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Time Tunnel

March 18, 2012

Loved this show as a kid (and no, it doesn’t hold up anymore if you don’t like a multiplicity of cheese factor), but I found out there was a 2002 (or 2006) unaired pilot on the DVD set so we ordered it on Netflix.

Unaired pilots are shot, never shown and never picked up to be shown.  You’d think this would mean they are lousy.  Not necessarily.  As William Goldman points out, “nobody knows what works.”  Producers banked on Firefly instead.

Still, I didn’t have much hope for this and BOY was I pleasantly surprised.  If it were a series, I’d order the whole thing.  Many things were cheesy about the original (great for the time, though), and this one fixed all of them.  Rather than being stuck bouncing in the past, this crew of time travelers used the tunnel to correct time storms that impacted the present.  They had a small window of time to find the time disturbance (in this case a monk from the 16th century plucked up by the time storm and dropped into WWII as a bubonic plague carrier.  They tracked the guy down, gave everyone an injection and wisked back to the present.  When things go right, the present is fine; when things go a little wrong, the present is slightly changed.  Failure means the present would be horribly changed.

It was engaging, funny, intense…  darn the producers who passed it up.  Makes me want to see other unaired pilots AND begs a question.

In today’s world of Internet TV, why are producers making decisions?  Why not show them online and get feedback from watchers?

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. kverdeck permalink
    March 19, 2012 9:46 am

    That does sound good! You aren’t by chance a Doctor Who fan, are you? Seems similar with the time travel and fixing imminent disaster themes. I never saw any old DW because it always looked so hokey, but the 2005 reboot has been quite good, especially the last few seasons with Matt Smith as the eleventh Doctor, wherein Steven Moffat took over writing/producing. There’s definitely still a bit of cheese from time to time, but overall the writing and production quality in the past few years has been stellar. It’s on Netflix for streaming, I’d suggest starting with Season 5, the first with Moffat and Smith.

  2. Leslie Santamaria permalink
    March 19, 2012 1:54 pm

    I can’t find the unaired Time Tunnel pilot on Netflix. Any search suggestions?

    Thanks for all the posts about time travel, Rob. Helps keep my head in my own story…which is moving forward, albeit slowly. Wrote a 750-word synopsis of it for a grant application. I laugh at those sections you must describe which you haven’t written yet; e.g., “As they search for clues…” In other words, “This is where some cool stuff happens before the black moment.” 🙂 Gotta love synopses.

  3. March 19, 2012 5:51 pm

    Leslie, it’s an extra on the disk 4 of Time Tunnel season 2 DVD. Keep moving forward!

    Kelly, I’ve tried to get into Dr. Who but never could. I’ll check out the 2005 version, though. I’ve liked the concept, just never the execution.

  4. kverdeck permalink
    March 20, 2012 11:27 am

    Definitely start with the 5th season of the new series, then–once we’d gotten through all the episodes with Matt Smith, we went back to the 2005 season, and while we’re enjoying it, I don’t know that it would have kept us watching if we didn’t know how much better it got later on. 🙂

    • March 22, 2012 5:21 pm

      Watched the first episode of 5th season with my daughter. We enjoyed it, but I’m pretty sure my wife wouldn’t, which makes it a show for Charli’s and my Tuesday night on our own. Thanks for the recommendation. 🙂

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