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Wars, and how to win them

What is it about travelling in time that leads to a compulsion to wear silly hats? Doug and Tony's willingness to play with the dressing up box never wanes, but you do have to wonder sometimes what leads them to agree to those hats.

So, tumbling out of the Alamo, Doug and Tony wind up in a burning hot desert. All appears lost, when out of the distance ride a gang of horsemen. Why does Doug insist on saying hello to people? It's the time tunnel. It's not interested in introducing them to anybody nice. This time is no exception, as the horsemen ride up and promptly clobber Doug; and when Tony objects, open fire. Tony collapses with a head wound, and Doug is carried off to the tent of a local warlord. And the opening credits haven't even run yet. Left behind in the desert, Tony roasts quietly, until a passing Rudyard Kipling picks him up and takes him to a British fort. Refused help in rescuing Doug, Tony dresses up as a soldier and sneaks off with Kipling to do it himself. Since this results in Kipling being captured as well, this is not altogether successful. Luckily Doug manages to free himself, and is soon reunited with Tony. Eager to free Kipling, the pair then tag along with a local regiment to see if they can defeat the evil warlord before he can get any more evil. And there's a battle and lots of stock footage, and the warlord meets his end.

With the battle over, the boys get picked up by the tunnel again, and are this time transported to France in 1944. Bombs explode and gunfire rattles, and cars roar left, right and centre. Jolly good. Not so jolly good for Doug and Tony though, as they get arrested by the Gestapo and hauled off for questioning. A mad Nazi scientist decides that he wants to brainwash Doug, so Tony is manipulated into escaping, in order to allow Doug the chance to hunt him down. This could have been a fabulous storyline, and the bits of it that we get are pretty good. Sadly, because of the habit of jumping back to 1968 every five minutes, in order to show us a gang of scientists worrying about how helpless they are to do anything, there isn't actually any time for the brainwashing plot to go anywhere. It's no sooner started than it's over, which is a terrible shame. And then we're off again, just in time to prevent Doug and Tony from becoming collateral damage on D-Day. To land, this time, in 1215.

You have to love the time tunnel at the start of this episode. Having decided that it's where Tony is going to end up anyway, it cuts out the middle man and lands him straight in a dungeon. An empty, but nonetheless locked, dungeon. Nearby, Doug arrives behind a curtain, and overhears the Earl of Huntingdon demanding that King John sign the Magna Carta. He (and the earl) then promptly get arrested and hauled off to the dungeon, where Tony (and his stuntman) once again demonstrate the amazing fencing capabilities of the average scientist. Escaping from the dungeon, they are forced to leave Huntingdon behind, but soon meet up with his old outlaw gang in the nearby forest. Led by Little John, who has for some reason become an appalling comedy Scotsman for the duration of the episode, they do battle against the kings' soldiers, and ensure that the Magna Carta gets signed after all. Poor King John. He wasn't really all that bad, you know.

And then we're off again, back into the tunnel and away to the Pacific, where Japanese soldiers lurk...

For it is law that all TV shows set in the desert must feature a picture of the sun. Just in case somebody somewhere doesn't realise that deserts can be quite warm.

Riders come. Given what sent them here, Tony correctly surmises that the newcomers "don't look too friendly."

And surprise surprise...

A not very friendly horseman.

Doug is carried off, and Tony is shot and left for dead.

Rudyard Kipling.

"Can you ride?"

Don't be silly, of course he can. He's a Physicist.

Doug, meanwhile, is meeting with the local evil warlord.

This goes much the same way as meetings on this show usually do, and soon we're back with the threats and the bondage.

Elsewhere, Tony and his new best friend try to persuade the commander of the local British garrison that they must rescue Doug.

He's not interested, but this time Tony has chosen his new sidekick wisely. Kipling brings gifts.

A new dress up kit!

Back at the camp of the evil warlord, Doug is rescued by an old man. Sadly they spend so long talking about how little time there is to waste, that the guards come back before they can actually get anywhere.


Still, Doug gets away eventually, and is reunited with Tony. Kipling, however, has managed to get himself captured instead, so we're roughly back where we started.

One of the local branches of the British army offers Doug and Tony the chance to join his expedition, and perhaps get Kipling back.

It's nice, isn't it, how you can just join in with an army raid when you feel like it. They probably don't let you do that now.

In their latest disguise, Doug and Tony blend in seamlessly with the natives. Ish.


More fighting!

Kipling is saved, and Tony flirts shamelessly bids farewell to his new friend, before it's time to leave once again.

