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I like James Darren. I don't know what it is about him and his Amazing Green Pullover Of Time, but they make a very engaging duo. He (and the green pullover as well, possibly) should be on TV more. Actually, come to think of it, he should be the next Doctor Who. He'd be awesome fighting Daleks, he really would.

Back to The Time Tunnel for now, though. Poor little tunnel. I think it may have issues. Possibly it had a disturbed childhood? Of all the endless possibilities for travel in time and space, it seems to have a peculiar fixation with depositing Doug and Tony somewhere horrible. In the space of three episodes they've been trapped in a collapsing mine, and caught up both in the attack on Pearl Harbour and in the American War Of Independence. Thanks to the people in charge back in the operations room, they never get a chance to relax, either. As soon as the adventure is over, they get whisked off and hurled right into the middle of the next one. You'd think that the general and his little team of white-coats would give them five minutes off once in a while, but no.

The mine episode is kind of an odd one. It's 1910, and Halley's Comet has just appeared (except it's the sun, but let's not quibble). It's caused a bit of a stir, because it's come a little closer than usual, and a few people have decided that this means the end of the world. Consequently nobody can be bothered to save some miners who have got trapped in a mine. Why fight to rescue people if the planet is doomed anyway? This leads to Tony yelling at everybody again, something that he does very well, and with great regularity. Having failed to rouse the mine foreman, he sets off to yell at the rest of the population, whilst Doug goes to debate with a local astronomer. This all makes for one of the less eventful episodes, as Tony does little other than shout a lot at miserable defeatists, and Doug's just doing equations in a rather nice study. Happily, with the help of a little nineteen sixties Physics, he manages to convince his astronomer friend that the world isn't going to end, and they go off to persuade everybody to dig up the miners after all. Hurrah! I don't mind the inactivity in this episode so much, as it's nice to see Doug make proper use of his scientist skills, something that he didn't get to do too often; but it does mean that the first three episodes of the series have all been a little slow. Still, that's all about to change with the next adventure.

Episode four is called "The Day The Sky Fell In", which is good, if a trifle over-dramatic. It's about the attack on Pearl Harbour, and makes very effective use of old 20th Century Fox film footage. Why leave old movies lying about in cupboards when you can turn them into TV series?! There's lots of good battle action, and some nicely panicked civilians. The story itself is a bit of a disaster from the off, though. Just three episodes ago, Tony kept running about the Titanic telling everybody that he was born in 1938. Now suddenly he's saying that he was seven when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbour. Now I'll grant you that maths was never my best subject at school, but I know when 1941 was, and it wasn't seven years after 1938. Not unless Tony's got his own calendar. I can forgive a show for screwing up the continuity occasionally. Look at Simon & Simon, which had AJ being born in 1949 in season one, and in 1952 in season seven. That was done knowingly, however, in an effort to keep the characters young after nearly a decade on the air. Getting it wrong after three episodes is pretty pathetic. If they wanted to have one of the boys being a kid at the time of the attack, why not use Doug?! Also, there's a painful scene where Tony encounters his father, who he knows will be killed in the attack in a few hours time. That could have been a sweet and touching scene; and in the hands of some writers it probably would have been. Here, Tony gets given some truly dreadful lines, where he's gushing all over this poor man like a long-lost lover. His father must think he's been confronted by a raving loon. Less is more, people. It's a nice upping of the pace for the series, though. This episode rarely lets up, and there's plenty of action and excitement. It's like the whole series has stepped up a gear, which it really did need to do. The following episode, if anything, ups it even more.

