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In which our heroes encounter shiny silver beings; do battle against terrorists, Mongols and each other; and deal with romance, philosophy and a profusion of things going boom.

I want a time machine. It looks like so much fun.

And so, as time goes by, things get progressively more Irwin Alleny. A saboteur plants a bomb at time tunnel HQ (I'd just like to take a moment to thank him), and then leaps into the tunnel to make his escape. The gang at HQ focus Doug and Tony on him, and they chase him about, trying to find out where the bomb is before it explodes. Oh, let it explode. Please let it explode. Please? The chase takes them first to one million AD, where humanity has turned silver, for no particular reason other than this being an Irwin Allen production; and then takes them to one million BC where, again largely because this is an Irwin Allen production, giant, spray-painted lizards stalk about the landscape and roar at each other. Also there are giant bees, but they're invisible, which is a bit of a swizz.

Following that we're off to Gettysburg, on the eve of battle. This episode is an awkward one, as for the most part it's absolutely terrific. Really, really good. On the other hand, it has this bizarre bit of plot bolted onto it that it really could have done without. It's as though the makers of The Time Tunnel have developed the same fear that the makers of Doctor Who eventually did, where pure time travel wasn't considered enough to grab the viewers, and so some other hook had to be added as well. In this instance, Machiavelli has been accidentally scooped up by the time tunnel, and dumped at Gettysburg too. Because he's hundreds of years outside his own time, he can't be killed or damaged. How come that's never worked for Doug or Tony?! Doug rabbits on about him being evil, and reviled throughout the centuries as the most hated of the philosophers, which is such blatant stuff and nonsense that is rather lets the side down. Since he really doesn't need to be there, and the role could easily be filled by any fictional character actually from the Civil War period, that whole bit of story is rather weird. Still, the rest more than makes up for it.

And then we're off again, this time to the reign of Genghis Khan's stroppy grandson. And what a fine episode this turns out to be. John Saxon! And, yes, horribly unconvincing Asians. Why was sixties TV so filled with white people pretending to be Asian? Were there really that few of the real thing?! Anyway, there's battling every which way, and there's John Saxon, and there's proper swashlebucking and everything. And John Saxon. Also, James Darren being brilliant, and stuff blowing up and all of that. I like this episode.

Pictures, then.


"You're killing us...!"


Zapped to one million AD, Doug and Tony are greeted by a giant silver head. The chief of security for a new society, Mr Silver explains how glorious their new world is, with all animal life extinct, and all humanity enslaved to a hive mentality based on bees.


Doug and Tony are not convinced. Actually, this whole sequence was temporarily confusing. Why do Americans pronounce "era" as "error"?! There he was declaiming that this was the great "error" of humanity, and I was agreeing with him, until I realised that we were thinking of different words.

I'm stupid. I know this.


We have gold people here too! This is the guard assigned to look after Doug and Tony. She has no understanding of emotion, but unfortunately for her, within five minutes of meeting them she's in love with Tony and being declared defective by her "masters".


Our runaway bomber, meanwhile, has been adopted into the society by the local silver people. Dig that hat. Actually, I think it's the same one that the Venusians used to read Chip's mind on Voyage To The Bottom Of The Sea. One thing you can always count on with an Irwin Allen production is that every prop will appear again somewhere else. Anyway, terrorist guy has agreed to build a time machine, which Doug and Tony will help him to perfect.


Oh look, it's the Teacup Of Doom from the Cold War episode. Also, Doug and Tony being shot for refusing to help.


Having recovered, they're set to work, but soon stop when they discover that the first test pilot for the Teacup Of Doom is their new gold friend.


Doug tries a little industrial sabotage, and Tony rescues the gold girl. Although quite where he thinks she's going to escape to I have no idea.


This leads to Tony being shot again. He's good at that.


Recovering in their cell, Doug and Tony discuss escape plans.


Before Tony gets himself zapped by a forcefield whilst attempting to escape.


This leads to more recovering, and more discussing.


Then - bravo! - we're in the middle of an episode of The A-Team, as the boys look around their cell, and see what they can build out of what they find. Able to dismantle the forcefield, they run off.


And are reunited with the gold girl. And that strange device that was supposed to get them home in the Robin Hood episode, which for some reason is here bolted to the wall as some sort of decorative object.


Capturing their terrorist, Doug and Tony yell out to the ever-watching time tunnel crew to get them out of there. The time tunnel crew, ever competent and effective, zap them, plus Mr Silver and Miss Gold; and deposit them, not in 1968, but in one million BC.


No sign of Raquel Welch, though.


But what's this?


Why it's a giant, spray-painted crocogator with stick-on horns! However did you not guess?

I'll admit that the fossil record is notoriously filled with gaps, but I'm unconvinced of the existence of giant, spray-painted crocogators with stick-on horns in one million BC. I don't know why, I just am.


Wisely, Doug and Tony hide. However they soon hear a cry for help.


It's their terrorist friend, who has managed to get himself stuck in the obligatory quicksand.