This time we're somewhere at night.

Something blows up. The Resistance are about their business, and Doug and Tony get arrested by the Gestapo.

Who threaten them with torture unless they share lots of secrets they don't have.

Doug and Tony realise that they may, for a change, be in quite a bit of trouble.

Fortunately, James Darren has fought Nazis before, and knows what to do.

Actually he died in The Guns Of Navarone, didn't he. Still, hopefully he's learnt from that mistake.

Doug is whisked off for a spot of brainwashing.

Whilst Tony is picked up by the Resistance.


More boom! You're allowed to blow stuff up when you're in the Resistance. Presumably this helps to make up for all the maiming and torture if you get captured.

Brain thoroughly washed, Doug joins the Nazis.

An informant tells him where to find the Resistance, and he pulls a gun on Tony.

Who is a little alarmed.

Fortunately Tony manages to knock the gun out of Doug's hand.

So Doug pulls a knife instead. Then the Resistance turn up and spoil the fun.

It's a shame this sequence was cut so short. Given the brainwashing, I'm reminded of the Champions episode "Autokill", when Richard was brainwashed into wanting to kill Craig. What would have happened had Doug and Tony fought properly? It could have been awesome. Instead Tony runs away, with Doug on his trail.

Tony shoots at a Nazi uniform.

Oops. Fortunately it's the law that all heroes shot in the head will suffer only scalp wounds.

Tony fetches a local doctor, just in case he's skilled in fixing brainwashing victims. The doctor announces that only the antidote can help. There's an antidote to brainwashing? Couldn't somebody have told John Black that thirty years ago? It would have saved a lot of trouble.

Although I'm very glad they didn't, obviously.

Tony rounds up the Nazi scientist who did the brainwashing, somehow knowing who he is, despite never having met him before.

The scientist adminsters the antidote.

And Doug wakes up just in time to see the dawn of D-Day.

He seems inordinately happy about that, but I can't help thinking that he really ought to get out of that uniform.

Still, we're off again anyway, and Doug gets himself captured almost immediately, alongside the Earl of Huntingdon.

And is soon in a dungeon, being threatened with a giant stick of incense.

Fortunately Tony is on hand, with a sword.

I rather like this escape attempt. Putting hot coals around the window bars, they use bellows to heat everything up, in an effort to soften the iron.

I'm sure that it's theoretically sound, but I do have my doubts that it would work in less than ten seconds.

Doug and Tony plan their next move, hoping to find help for Huntingdon.

A pointless story detour. It's a glowing plot device, which, if Doug and Tony touch it, will transport them straight home. Ditto for anything else that touches it, presumably. It's blasted off into the past by the folks back at HQ, where it remains, uselessly, for the rest of the episode.

Meanwhile, having met some outlaws, Tony decides to fight one with a quarterstaff. Because he can do that as well, obviously.

Doug's not allowed to play, though.

Tony doesn't win, but the outlaws like him, and introduce themselves as Little John and Friar Tuck. And some other people.

Back at the outlaws' camp, Tony is none too sure about this latest outfit. There's not much time to think about it though, for soldiers soon attack.

Sportingly, Little John decides to stand still and wait to be shot.

Unless that's the smallest arrow ever, there must be inches of the thing embedded in his chest. Nonetheless he treats it as a minor inconvenience. Well, he is Little John.

Lest we forget his plight, the Earl of Huntingdon takes a moment to look stoic.

Whilst the others take Little John to an abbey run by an evil abbess.

An evil abbess.

Doug reveals that he's a medical doctor on top of everything else, and sets about curing Little John.

Nothing much. Just celebrating the outfit.

Doug also turns out to be a talented chemist, able to identify any known chemical just by its smell. Or, occasionally, taste. Hopefully he knows from the smell which ones are safe to taste.

Tuck and Tony go to rescue Huntingdon.

I feel rather sorry for that guard. That's twice Tony's beaten him up in less than an hour.

Elsewhere, as soldiers approach the abbey, Doug puts his chemistry skills to good use, and introduces the Middle Ages to chemical warfare.

Ah yes. Apparently Tony's skilled in archery as well. Actually, no he isn't. None of them are. Quite obviously not a single one of these people has the slightest idea what to do with a bow, and none of them draws the string back even a little bit before letting go. It's hysterical. Still, they all seem to be having a whale of a time playing outlaw, so I shan't argue.

A castle at night.

