Cheesy TV

Thrifty souls that we are, my husband and I recently dropped our cable subscription, opting instead for free internet TV.  With a laptop hooked up to our television and a Playstation 3, plus the likes of Netflix, Hulu, and PlayOn at our fingertips, we’ve been amazed at the variety of things available to watch, from movies and current first-run TV (we’re big “24” fans) to cheesy shows from our childhood like this one:

Gotta love those groovy ’60s graphics.

The Time Tunnel is a real howler, with ridiculously low-budget sets and special effects, plots with more holes than Swiss cheese, and buckets of earnest over-acting.  It’s gloriously fun.

Each episode sends Tony and Doug, our two heroes, hurtling to a new destination in time.  Somehow, they always manage to land right in the thick of things, whether it’s the Titanic on the night it hits the iceberg, the eruption of Krakatoa, or the Battle of Gettysburg, to name just a few.  And somehow, though the scientists back at mission control are unable to retrieve their colleagues, at the end of each show they manage to rescue them just in the nick of time and send them spinning on to new adventures.  Lots of somersaults are involved in this process, but despite whatever explosions, altercations, or upheavals they’ve just been engaged in, the pair emerge at each new destination looking remarkably fresh, with hairdos unmussed and dapper outfits (hip avocado green turtleneck for Tony; suit and tie for Doug) unsullied.  Impressive.

Spotting the frequent anachronisms is one of our favorite pastimes– for instance, who knew that ancient Jericho used plastic ’60s beads for room dividers?

Last night we watched “Chase Through Time,” a wonderfully goofy episode featuring a young Robert Duvall as a bad guy bent on destroying the tunnel.  At one point, our heroes catch up with him a million years in the future, where Duvall chews up the scenery with a silver colander on his head.

TV doesn’t get much better than this.

4 thoughts on “Cheesy TV”

  1. All of the Irwin Allen produced 1960s SF tv series had commendably strong starts but ultimately deteriorated into far-fetched hopelessly juvenile fantasies which spelled doom for these shows in the (adult) audience television ratings resulting in their respective (predictable) cancellations.

    THE TIME TUNNEL (ABC 1966-67) in particular evinced this (substantial) drop in quality within its very first year while the other three Irwin Allen efforts had at least one unblemished solid season to their credit (in the case of VOYAGE TO THE BOTTOM OF THE SEA it had two well done seasons).

    It is unfortunate because today these Irwin Allen produced 1960s SF tv series would generally be remembered and lauded as the excellent entertainment that they were in the beginning instead of outrageously silly and ineptly done misadventures that they eventually became.

    • Thanks for your thoughtful insights, Jeffrey. We are currently working our way through the Irwin Allen oeuvre — having moved on to “Lost in Space.” I guess you could say that we’re reliving our childhood!

  2. I’ll be finishing up the box set this evening. I’ve had a cold the last few days and TT has made the perfect backdrop for a fever… dozing off I miss nothing. I’m 54 and recall it in first run in 66-67, but I dont recall it having been this bad. I was a Startrek kid, even back then the Irwin Allen stuff seemed cheesy to me. The attempt at a reboot of the series in 2002 was the best portion of the box set… yet, I watched all 30 episodes. It just got worse and worse, but I couldnt take my eyes away.

    • Haha — yes, SO cheesy! We felt the same way — couldn’t take our eyes away no matter how terrible the episodes grew! 😉

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