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In almost all time travel stories, there are three plot devices which
are always used:
1) It is very difficult, or altogether impossible, for the time traveler(s) to return to their present time.
2) The SLIGHTEST CHANGE in history, even under the best intentions, would be disastrous. (Of course, this rule is violated constantly. Dr. Brown was hypocritical about it in "Back to the Future Part 2," changing future history when it benefited Marty...yet refusing to tell Marty about other errors that would occur in Part 3. An even worse example was "Quantum Leap," a show in which the entire premise was the alteration of history.)
3) There MUST be an episode about the Titanic, especially when based on Point #2. (Exception: Quantum Leap, which limited the plot to no earlier than 1953.) In both "Voyagers" and "Time Tunnel," the hero tries to warn of impending doom.
Like most episodes, this was an excellent story, made better by an intriguing role-reversal. (This requires the viewer to actually get into the plotting and characters, by the way.) Whereas Phineas Bogg is usually kind of stubborn and bull-headed, and Jeffrey Jones usually provides sage wisdom, this time it's the other way around. If Bogg ever learned one thing, it's that you NEVER mess with history, even if your intentions are GOOD. Bogg was right; Jeffrey was wrong.
Their mission was actually to recover the Mona Lisa painting, NOT to save lives.
This episode is very much like the classic Star Trek story, "The City on the Edge of Forever." Spock coldly informs Captain Kirk that, in order to restore history, "Edith Keeler MUST die." Bogg tells Jeffrey more or less the same thing, made all the more ominous by the fact that he had no way of knowing the consequences of SAVING the Titanic passengers.
I'm surprised nobody else picked up on that.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This cheesy Doctor Who ripoff would air Sunday nights. When I heard the
characters were going to appear on the Titanic, I made sure I watched
No idea why. Up to this time, about all I had seen of the Titanic was the 1979 movie, SOS Titanic, with David Janssen and Cloris Leachman.
So I watched the episode. Really hadn't watched much of the show itself.
One problem I immediately saw was Meeno Peluce's horrible way of using history to his advantage. And he would give Bogg (Jon Hexum) this annoying little lectures about where they were.
Suddenly a Peluce closeup.
"The Titanic will hit an iceberg on April 14, 1912 and sink, taking approximately 1500 people to their deaths." "Voyagers" would venture to two different times. The other one in this episode was Louis Pasteur.
At the Titanic, we would get Sam Chews as J. Bruce Ismay and Finnoula Flanagan as Molly Brown.
Hey, she's really Irish! Someone did something right.
Unfortunately the show goes with the myth that Ismay was the man who wore a dress to enter a lifeboat, and they had him in full garb.
It was not Ismay who did this, it was steerage passenger Daniel Buckley, as portrayed in SOS Titanic, and he only wrapped a shawl over his head.
Ismay, depending on how you wish to look at it, entered a lifeboat as a passenger, which he was entitled to do.
As the Titanic board ruled, had Ismay gone down with the ship, the accusation would have been that he did so to escape any investigation. So it was a no-win situation for him.
But I guess the worst part for me, aside from the Ismay inaccuracy, was Peluce calling Captain Smith a fool for not stopping or slowing down the ship. They had no reason to believe him.
Later, after the ship is doomed, the Captain apologizes to Peluce.
Given the chance, definitely check out the first episode of the mid-1960s Time Tunnel show with James Darrin and Robert Colbert, and starring a wonderful Michael Rennie as The Captain.
Rennie definitely gives about the best turn to a tragic figure in history dealing with his fate.
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