminded of how good the Gold and Silver Ages of TV really were.


The 1.33 X 1 full frame image varies slightly throughout, but does not always show off how good the DeLuxe color is, as all shot by cinematographer Winton C. Hoch.  The visual effects sometimes look phony, but more hold up than you might expect.  Add the more problematic Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono from the old monophonic mixes being down a few more generations than expected, and it becomes apparent that these are late analog masters being used for both sets.  They play back well, but are not up there with the best TV on DVD fox has issued to date in that respect.  We bet Blu-ray versions will be a home run.


Extras are different on both sets, with the first offering a stills section of memorabilia (comics, books, novels, et al) tied into the show with concept art, promo stills & behind the scenes shots, an unaired version of the pilot, Irwin Allen’s Home Movies related to the show, silent visual effects camera tests, three syndicated radio spots and five network promo spots.  This includes a network title sequence, three trailers and a general ABC-TV spot.  The second volume includes extensive interviews with cats members, a second stills section, the Rod Serling penned Time Travelers telefilm from 1976 (78 minutes) that holds up well and an unaired 2002 revival pilot that had an ace lead in actor David Conrad but an absolutely horrible script and look.  Fox wisely shelved that one.  This is a great set of extras worthy of the show’s underrated legacy.


At this point, one could imagine an attempt at a big screen revival.  If that should happen, it should be by someone who loves the show, is bold enough to take on all kinds of history and takes seriously the more mature time travel films like 12 Monkeys or J’Taime, J’Taime while keeping it a fun action piece.  Another shot at a TV series planned for a 2007 debut is said to be in the works instead.  We can only hope they learn from their mistakes from 2002.  As for this original show, The Time Tunnel is Irwin Allen’s most underrated TV series.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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