DENVER THE LAST DINOSAUR is a forgettable kids’ show about a modern day crop of tweens and the friendly, intelligent dinosaur they unwittingly hatched. While the couple of episodes I caught online show there’s definitely a time-travel element, it looks pretty minor. However the library has the full DVD set so I can fast-forward through enough of this to be certain whether it’s appendix bait or not.
The second season of YOUNG JUSTICE (2010-12), DC’s teen super-hero team series, gets in because of Impulse, here a time-traveling super-hero who comes back to the present to prevent the alien conquest of Earth. Only for the appendix (the time travel is a secondary or tertiary aspect) but definitely qualifies. In its own right, a pleasure to rewatch. “This is the end game—there was no fail-safe.”
FANTASTIC JOURNEY (1977) is another one I remember from the original run: a charter boat gets caught in the Bermuda Triangle (I have a lot of Bermuda Triangle stuff in my book) and winds up in a parallel universe where multiple different times exist in overlapping zones, so the protagonists can run into Ian McShane’s Elizabethan privateers, then a super-advanced Atlantean city in the first couple of episodes as they begin looking for a way home. This has some neat ideas—Varian, a future healer, does his medical work with ultrasonics, for instance —but the acting is very stiff and wooden (Roddy McDowell, who comes in in a couple of episodes, will help with that). Still I wouldn’t mind watching more of this some time (all rights with current holder). “We were asking the wrong question, asking where we were instead of when.”
THE BOX OF DELIGHTS (1984) adapts poet John Masefield’s novel for a story about a young boy trying to keep the title magical McGuffin out of the hands of a black magician. This is a charming fantasy but I don’t think the time-travel element is significant enough to push it beyond the appendix (and I really hate that It Was All a Dream). Patricia Quinn (of Rocky Horror Picture Show) plays a scheming witch and Patrick Troughton plays an immortal. “There is not other soul can do for me but you alone.”
OUTLAWS (1986) has a simple but workable premise—a sheriff and an outlaw gang have a shoot-out in a Native American burial site, thereby pissing off the spirits enough to send them all from 1899 into 1986. After a lot of culture shock, they go to work as a detective agency to help people out and kick the butt of the bad guys. Unfortunately given my lack of interest in Westerns, the premise or the execution would need to be way more awesome to hook me; on the plus side, this is the kind of formula show I don’t need to see every episode of to understand. “We’ve arrived at the gates of hell without a rifle or a sixgun between us!”