Time Tunnel – precursor to Quantum Leap?


Does anybody remember the Irwin Allen TV series Time Tunnel?  It’s so perfectly inane and silly, but still enjoyable as a guilty pleasure.  It’s now available as DVD sets!  Hurrah!

The premise of the series is that the US was developing a time travel machine and 2 scientists get stuck in a different time.  The folks in the control room (surrounded by surplus computer equipment and lots of flashing lights) can’t bring them back, or communicate with them, but they can see what the pair are up to most of the time.  Usually, there is some technical difficulty that makes them helpless to intervene, even though they can and do dig up historical pictures and facts about the time and place where the scientists “landed”.

Almost all the episodes follow this simple format:

  1. The pair of scientists are “dropped” in some random time and place, with predictable rolling on the floor as they always arrive above floor level.
  2. The pair look around and try to figure out where/when they are.
  3. Bad guys show up.
  4. A fist fight ensues.
  5. Our pugilistic scientists are subdued and the bad guys announce their imminent demise.
  6. –commercial usually goes here–
  7. The rest of the episode is chock full of bad acting, cheesy sets and special effects, and serves to educate the viewer about some historical event (somewhat – literary license is frequently employed), and unravel the pair’s predicament.
  8. When the pair are finally out of peril at the end of the episode, their dirty/torn clothes are miraculously restored, and they are transported to the next timezone for a sneak peak of the next episode.

All of this predates “Quantum Leap” by many years, yet there are definitely many similarities.  I must admit though, that the acting improved a bit.  The plots are usually interesting, so if you can get past the cheese, they are worth revisiting.

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