The Time Tunnel-The Complete Series (1966)

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Released 20-Aug-2014

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Science Fiction Alternative Version
Interviews-Cast
Bonus Episode
Short Film-TV Movie
Trailer
Gallery-Multiple
Featurette-Behind The Scenes
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1966
Running Time 1470
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered
Multi Disc Set (8)
Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Sobey Martin
Nathan Juran
William Hale
Harry Harris
Studio
Distributor

Madman Entertainment
Starring James Darren
Robert Colbert
Whit Bissell
John Zaremba
Lee Meriwether
Case ?
RPI ? Music John Williams


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 mono
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.33:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

     There are very few television series which have stuck in my mind from when I was a child but one which I recall very clearly and always loved to watch when it was repeated on television was The Time Tunnel. I was fascinated by the idea when I was young and am thrilled to be able to share it with my young sons, who have enjoyed watching it with me. In the 1960s one man was behind most of the best Science Fiction television (except Doctor Who of course). That man was Irwin Allen who was responsible for shows such as Lost in Space, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, Land of the Giants and movies like The Poseidon Adventure. He was also the creator of the show which is the subject of this review, The Time Tunnel.

     This was the third major television series Irwin Allen created and produced, following Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea which started in 1964 and Lost in Space which started in 1965. This series was made in 1966/67 and only ever ran to 30 episodes over one season which certainly surprised me considering how much it stuck in my memory (although I certainly only ever saw it on repeat). It won an Emmy award in its time for special effects which are fantastic for the time. The series was very expensive to make which is one of the reasons it didn't last very long. The network wanted to renew the series for a second season however demanded that the cost be reduced. Allen refused and the show was cancelled.

     The concept here is that the US Government has been working on a highly secret project under the Arizona desert called Project Tic Toc which is attempting to control time. The project is led by two young scientists, Dr Tony Newman (James Darren) and Dr Doug Phillips (Robert Colbert) who are overseen by Gen Heywood Kirk (Whit Bissell) and supported by Dr Raymond Swain (John Zaremba) and Dr Ann MacGregor (Lee Meriwether). They have developed a time tunnel which they believe will enable them to send people back or forward in time to times and destinations of their choosing. They have been working on the technology for some time but are yet to successfully travel through time. In the opening episode, the government send a Senator to investigate whether their money is being put to good use. He gives them an ultimatum; get it working within 24 hours or they will be shut down. Tony & Doug cannot stand the thought of their work going to waste so are determined to make the tunnel work even at the risk of their own lives. Accordingly, they go through the tunnel and end up on the Titanic as it is steaming towards the iceberg. Can they get the captain to believe the danger they are all in or will their colleagues who remain in Arizona be able to get them off the Titanic in time? Due to a misfunction in the time tunnel they cannot return home and each episode they end up in another random time and place facing dangers and adventures until they are transported somewhere else. They also need to be careful not to impact the timeline of history to avoid changing their present. The episodes go to a good variety of places including The Moon, World War II, Krakatoa, Ancient Greece, the French revolution, the Khyber Pass, the Battle for the Alamo and more.

     This show is fantastic especially considering its age and the great video and audio quality on display here certainly adds to the experience. The effects are fantastic for 1960s television and the many and varied storylines create an excellent viewing experience. Darren & Colbert are good as our square jawed heroes and the production design is fantastic showing off the big budgets. The theme tune is by John Williams and is certainly memorable.

     All 30 episodes that were made are included here in their original broadcast order, spread over 8 double layer DVDs. Madman are releasing all the classic Irwin Allen series currently including this, Lost in Space, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea and Land of the Giants.

     Highly Recommended!

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Transfer Quality

Video

     The video quality is excellent considering the age of this show. It has obviously been remastered carefully.

The episodes are presented in a 1.33:1 aspect ratio which is the original aspect ratio. It is 4x3 full frame.

     The picture was very clear and sharp for a series of this age with only a little film grain at times. Shadow detail was quite good.

