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First Look: VCI's "One Step Beyond" Collection, Volume 1 DVD


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#1 of 17 BillDP

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Posted August 09 2003 - 12:34 AM

I happily received my 2-disc set of VCI's "One Step Beyond" Collection, Volume 1 in the mail today and after viewing 2 of the 12 episodes in the set, I can say without a doubt, as a huge fan of the show, that I am extremely happy and very glad I made the purchase.

The two episodes I watched were "Doomsday" and "The Inheritance". Both episodes were complete and uncut and including John Newland's "invitation" to join him for next weeks show, both episodes ran almost 25 and a half minutes. The quality was very good in the V/A department, at least compared to episodes of the show that I have watched on TV and VHS throughout the years. At least with these two episodes, there were no abrupt cuts or fadeouts. Gone were the skips and jumps that plagued all those VHS tapes that Movies Unlimited sold as well as others in previous releases. No more problems with lost dialogue because of the skipping and I hardly noticed any real dirt or those annoying lines that ran through most of the shows in the past. There was a real, general clarity to the episodes, particularly in the opening title sequence. Audio was more than adequate too. Easy to hear and very audible. I don't think VCI did any "real" remastering but IMHO, something was done to make the episodes look like they do in this set.

If your a fan of the show or you want to discover it for the first time or rediscover it again, I can't recommend this set highly enough. I think you'll be really pleased. Although I have only watched two of the episodes, I know I was. If enough true "OSB" fans and those generally curious about the show buy the set, there is no doubt a second installment will soon follow.
Bill

#2 of 17 David Lambert

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Posted August 10 2003 - 01:00 AM

Thanks for the mini-review. I've been looking for this at the B&M's, haven't spotted it, so I'll be heading to my favorite e-tailer for it soon.
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#3 of 17 Henry Gale

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Posted August 10 2003 - 01:21 AM

Thanks Bill....I've got to have this collection.
"I was born to ramble, born to rove
Some men are searchin for the Holy Grail
But there ain't nothin sweeter 
Than riden' the rails."
-Tom Waits-

#4 of 17 BillDP

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Posted August 10 2003 - 02:32 AM

Your welcome guys. A little more information for you. I just watched two more episodes, "Tidal Wave" and "Delia" and I have mixed feelings about those two. In the case of "Tidal Wave", I was extremely happy that the episode was complete and uncut. I've seen this episode numerous times but this was the first time I saw it complete. Again, there were no skips or jumps or anything to make for lost dialogue. Generally speaking, dirt, scratches and lines were also gone and the audio was quite good. The downside was that the episode was very dark and soft. The softness was no big deal but the darkness made certain scenes tough to watch. Again, I'll put up with it just to be able to have a complete episode.

As for "Delia", it was pretty much like "Tidal Wave" but unfortunately, very dark. In scanning the episodes from both disc's, it appears these two stories are the most affected by darkness. Otherwise, at first glance, the others look fine and a couple of the episodes even have the original "Alcoa Presents" opening. Posted Image
Bill

#5 of 17 todd s

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Posted August 10 2003 - 05:36 AM

I had spoken to a rep at VCI. She said a second volume should be out by the end of the year. But, past that she didn't know.
Bring back John Doe! Or at least resolve the cliff-hanger with a 2hr movie or as an extra on a dvd release.

#6 of 17 BillDP

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Posted August 10 2003 - 05:46 AM

Well, I'm quite pleased that a second volume will be coming out. I'll keep my fingers crossed for anything beyond that. Thanks very much for the information.
Bill

#7 of 17 Dane Marvin

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Posted August 10 2003 - 07:10 AM

BillDP, would you recommend this series to a diehard Twilight Zone fan who wasn't quite as impressed with The Outer Limits? I liked the acting and production in The Outer Limits just fine, but I prefer the irony and overall "creepiness" of the Twilight Zone to the content of The Outer Limits, which seemed to me to be straight-up monster, alien, science gone wrong, etc. type stories.

#8 of 17 BillDP

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Posted August 10 2003 - 08:30 AM

That's a pretty hard question to answer Dane. Mostly because I'm a little biased about "One Step Beyond" as it's without a doubt my favorite "supernatural" based show. I've also found out that die hard "Twilight Zone" fans tend to "look down" on "OSB" and not enjoy it nearly as much as they do Serling's classic and that is probbaly due to "OSB's" low budget and studio bound "locations". Two things that I find add to the charm of the show. Also, "TZ" is a fantasy-based ficticious show where "OSB" is supposedly based on actual events of the paranormal. So, both shows are different beasts.

Anyway, to make a long story short, I'd say that if you enjoy something creepy or spooky with loads of atmosphere then you will undoubtedly enjoy the show. I compare "OSB" more with Boris Karloff's "Thriller" then I do "TZ". Perhaps it might be best for you to try out one of the cheaper DVD's or VHS's of "OSB" first before you take the plunge with VCI's set.
Bill

#9 of 17 Tony Richards

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Posted August 11 2003 - 03:06 AM

I thought that I had seen somewhere that this set is the "second season" of the show? Is that the case? If so, were there only 12 episodes in that season? Based on your posting, Bill, I'm sure I'll make the purchase. I have a disc that I bought a couple of years back, that I think had four episodes on it...I'll have to check the rack and see. Thanks for the info!

#10 of 17 David Lambert

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Posted August 11 2003 - 06:00 AM

Tony, try looking here and here to answer your question.
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#11 of 17 Chris Lockwood

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Posted August 11 2003 - 06:07 AM

Is this shown in reruns anywhere? Wonder why I never heard of it.

