THE TIME TUNNEL. 20th Century Fox Television, 2006. Unaired pilot. David Conrad, Andrea Roth, Max Baker, Bob Koherr, Tawny Cypress. Written by Rand Ravich, based on the original series created by Irwin Allen. Director: Todd Holland.

   The first and only season of the original Time Tunnel series was on ABC during the 1966-1967 season. I was not a fan. I made sure I was on hand for the first episode, though, and I was so disappointed after seeing it that I never watched it again. There were so many holes in the plot that I found what was on the air next to worthless. That’s what growing up reading Robert A. Heinlein, Isaac Asimov and Arthur C. Clarke will do to you.

   The earlier series is out on DVD, though, and this unaired pilot that came along some four decades later is one of the bonuses to be found on the final disc. (If I’m in error about this later show never being telecast, please let me know.)

   It’s actually quite good. If it had picked up as a series, and I’d watched this as the first episode, I’d have watched more, there’s no doubt about it. The tunnel itself is a lot spiffier, of course, but so is the story line, which considers the possibility — if not likelihood — that changing things in the past is more than likely to change the way the present looks now, with no one being aware of it.

   Except for the scientists and technicians who were working underground when a “time storm” was accidentally created. They are also aware of “ripples” in time that mean something has happened to change history as they know it. Their job: to go back to the past to correct it.

   It turns out that a young monk with the bubonic plague has slipped far into his future, 1944 and Germany during World War II. A team from their present has to go back and solve the problem, and quickly. During this highly secret operation, one of the members meets his own grandfather, who is known to have died that day. Can he save him? Or, should he save him?

   The cast consists of a bunch of actors unknown to me, but they do just fine. Even better is the script, which I think does about as good as it’s possible to outline the problems of time-related paradoxes as could be done in less than 50 minutes of running time.