The Time Tunnel (2002)
This unaired pilot was not picked up because Fox went with ‘Firefly’ instead of this reboot of the 1966 series. Doug Phillips (David Conrad of ‘Snow White: A Tale of Terror’, ‘Roswell’, ‘Ghost Whisperer’ and ‘Agents of SHIELD’) is a DOE employee, former Marine and an expert on the 1944 Battle of Hurtgen Forest. This comes in useful when a failed cold fusion experiment creates a time storm that changes the time line. According to the cheesy opening credits in this new timeline there is no New Jersey, the USSR made it to the moon first and the ending of WWII is ambiguous.
Doug is creepy and has antagonising arrogance. He doesn’t know the time line changed and that green shouldn’t mean stop and red shouldn’t mean go. He has a whiny wife and bratty kids. Some people have noticed the geo-social shifts of the time line change but he hasn’t. Ridiculously bad dialogue is uttered. The time tunnel is only open for 4 hours at a time. Everyone is smug, unlikable, bland and boring.
Doug is called in by an old friend to work alongside Toni Newman to fix things. His old friend and Toni are two of only a handful of people who recall the world as it was. He is told to go down the time tunnel in 2006 and get someone from 1546 out of 1944. The DOE has a universal translator. Doug and co time travel via cheesy sfx. This failed pilot has a perpetually stupid mood and is not clinical or stubbornly realistic. It is acted so gravely it is unwatchable and ponderous.
Phillips meets his grandfather. Toni says her three brothers and two sisters vanished when the time line changed and only she remembers them. This was so very bad and David Conrad’s cold silent stare doesn’t warm him to viewers. There is a final twist that sets up over arching plots that never came to be.
“What is the 240?”
“Paranoid crazy people.”
“A tear in time, see?”
“Changes in the world above.”
“Only ones who remember how the world used to be.”
“Think of us as FEMA.”
“Louis put sand in the vcr.”
“I will not puke. I will not puke.”
“They just never were.”
Taylor stares blankly and has lost the baby. Marisol’s prying pays off. Odessa returns. Zoila’s malicious meddling catches up to her at last. Sam repudiates Carmen. The Powells disproportionate divorce battle ends as they decide to reunite and get Philippe. Carmen sees no problem with agreeing to a fake marriage with AJ at the behest of his sycophants. Carmen is trash and has no issue with temptation. Philippe’s plotting goes disastrously awry. Peri finds out about the affair. Marisol’s inquisitive quest ends with no consequences for her. Her big ploy goes wrong but ‘justice’ is readdressed by the Powells. Rosie is arrested by ICE. This was okay.
“The house is filthy.”
“If he wanted to help poor people why couldn’t he just go to Burbank?”
“I want that.”
“It will affect the quality of gifts we will receive.”
“It is never wrong to punish evil.”
“And then he jumped out the window.”
What if your future was the past?
It is 1945 and nurse Claire (played by some model, actress, whatever) is reunited with her husband Frank Randall (Tobias Menzies) and they head off to Scotland. There are nice opening credits and this is based on the Diana Gabaldon book series. There are robust voiceovers that dump exposition. There are hints of paganism and the supernatural. Frank and Claire are trying to recapture the potency of their marriage but despite the exhortatory efforts - it isn’t working. There is a lot of shagging.
Druids dance among standing stones and then Claire touches a stone and travels back to 1743 where Frank’s ancestor Black Jack Randall (Tobias again) beats her up. Claire is rescued by dirty lout Highlanders who are manly men. She meets Jamie and so I’m supposed to empathise with some woman who cheats on her husband? This was dull and inefficient. Claire is a concerted Mary-Sue. Jamie and his gang spout unsubtitled Gaelic. I don’t care for the ideological Scots and feel profound negative sentiment for this show. It was stagnant.
“Tomorrow would prove less important than yesterday.”
Martin is vilified and people are ungenerous. Martin has no analytical rigour and fails to notice that his wife and boss have been lying to him for 10 years. Crystal has scrutinous condescension and people act with transparent idiocy. This delimits enjoyment. There is a conspiracy and Martin should be in a vest surrounded by angry Russian gangsters. Hellfire missiles are a plot point. I don’t care what is going on or why. This sucked hard.
“Martin get himself in trouble again?”
“Do I need to answer that?”
“Following the orders that no-one gave.”
“I just have to endure.”