I like episode five. I should probably state upfront that I have a natural predilection for anything remotely Westerny; and in episode five, Doug and Tony fall straight into the middle of the American War Of Independence. There's dressing up in buckskins, and playing with nicely dated rifles, and there's some splendid Redcoats. I know that they proved to be rubbish uniforms for playing soldier in, because of the ever so mild camouflage issue, but surely you mind being shot far less if it happens while you're wearing a splendid uniform? And those eighteenth century ones are awesome. And swords! And shiny buttons and stuff. Precious little galloping about, though, which loses them some points. Westerny things should always have plenty of galloping about on horseback. The plot here does make up for some of that, though. Caught up with a nutjob Brit, Doug and Tony find themselves roped into service by the enemy, forced to help spy on the American forces in return for not getting each other killed. Which leads me to ask a question. Do all Physicists learn hand-to-hand combat at university, or is it just the doctors who do that course? Doug and Tony turn out to be incredibly good at fighting. Pretty damned indestructible too, especially in Tony's case. He can take a rifle blow to the head and barely flinch. How very lucky that the two scientists who got accidentally lost in time were two with amazing combat skills. Not sure that Johnny Ball would have got along nearly so well in a warzone. Anyhow, having managed to outfight pretty much the entire British army, Doug and Tony are victorious. Needless to say, they're not allowed to then sit down and put their feet up for a bit, because the people back home have suddenly managed to get a lock on them. Well gosh, how startling that they should have managed that just in time for the end of the episode! I'd never have dreamed such a thing. And away they go just in time to get blown up by an exploding island, which is nice. I bet they're really, really annoyed with the people in the control room by now.

I know I am. But that's a different story.

Pictures!


Doug crashlands in a collapsing mineshaft. The time tunnel is not at all gentle.


Mind you, his shirt is still awfully clean.


Tony, however, is - inevitably - artfully daubed with dirt. By now the make-up department has already turned this into their favourite hobby.


It's not Halley's Comet, you know. No matter how many times you say that it is.


Doug and his remarkably clean shirt haul Tony out of the mine.


Artful daubing.


A sulky local, stubbornly refusing to do anything useful on Doomsday.


The people back at HQ drag us off to 1968, just in case there's one lone viewer somewhere who doesn't know what that date means. Gee, thanks.

And why does the Japanese consulate have a calendar written in English?!


Team: Aggravating. Note Jerry The Truly Ghastly Technician in the foreground. "Oh the danger! Oh the terror! Oh!"


Tony reminisces over being seven in 1941. Or three. One or the other.


"We can warn my father!" shouts Tony, and he and Doug promptly bounce up and down in giddy excitement over this opportunity to play fast and loose with the time stream.


Stealth Japanese.


Tony's remarkably good-natured father deals very patiently with the insane stranger who is suddenly sobbing all over him. Note to time travellers: If you want to save your father's life, remember that he's far more likely to believe your stories if you behave at least a little rationally.


No story is complete without the heroes getting tied to something. I don't know why, but it's the First Law Of Storytelling.


The bloke in the foreground is brilliant. He's the most enthusiastic Evil Japanese Mastermind ever.


Tony faces up to his captors by threatening to tell them about the atomic bomb. Yes, Tony. Great idea. Let's give the enemy the perfect means by which to win the war. I see no disadvantages to this.


Fight! Rather brilliantly, James Darren manages to clobber himself over the head with a metal barrel at this point, but it was probably mean of me to giggle at that.


Meanwhile, back at HQ - not that I object to being snatched back there in the middle of an exciting moment or anything - Jerry's sobbing and wailing at the deadly danger of it all has caused a UXB to land up in the tunnel. But never fear, for Sobbing Jerry knows how to defuse it. Of course he does. Actually he doesn't, but never mind that.

Now can we please go back to Doug and Tony?!


Thank you.

Back in the plot, Jerry and co have thoughtfully sent the bomb back where it came from, and Tony consequently gets to watch his father explode in glorious technicolor. Great.

Doug, meanwhile, is clearly enjoying the pretty fireworks.


Buckskins!


Redcoats!


Vintage weaponry!


Carroll O'Connor. Quite possibly the most glorious voice ever to wear a red coat.


"These chains look like they come from a ship," says Tony, thereby proving that his doctorate not only extends to Physics and hand-to-hand combat, but also to bondage as well.

Note Redcoat in splendid hat.


Doug and Tony attempt to convince Carroll O'Connor (and his glorious voice) that they're not spies. I don't think he cares if they're spies or not, frankly. He just wants to rub his hands together and cackle wickedly.