Doug has built a smoke bomb for Huntingdon to fire into the castle, so they can gain entry and snatch King John. Sadly Huntingdon's archery skills are even worse than the others, so goodness knows how he managed all those years as an outlaw.

Tony beats up that same poor guard again.

Doug and Tony find the glowing plot device. It does nothing. Okay then.

King John signs the Magna Carta, and growls at the assembled company in time honoured evil fashion. Doug and Tony can't stay to enjoy the celebrations though, as they must be on their way again, this time to a place where Japanese soldiers lurk in the undergrowth.

Next on The Time Tunnel, things get psychological. Sort of. Also, aliens invade and things get ghostly. It's that difficult halfway point, I'm afraid. You have to cut it some slack.


( 7 fierce growls — Growl fiercely )
Jun. 26th, 2011 02:29 pm (UTC)
I'm beginning to think that not only was James Pariott inspired by Peabody and Sherman cartoons, he (and the writers) were madly watching the time tunnel to take every plot they ever conceived and twist it and use it in Voyagers!. Except unlike the control room in this series, Voyagers Headquarters obviously paid little attention to anyone they have out in the field and don't even try and help them, except to drag them back to have unfair trials, and the council somehow did not know that their own HQ caused Bogg's omni malfunction to find Jeffrey because he was meant to be a Voyager in the first place. Sigh.

Very funny posts! I'm not crazy about Tony's blow dried high hair, I like the flatter style.
Jun. 26th, 2011 02:54 pm (UTC)
Yes, the "Voyagers!" parallels are quite noticeable! They cover a lot of similar plotlines; although of course "Voyagers!" tended to visit two different eras in each episode, which mixed things up a little. There's been no Romans yet (although we did have those Ancient Greeks at Troy), but other than that they've been to pretty much all the same places. I wonder if they've ever met! ;)

Any time travel show is probably doomed to repeat the plotlines of its predecessors, since there are certain eras that writers are bound to want to cover, but even ignoring that, there are still parallels. The rough landings upon arrival, for instance, and their amazing ability to always transfer back to their normal clothes at the end of an adventure!

Tony's a little bigger than Jeffrey, though. ;)
Jun. 26th, 2011 03:47 pm (UTC)
Yeah, you're definitely right about the parallels with time travel shows. Writers love the 'go to' eras, which somehow must always include Lincoln, Titanic, Romans, Cowboys & Indians, and Sherwood Forrest! haha. They probably ran past each other on the Titanic, along with Dr. Who and the Time Bandits, kids from the magic tree house, some random guy from a twilight zone episode, A character from Star Trek Voyager, the hero of the Jack Finney Time and Again novels…
As you once hilarious said, no wonder the poor boat sank!

Quantum Leap was rather different, but then again, they 'stole' every popular movie plot known to man for their stories…

Dare I say Tony's hair has been looking bigger than Jeffrey too? ;D But if he's the 'Jeffrey' of the team, he must have big hair. Jeffrey just has curls.
Jun. 26th, 2011 05:50 pm (UTC)
Tony's just the Jeffrey because he's smaller and younger. They both qualify as Jeffrey really, as they both have such spectacular stores of knowledge. I don't want to think what Doug would look like with big hair, though!

World War II is another one that they all cover, especially Pearl Harbour with the American shows. "The Time Tunnel" and "Voyagers" both did that.
Jun. 27th, 2011 03:33 pm (UTC)
TW - different versions and date announced
Did you hear that the U.K. and U.S. are getting different versions?

Btw, Den of Geek says that it'll start airing in the U.K. on Thursday, July 14.
Jun. 27th, 2011 04:08 pm (UTC)
Re: TW - different versions and date announced
Yeah, although we don't know the real truth of that yet. Looks like the American version will have naked!Barrowman and the British version will have extra jokes. Personally I can well live without naked!Barrowman, but don't want to have to wait an extra week to see the show.

I think they're doing this to make me feel better about downloading it, as I'll have to watch it again on the BBC to see what's different. ;)

Totally sucky idea, either way.
Jun. 27th, 2011 04:14 pm (UTC)
Re: TW - different versions and date announced
Now, see, I'd've thought that would be the other way around, uncensored sex scenes on U.K. episodes and more gore/violence on the U.S. one.

Apparently only the U.S. and U.K. count, as I haven't seen any mention of what version the rest of the world is getting (you know, those little countries like Canada, Australia...).

Hope you'll enjoy both versions and that you'll post (or provide links to posts) about the different cuts.
( 7 fierce growls — Growl fiercely )

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