     The colour is excellent with the costumes and sets showing off the money spent on them.

     Other than those mentioned above the only artefact was some minor aliasing.

     There are subtitles in English for the Hearing Impaired which were clear and easy to read.

    There is no obvious layer change during the episodes.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

     The audio quality is very good.

      These discs contain an English soundtrack in Dolby Digital 2.0 mono. The sound is obviously quite front focused.

     Dialogue was clear and easy to understand throughout.

     The tense and exciting music sounds good on this transfer.

     The surround speakers and subwoofer were not used.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

     Great collection of extras!

Menu

     The menu featured music.

Disc 1

Unaired Pilot (53:06)

     A longer but fairly similar version of the original episode featuring some extra footage and an alternate ending. Certainly worth having for fans but not essential viewing.

Irwin Allen's Behind the Scenes Home Movies (65:07)

     Lots of fascinating footage of the filming and on set with no sound. Great background to how the show was made however probably a bit too long for one sitting.

Disc 3

Promotional TV Spots (5:06)

     Short promos for TV.

Promotional Radio Spots (0:59)

     Audio only promos from a monotonic James Darren.

Disc 4

Visual Effects Camera Test (1:45)

     Test Footage of the tunnel with explosions and lights.

Galleries - Concept Art (6:09), Production (9:01), Merchandise (3:00), Comic Book (5:40)

     Silent, self-forwarding galleries which annoyingly are not shown full screen.

Disc 5

Interview with Whit Bissell (2:14)

     The actor who played Gen Heywood Kirk gives a fairly vague interview about his experiences making the show and his thoughts on time travel.

Interview with James Darren (11:11)

     A much more interesting interview where the star of the show covers working with Allen, casting, the concept, tells some anecdotes, discusses specific episodes, challenges with his turtle neck sweater and his thoughts on violence in TV. Well worth a watch

Disc 6

Still Gallery (9:00)

     Production Stills.

Disc 7

Interview with Robert Colbert (6:23)

     Another worthwhile interview from one of the two stars of the show. He covers shooting challenges, stunts, the concept, cancellation of the show and the production quality

Interview with Lee Meriwether (8:04)

     The actress who played the only significant female character discusses working with Allen, casting and her experiences on the show. Interesting.

Disc 8

2002 Unaired TV Pilot (48:53)

     Great extra this is the pilot episode for a proposed remake series. It is 1.78:1. This is actually quite a good episode where they have more control over the time tunnel and are specifically setting off to right a wrong in history during World War II. It is a shame more of this wasn't made as it is well worth seeing. Some interesting changes are that Doug Phillips is a fairly unwilling participant in this version and Toni Newman is a woman. Definitely worth watching.

The Time Travelers TV Movie (69:53)

     A feature film is hidden away in the extras! This TV movie was made by Irwin Allen in 1976 in conjunction with Rod Sterling who wrote the story. It involves a mysterious disease in the modern day which seems to have been cured in the past but the records of how were lost in the Chicago fire of 1871. The doctor trying to solve the problem is approached by someone who says they can help by taking the doctor back through time to before the fire. This is not a great film but it is certainly worth having on the DVD set as a major extra.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    This show is available in the US broken up into two volumes. The local version has the same extras but why the need to break it up? Buy Local.

Summary

    A marvellous 1960s science fiction television series available in restored glory with great extras.

    The video quality is excellent.

    The audio quality is very good.

    Great extras and lots of 'em including a feature film.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Daniel Bruce (Do you need a bio break?)
Saturday, September 27, 2014
Review Equipment
DVDSONY BDP-S760 Blu-ray, using HDMI output
DisplaySharp LC52LE820X Quattron 52" Full HD LED-LCD TV . Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderBuilt into amplifier. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.
AmplificationMarantz SR5005
SpeakersMonitor Audio Bronze 2 (Front), Bronze Centre & Bronze FX (Rears) + Sony SAW2500M Subwoofer

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