austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,
austin_dern
austin_dern

Then why were you sent to me

Voyagers! is out on DVD. I don't mean the Star Trek show about the people so dense they actually thought they spent seven years in the distant unexplored Delta Quadrant running through nineteen temporal anomalies each month instead of living the whole time in a holodeck theme park in Onondaga, New York, although that happens to be out on DVD as well. I mean the early 1980s show about a staggeringly unqualified timecop who ``accidentally'' abducts a child from the early 1980s and then has to go tromping around all through the history of Earth in all times up to the last day of December 1969, setting right what once went wrong, with only the detailed historical knowledge of a ten-year-old American boy to tell what is right and wrong.

This was a show I loved a lot when I was growing up and not yet older than the kid on it. I don't know for certain whether my interests in history precede the show or not, but I'm fairly sure I was fascinated by learning what used to happen before I'd ever seen the show. It may have kindled my interest in alternate histories, at least. Certainly I did know something about a healthy number of the settings into which the characters were dropped, although you do need to really work at it not to know some of them, like What If Wernher von Braun hadn't got out of eastern Germany before the Soviets caught him, or What If Thomas Edison just couldn't figure out this whole light bulb concept, or What If Babe Ruth never played for the Yankees. There were a couple that were smaller and charming in their way, like happening to be in early 19th century Baltimore and seeing the Omni time travel machine showing things green, only to have it suddenly go red, and the kid realizing the problem was a piece of paper just fell out a man's pocket. He'd written this little poem, you see, about the recent British bombardment of the fort and it would be a shame to lose it.

I remember one episode as being set aboard the Titanic and there being something wrong, but I don't remember just what, just that sort-of grownup Phineas Bogg didn't see any reason to worry about the ship sinking on this particular trans-atlantic voyage so why go running to the Captain all panicky. And while I liked the show I did think it was a really rather trivial use to put time-travel machines to. In my defense, when you're less than ten years old is there anything really implausible about using time travel for a TV show?

Probably I shouldn't get the set, though. It would be awfully hard for the show to live up to my nostalgic fondness for it. But searching for amusing clips on YouTube remains a possibility.

Trivia: The first saccharine ban in the United States was signed by William Howard Taft in 1913. Source: Sweet and Low, Rich Cohen.

Currently Reading: The Door Into Fire, Diane Duane.

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