Starring: Ed Asner, Bob Johnson, Ben Wright, Bruce Dern, Robert Duvall, Vera Miles, Leonard Nimoy, Martin Sheen, Henry, Silva, Caroll O’Connor, Sally Kellerman
Created By: Leslie Stevens
Written By: Leslie Stevens, Joseph Stefano, Various
Studio: 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment
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There is nothing wrong with your computer monitor…do not attempt to adjust your contrast…we are controlling the transmission and, for the first time ever, “The Outer Limits” is available on Blu-ray with all 32 episodes uncut.
When someone speaks about modern day science fiction television or cinema…whether it’s “Star Trek”, “Star Wars”, “Westworld”, “X-Files”, “Dr. Who” or any number of other various fandoms…they owe the very existence of those shows to “The Outer Limits” and “The Twilight Zone”. While the shows have plenty of similarities and people often confuse episodes from being on the wrong show, “The Twilight Zone” had a pension to expand into the wacky and weird and dabbled in the supernatural, monsters episodes and psychological horror, “The Outer Limits” pulled its inspirations straight from pure science fiction literature.
Season one of “The Outer Limits” consist of 32 uncut episodes that delve into the world of Cold War-era political and nuclear hysteria, extraterrestrial hyperbole, misguided human nature, scientific experimentation and time travel to name a few topics. As with most shows from the television heyday, certain props, backgrounds and costumes look dated but the costume designers and special effects artists working on “The Outer Limits” always strived to make creative use of anything they could with their limited budget. Many set designs, special effects and filming techniques used on the show were well ahead of their time.
If you’re talking about some of the best pure science fiction ever released in any media format, there are quite a few episodes of “The Outer Limits” that still inspire to this day. “Don’t Open Till Doomsday” is a weirdly fun episode in which a young couple is given a mysterious box as a wedding gift with only a peephole in it. The curious husband peers into the box and disappears as his wife slowly loses her sanity. Others fall to the will of a creature that is hellbent on taking over our universe one couple at a time.
“The Zanti Misfits” tells the tale of an alien race that demands Earth make space for a penal colony for their criminals or face annihilation. When there is an accidental jailbreak, a war erupts between the Zanti criminals and the military with it being revealed at the end that the Zanti cannot kill their own kind and they were sent to Earth because they knew that the greatest killers in the universe, the humans, would do it for them.
One of my personal favorite episodes is titled “The Man Who Was Never Born” and follows the usual time travel predicament of killing someone in the past and preventing them from being born. The episode centers around a time-displaced astronaut who arrives on a barren wasteland of what was one Earth centuries in the future. Finding a benevolent alien creature that is willing to help him prevent the destruction of Earth, the astronaut vanishes while travelling through time, leaving the alien to figure out a way to stop the man who caused Earth’s destruction. Minus the alien aspect of the creature, it’s a sad and disheartening episode that leaves you pondering what really happened by the end of it.
The Blu-ray set also comes with an amazing 40 page booklet essay by David J. Schow that covers the show from its initial days of pre-production to the release of this Blu-Ray set. The booklet is an essential piece of history and a must-have for any fan of the show. David is an “Outer Limits” historian as well as a die-hard fan of the show so there is a lot of useful content within its pages.
As I mentioned before, “The Outer Limits”, while only lasting two seasons on its initial run, has inspired many a writer, director, artist, musician and you can still see its influences on movies like the “Back to the Future” trilogy, television shows like “Stranger Things” and in comic books like “Black Hammer”. It was one of earliest forms of science fiction television and holds an important part in the history of the genre as well as in the hearts of the millions of people that revere it. It would be difficult to say if we would have ever gotten some of the great shows and movies such as “Star Trek” and “Star Wars” had it not been for “The Outer Limits” and “The Twilight Zone”. Thankfully, we live in a world where we don’t have to ponder that thought. It would appear that THEY are still controlling the transmission.
Audio Commentaries by David J.Schow (The Outer Limits Companion), Tim Lucas (Mario Bava: All the Colors of the Dark; Video Watchblog, Craig Beam (My Life in the Glow of the Outer Limits), Dr. Reba Wissner (We Will Control All That You Hear: The Outer Limits & the Aural Imagination, Gary Gerani (Fantastic Television), Michael Hyatt (film historian) and Steve Mitchell (King Cohen: The Wild World of Filmmaker Larry Cohen).
DTS-HD Master Audio English 5.1
1920x1080p 1.33:1 Black & White
Bottom Line: Whether you’re a fan of science fiction or not, “The Outer Limits” has more than likely influenced something you’ve seen, heard or read. For some reason the show only lasted two seasons but there was enough within those 49 episodes to change the direction of science fiction and pop culture forever. The collection of season one episodes is one of the best versions of “The Outer Limits” I’ve held in my hands.
Running Time: 1632 Mins
Rating: Not Rated