Whilst showing off his shiny uniform and epaulettes.


And, yet again, as the excitement builds to a glorious peak, we get dragged back to Killjoy Central. Oh joy.


Back in the good bit of the storyline, it's "Tie The Heroes To Inanimate Objects" time again. All bad guys everywhere must be good at knots. That's the Second Law Of Storytelling.


Which also covers heroes always looking brilliantly stoic in Moments Of Great Peril.


Carroll O'Evil Loon carefully spruces himself up, after demanding that Tony be brought to his room. I did not giggle at this. Much.

If this was a modern series, that one scene alone would have spawned entire websites full of fanfiction. All with the same plot.


James Darren was clearly born to do Westerns.


The Best Dressed Lieutenant In The British Army.


Sadly, however, I don't think Tony really appreciates the true splendour of his outfit.

Coming up next, then, the entire world is due to blow up. Possibly. Also some other stuff happens, and James Darren wears a very silly hat. Thrills! Spills! Brilliantly ridiculous headgear!







Hurrah!

Comments

( 7 fierce growls — Growl fiercely )
ladygretchen
Jun. 17th, 2011 08:02 pm (UTC)
Yay, I love when you dissect cool tv series. This was very funny. But I do hear great things about this show. I feel bad when Time Travelers never get a break. Even the Voyagers got more of a break than these 2 it seems.
This one is on my list to watch. Right now I am watching 'The Fugitive' Season 1 and it is fantastic. It's become a habit every night to down about 2-3 episodes with my dad, he loved the show. And I am in dire need to watch the 10 episodes of Hardy Boys season 3.
swordznsorcery
Jun. 17th, 2011 10:10 pm (UTC)
I'm amazed you've not seen this already, with your love of time travel! It's a definite predecessor of "Voyagers!" You can see a lot of things that seem to have influenced the later series, which is interesting. As a series it's far from being without fault, but generally it's loads of fun, and James Darren is extremely likeable. You should love it.

"The Fugitive" is a good one too. Have you seen "The Invaders"? Made by the same people, I think, and quite similar in many ways. It has that 'lone man on the run' concept, although in this case that's because he's witnessed an alien invasion, and has to stay one step ahead of the enemy, without knowing who he can trust.

Sixties TV was so much more interesting than most of the modern stuff!
mickeyk
Jun. 20th, 2011 08:24 pm (UTC)
Torchwood showing later than U.S. on BBC :~(
Sorry. :~( I know how much you want to see it.

http://twitter.com/lizo_mzimba/status/82895668171128832

"No UK transmission date announced. But Russell T Davies told me in interview before, would def air in US before here. "

You might have to look for pixies if you want to see it a.s.a.p. after STARZ airs an episode.
swordznsorcery
Jun. 20th, 2011 10:49 pm (UTC)
Re: Torchwood showing later than U.S. on BBC :~(
Yes, I know. :( The BBC puts out a press release every Friday that covers new shows, and the last one covered the week up to July 9th. Hopefully there'll be something in the next one. If they wait too long, everybody will download it from America!

I haven't decided what I'm going to do yet. I would much rather watch it as it airs on the BBC, but I don't want to take the risk of spoilers.
swordznsorcery
Jun. 20th, 2011 11:03 pm (UTC)
Re: Torchwood showing later than U.S. on BBC :~(
Have you seen the new picture of Jack from the cover of the current issue of SFX, btw?



8)

Edited at 2011-06-20 11:04 pm (UTC)
mickeyk
Jun. 20th, 2011 11:30 pm (UTC)
Re: Torchwood showing later than U.S. on BBC :~(
*THUD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!*

*dissolves into a pile of goo*
mickeyk
Jun. 20th, 2011 11:43 pm (UTC)
Re: Torchwood showing later than U.S. on BBC :~(
*crosses fingers the next update will say Saturday, July 9th, like Space in Canada will be running it*

I don't blame you for not wanting to risk spoilers. Staying off the internet, avoiding lj, is better when it's 24 hours, instead of a week or more.
( 7 fierce growls — Growl fiercely )

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