#12 of 17 Rex Bachmann

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Posted August 11 2003 - 08:23 AM

Dane Marvin wrote (post #7):

Quote:
. . .would you recommend this series to a diehard Twilight Zone fan who wasn't quite as impressed with The Outer Limits? I liked the acting and production in The Outer Limits just fine, but I prefer the irony and overall "creepiness" of the Twilight Zone to the content of The Outer Limits


BillDP wrote (post #8):

Quote:
That's a pretty hard question to answer Dane. Mostly because I'm a little biased about "One Step Beyond" as it's without a doubt my favorite "supernatural" based show. I've also found out that die hard "Twilight Zone" fans tend to "look down" on "OSB" and not enjoy it nearly as much as they do Serling's classic and that is probbaly due to "OSB's" low budget and studio bound "locations". Two things that I find add to the charm of the show. Also, "TZ" is a fantasy-based ficticious show where "OSB" is supposedly based on actual events of the paranormal. So, both shows are different beasts.

Anyway, to make a long story short, I'd say that if you enjoy something creepy or spooky with loads of atmosphere then you will undoubtedly enjoy the show.

I saw this show in syndication in my area in the late 1980s, and I would have to say, if one is a real "die-hard" TZ fan, as BillDP says, one mightn't like it. It was, indeed, very studio-bound and had a dreary and truly oppressive, rather than "creepy", feel to it. It's more about paranormal investigation than about the supernatural. In my opinion, its stories seldom, if ever, delivered. It's also very "'40s/'50s-romantic" (typified by its, to my ear, overwrought theme music), if you know what I mean. (Think Loretta Young Theater here.) It's definitely for a more restricted audience.

It is, I think, nevertheless worth the risk to buy the first set to see whether you like this sort of thing. If you have a local public or, especially, a university library handy, you might want to see if you can get your hands on An Analytical Guide to Television's One Step Beyond, 1959-1961, by John Kenneth Muir (Jefferson, N.C. : McFarland, 2001), which summarizes and analyzes every episode, as well as the show as a whole.

If I saw this today, I might change my mind about it; but, frankly, it just wasn't to my taste at all.

Sorry to be so negative.

"Delenda est . . . . "

 


#13 of 17 BillDP

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Posted August 11 2003 - 12:22 PM

Rex - Your not being negative. I don't think the show is for everybody and I'm not sure how something like "OSB" would play to today's audience as opposed to say, baby-boomers or those who watched it in the 60's and 70's. A lot of fans of the show are probably around my age(41) and remember seeing it as youngsters and getting the crap scared out of them. However, when I watched "The Death Waltz" episode this past weekend, I admit to still getting the goosebumps. I'll have to respectfully disagree with you about it's stories not delivering. If one is expecting, say, a "TZ" type "twist" ending then they might be disappointed. However, more times then not the show comes through and IMHO one of the strongest points of the series is it's writing and storytelling, combined with the chilling Harry Lubin score. Posted ImageI think oppresive might be a correct description od certain episodes such as "Vanishing Point" but more the feeling of "dread" and "spookiness" is the central underlying factor for me. The show also has it's light moments as in "The Lovers" and like almost any anthology series, it runs the gamut. I have John Kenneth Muir's book and it's just a fantastic read.

Chris - I don't know where the series is running in syndication these days but I think a public station in Long Island, NY still runs episodes once in a while. I believe the station is WLIW.

Tony - These are second season episodes, for the most part, but in reality, "Tidal Wave" actually kicked off season 3. "Anniversary Of A Murder" was also a season 3 episode, as is "To Know The End". In all there were 96 half-hour episodes of the show.

I watched a couple more episodes from the set and with the latest two, I'm again very pleased. Both "The Clown" and "House Of The Dead" were complete and uncut and in pretty good shape. Slightly dark but nowhere near as dark as "Tidal Wave" and "Delia". No real apparent damage to either print and no skips, jumps or black lines. Half-way through the set and I continue to be impressed.
Bill

#14 of 17 BillDP

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Posted August 17 2003 - 10:33 AM

Finally got around to watching another episode from the VCI set. After watching the very spooky "Anniversary Of A Murder", it's now 7 down ad 5 to go. With this episode however, I was a little disappointed. Yes, it was complete and uncut but of the 7 I have now seen, this one suffers from very evident print damage and an annoying skip or jump in the middle of some dialogue. Definitely the worst looking of the set so far which is unfortunate as it is such a creepy episode.
Bill

#15 of 17 Steve Phillips

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Posted August 18 2003 - 06:41 AM

They still run episodes of this on UHF low power stations, which are often not carried by cable systems.

Didn't they do a new version of this with the same host in the late 70s? "Next Step Beyond" or something like that?

#16 of 17 BillDP

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Posted August 18 2003 - 10:00 AM

"Didn't they do a new version of this with the same host in the late 70s? "Next Step Beyond" or something like that?"


Yes sir. "The Next Step Beyond" aired in syndication during the 1978-79 season and ran a total of 25 episodes. The series was hosted by a much grayer John Newland and was shot on video and 16MM in color. The series did not prove to be as successful as the original which was probably due to the fact that the new series was basically a rehashing of the stories done on "OSB".
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#17 of 17 BillDP

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Posted August 24 2003 - 01:06 PM

Watched another couple of episodes from the VCI set today. I got to see "The Explorer" and "Ordeal On Locust Street". In all, I was pleased enough with both episodes. "The Explorer" didn't have any noticeable lines or scratches and there were again, no skips, jumps or cuts. Audio was pretty good also. The video was a bit soft but it was uncut and ran 25 and a half minutes so that's good enough for me.

"Ordeal On Locust Street" was ok in that it had no lines or real dirt and no skips and cuts. Video was soft and the audio was a bit too low. Still, the overall presentation was better then on any VHS tape I've seen and it was complete.
Bill





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