The Time Tunnel-The Complete Series (1966)
Short Film-TV Movie
Featurette-Behind The Scenes
|Year Of Production||1966|
|RSDL / Flipper||
Multi Disc Set (8)
|Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||4||Directed By||
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||English Dolby Digital 2.0 mono|
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||None|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.33:1||Miscellaneous|
|Subtitles||English for the Hearing Impaired||Smoking||No|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
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.
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.
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.
|Surround Channel Use|
Great collection of extras!
The menu featured music.
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.
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.
Short promos for TV.
Audio only promos from a monotonic James Darren.
Test Footage of the tunnel with explosions and lights.
Silent, self-forwarding galleries which annoyingly are not shown full screen.
The actor who played Gen Heywood Kirk gives a fairly vague interview about his experiences making the show and his thoughts on time travel.
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
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
The actress who played the only significant female character discusses working with Allen, casting and her experiences on the show. Interesting.
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.
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.
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.
The video quality is excellent.
The audio quality is very good.Great extras and lots of 'em including a feature film.
|DVD||SONY BDP-S760 Blu-ray, using HDMI output|
|Display||Sharp 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 Decoder||Built into amplifier. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.|
|Speakers||Monitor Audio Bronze 2 (Front), Bronze Centre & Bronze FX (Rears) + Sony SAW2500M Subwoofer|