Irwin Allen’s cult classic The Time Tunnel finally gets a high-definition Blu-ray release containing all 30 episodes.
A decade-long government experiment (Tic-Toc) is running out of funding to yield results that a person can be sent back in time, and return. Having won the space-race, America now wants to be the first country to send someone back in time. Project leaders Dr. Douglas Phillips (Robert Colbert) and Dr. Anthony Newman (James Darren) decide to use themselves as the test subjects and hurl themselves into the machine.
Serving as both an entertainment and educational series (much like Doctor Who) each episode sees Doug and Tony seemingly stranded in a different time period, they solve a mystery/problem, the Tic-Toc team try to retrieve them yet the malfunctioning machine keeps sending our heroes to the wrong time. It’s the same format that served most of Allen’s creations, and indeed most TV of its time.
I discovered The Time Tunnel when it was shown alongside fellow Allen creation Land of the Giants on Channel 4 in the early 90s. I must have seen it all through at least three times in parts over the years, and for a long time, I thought I had always managed to miss the final episode. It wasn’t until the invention of the internet that I discovered the show had been cancelled after 30 episodes. As the first episode lands the two Doctors on the Titanic in 1911, as the show was cancelled before it could be wrapped up when the series was shown in syndication the last episode was re-edited, so the next time preview took the Doctors back to the Titanic. The producers pulled off a neat trick by backwardly engineering a continuous loop for the series to exist in syndication. Well played.
Allen’s creations always had a slight B-movie vibe about them, and The Time Tunnel is no exception. The overly excited voiceover, the cliffhanger endings, the wobbly sets, and frequent acting that ranges from hammy to wooden. Simply put, The Time Tunnel is as enjoyable today as it was when it was broadcast in 1966, and the HD upgrade is ruddy beautiful.
Twenty-plus years later The Time Tunnel would inspire the concept (although never officially acknowledged) for another cult sci-fi series, Quantum Leap. Just like The Time Tunnel, the adventures of Sam Beckett were cut short, and a frustratingly bitter ending was served up to fans.
The Time Tunnel seven-disc box-set is out now, and offers a wealth of brand new special features.
Original Unaired Pilot Episode (HD Version)
2002 Unaired TV Pilot
Time Travelers TV Movie
Irwin Allen’s Behind-The-Scenes Home Movies – UK Edit (No Audio)
Promotional TV & Radio Spots
Camera Test (No Audio)
New 5.1 surround sound mix and original mono audio.