This weekend’s premiere of Season 6 of Doctor Who seems as good a time — get it, time? — as any to discuss the question that’s been on all our minds: What is the best mode of time travel?
The options are:
– TARDIS. This is the Doctor’s preference. It stands for Time and Relative Dimension(s) in Space, and it appears as an old-fashioned police call box. One of its quirks is that it’s bigger on the inside than it is on the outside. Advantages: Travels in time AND space. Disadvantages: Can get kind of persnickety. Seems to have some short circuits. Police call boxes don’t actually blend in anywhere, so the camouflage aspect seems somewhat ineffective.
– DeLorean. This is Marty McFly’s sweet ride in “Back to the Future.” The invention of Doc Brown, the vehicle’s time displacement is powered by nuclear fission. Upside: So awesome. Downside: Requires plutonium. Might anger Libyan terrorists. Might shut down at inopportune moment, requiring a rendezvous at just the moment lightning strikes the Clock Tower.
– Legion Time Bubble. The method preferred by Superman’s 30th Century pals, the Legion of Superheroes. The Time Bubble can carry a small group of people anywhere in time and space. Upside: Dude! It’s a bubble! Downside: Must be prepared to cope with Brainiac 5′s smug attitude when he fixes the darn thing.
– Phone booth. Bill and Ted use this device during their excellent adventures through time. Upside: Can help you gather personages from history to help you pass your final history exam. Downside: Dude. It’s a phone booth. These days, you’d need a time machine just to find one.
– Cosmic treadmill. This is a device used by the Flash to travel through time (or, often, to other dimensions). Upside: Great exercise! Downside: Requires moving at super-speed.
– The ol’ use a Klingon vessel to slingshot around the sun trick. If you’re the Star Trek crew, you’ll wind up in 1980s San Francisco. Upside: Save the whales. Downside: Spock in hippie attire. Or is that actually an upside?
– Blink really hard. This is how Hiro Nakamura got from era to era during the TV show “Heroes.” Upside: Doesn’t require fancy technology. Downside: Much of the time you really have no idea where you’re going to wind up.
– I nearly forgot one of my faves — donkey wheel! This is how Benjamin Linus and the gang from “Lost” could harness the heart of the island to manipulate space and time. Upside: Who woulda thunk? A donkey wheel! Downside: Well, if you forget about locking it in place, you’ll veer wildly, uncontrollably through the decades, resulting in confusion, nosebleeds and eventually, you know… cerebral hemorrhages.
What say you? What would be your method for traveling back in time to punch Hitler, save the whales or ace a history test?