Doug and Tony realise that if they don't help him, they may be stuck in one million BC forever. Well, at least there's nobody shooting at you there. They immediately set to work. This is both a good and a bad thing. Good because it's entertaining, bad because the set is really not up to the assault it gets from the eternally bouncing James Darren. Trees move, boulders thud hollowly. At one point he even manages to put his fist through one. :D


But they free their terrorist friend. Time tunnel HQ look on, no doubt stunned at discovering just what the planet really looked like one million years ago.


But then... oh no! What is it this time?


Why, it's a giant, roaring frilled lizard. How unexpected.


The giant, roaring frilled lizard, and the giant, spray-painted crocogator have a battle.


The gang take the opportunity to escape, but fall through the ground, and find themselves in a giant beehive. As the bees approach, the terrorist blurts out where the bomb is hidden, and the tunnel HQ is saved (damn).


Doug and Tony ask that everybody please be zapped out before the bees arrive. Goodness knows where they all land up. Mr Silver and Miss Gold are probably off having their own adventures in time as we speak.


And then suddenly there's stuff exploding. Everywhere stuff explodes.


And there's a cannon! Nobody uses it, but it's there, being cannony.


There's also a man and a big dog. This is Machiavelli, although nobody knows it yet.


Cannon again. Cannons are cool.


As Doug and Tony are led to safety by a group of Union soldiers, we have this lovely scene. It's the world's most rubbish explosion, it really is. It barely ruffles the grass. James Darren and his soldier friend really act it up, though. You'd think they were stood next to a nuclear bomb. :D


Then some more stuff explodes, just because it can.


Tony has been declared dead at the scene, so Doug is recruited into the Union Army, as it's better than sitting around moping. The man who is recruiting him here was also King John a few episodes back, and one of Pat Garrett's deputies just the other day, which probably explains why he and Doug are giving each other such odd looks.


The Obligatory Kevin Hagen. And a very endearing young corporal, who is, by the laws of television, very obviously for the chop. They find Tony, who is very much Not Dead, but is instead suffering from a serious case of TV amnesia.


Doug in his shiny new uniform.


And Tony in his.


Doug and his Union friend go to find Machiavelli, who is planning on furnishing the South with vast amounts of gunpowder, in an effort to make the war a little more interesting for onlookers. Machiavelli is painted here as a complete loon.


Although he's a complete loon with a sword and a pistol, so probably not for underestimating. As Doug's Union friend finds out when he's promptly killed.


Footsteps outside. Doug hides behind the door, in readiness.


Whilst Tony and the Obligatory Kevin Hagen lurk.


They bust in, and Doug's relief is short lived.


He tries to tell Tony the truth about who he is, and is doing splendidly until he gets to the bit about time travel.


Tony is not convinced.

Maybe now he'll understand how all the people he tries explaining it to feel.


As Doug runs off, Tony goes after him.


Doug lurks in the rocks.


Fight! Doug cheated though, so it's not much of a fight.


He tries to get Tony to listen to him again.


But Tony is half mad with anger over the death of his highly endearing young corporal at the hands of Doug's Union friend. Also, he probably has one hell of a headache.


Doug keeps trying to get through to him.


But Tony isn't interested in listening. Depositing Doug with the Obligatory Kevin Hagen, he goes off to fight with some Union soldiers for a bit.


Fight!


Doug runs off to help him.


Confused by the help, Tony lets Doug talk for a bit, but soon decides that it's all much more fun when guns are involved. Sadly the head is still bugging him. Tony, don't lean so heavily against that tree. It wobbles quite ferociously every time.


The Obligatory Kevin Hagen is no more. This pushes poor confused Tony even more off the rails.


Gunpowder!


Fight!


Machiavelli enjoys a good fight too.


The fight spills onto a bridge, and Doug falls off. Tony hauls him back on again apparently just so that they can fight some more, which is nice.


But then Doug promptly clobbers him, which isn't.


Happily, however, this latest knock on the head proves to be the necessary cure for his TV amnesia. Hurrah! Or not, actually, as this episode has been extremely entertaining. I like confused-and-angry Tony, and even though it's not exactly a subtle plot device to dump them on opposite sides of the Civil War, it's very effective and a whole lot of fun. But Machiavelli gets sent home, and the powder blows up, and Doug and Tony are on their way once again. Bye bye 1863.


And hello... some other year. Doug and Tony watch a battle in the distance.


And then identify a shield as Mongol, from the time of Genghis Khan. Speaking of Mongols...


Fight!

It's not a fight that goes at all well. Oddly enough, fights at beginnings of episodes rarely do.


I'm not sure that they're really excited enough about this. There should be exclamation marks.


Genghis Khan's grandson, Batu.


Batu wants Tony to tell him lots of things that, being from 1968, he has no hope of knowing.


This is bad news for Tony.


But good news for Batu, who clearly enjoys his work immensely.

It's a good scene, this. There's proper menace; and unlike Doug, who's also been on a rack in the past, Tony actually remembers to look like it hurts.


It's Ming The Merciless! Quake, feeble human!


Doug wakes up, to find Ming and co gone for a conference.


And Tony dangling decoratively.


Fight! Stupid guard. Why didn't he shout out?!


Doug makes off with Tony. And then, out in the hills, they meet...


... John Saxon! With a very silly beard.


But he's still John Saxon, and still given to fighting at every available opportunity. No karate this time though, sadly.


Fight!


Tony is beginning to think that being tortured perhaps isn't quite so bad. Shame the latest object of his affections is so dreadful.


Although this doesn't stop Ming and his minions from planning to capture her. For she is Sarit, daughter of Kublai Khan; and even though she's rubbish, she's probably worth quite a lot to them. More than they think, quite possibly, since she was entirely golden just a couple of episodes back.


Uh oh.


Doug tries to convince Tony that it'll never work. "You're from different worlds!"

That's a pretty rubbish reason for ending a relationship, though. If you'd said "She's a lousy actor!" then I might have been on your side.


John Saxon celebrates just generally being John Saxon.


Whilst Tony and Sarit flirt outside.


Spectacularly oblivious to the sneaky Mongols.


Oh Tony.

I think he's incapable of remaining conscious for more than ten minutes at a time.


Tony asks for the key to the dress up box, so that he can go and get Sarit back.


John Saxon enjoys his throne for a bit.


Doug attempts to convince Tony that his relationship with Sarit is doomed. "She's been dead for seven hundred years!"


Tony is not convinced by his reckoning, not least because she definitely didn't feel very dead last night.


Ming doesn't think she feels very dead either.


Ming, you fiend! Have at thee!


Fight!


Things do not look good for our heroes. They get away rather annoyingly easily, though. Would it kill them to make the fight scenes a little longer? There'd be plenty of time if they'd only cut out that wretched time tunnel lot.


John Saxon prepares for a Mongol invasion. His soldiers have incredibly silly hats. They're not exactly well hidden on those castle walls.


Fight!


Invasion temporarily dispelled, Doug and Tony have a chat about Sarit. Doug does the "different worlds" speech again, and Tony admits that he knows the tunnel could haul him off at any moment, so he should probably end it.


Although he doesn't seem terribly bothered by that.


Elsewhere, John Saxon talks to Sarit about princessly duties.


And she agrees that it would be far better to marry some suitable prince, rather than somebody she actually loves.


So they tell each other that it was never to be. Blimey, talk about a defeatist attitude.


Still, who cares about romance when there's another A-Team moment approaching? Using black powder from John Saxon's saddle bags, and phosphate scraped from the cellar walls, Doug and Tony turn lots of jars into hand grenades.


And blow up the entire Mongol army! Hurrah! The end.

And then Merlin the Magician is lurking in the control room. He's annoying, but I suppose he does have his uses.







Next on The Time Tunnel, there's magic and swords and King Arthur! Also, everything gets spangly again, because somebody in the prop department got a bit enthusiastic with the silver paint and coloured lights. Plus Vikings!

Comments

( 7 fierce growls — Growl fiercely )
iceandstars
Jul. 4th, 2011 07:02 pm (UTC)
I love the Civil War episode. Shame the stunt doubles are a bit obvious in the fight, though! I get the impression the boys weren't allowed out on location much. its still a good fight, though. Makes up for being cheated out of it in the Nazi episode! They seem pretty evenly matched despite the size difference, and the choreography is good.

You don't get fight scenes like that very often now, have you noticed? It's all quick cuts here and there, rather than just letting it play out properly.
swordznsorcery
Jul. 4th, 2011 11:19 pm (UTC)
A well choreographed fight scene now is like gold dust. It's such a shame. Sword fights seem to have fared worst.

And it's a great episode. I know TV amnesia has been done to death, but that doesn't mean it's always a bad thing. The fight works well too. There is a size difference, yes, but although Doug's bigger and heavier (and presumably stronger), Tony is faster - and a better fighter. He does have the head injury issue, though. Doug's not exactly going easy on him either!
ladygretchen
Jul. 8th, 2011 06:37 am (UTC)
Yay for John Saxon! This episode seems very fun too. I am having laughing fits over the silver and gold people and the spray-painted crocogators. I would be extremely alarmed to know that is how humanity winds up. Silver and gold and in fear of giant invisible bees!
swordznsorcery
Jul. 9th, 2011 12:57 pm (UTC)
I'd love to know why they're silver and gold. With the alien races it makes a bit more sense, but why would humans suddenly turn that way?!

Your icon there made me smile, as I recognised the scene immediately. I love that bit!

ladygretchen
Jul. 9th, 2011 04:18 pm (UTC)
That's an even better question, did something happen to our bloodstream or some kind of radiation poisoning to turn our skin pigment over?? lol. Hey, can I steal that gif for my website? I have a folder of gifs for Voyagers on there. I completely forgot that gif worth scene. :D

http://www.voyagersguidebook.net/apps/photos/album?albumid=6888482
swordznsorcery
Jul. 9th, 2011 05:40 pm (UTC)
Must be living on a diet of Mercury, I think!

Sure, feel free to use the gif. You've got loads! I've not seen that gallery before.
ladygretchen
Jul. 9th, 2011 07:27 pm (UTC)
LOL. Mercury diet. I made most of those, they aren't very good, I wound up just using screencaps I already had so there are big jumps in the action. haha.
( 7 fierce growls — Growl fiercely )

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