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The Outer Limits (Original Series) - comments?

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120 replies to this topic

#1 of 121 OFFLINE   Eric Huffstutler

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Posted January 28 2004 - 03:37 PM

I was hoping someone would buy this set for me as a Christmas present but ended up having to buy it myself. My "want list" usually ends up being titles not available in the usual B&M stores.

As a kid I use to get creeped out and loved this eerie ahead of its time series with space alien and cold war themes. The announcer intro itself was haunting.

I was totally amazed by the quality of this 40 year old TV show. Granted, some episodes have some problems but minor compared to the overall look. The closeups in "The Galaxy Being" is equal in detail/clarity with most works today! Never have I seen nor remember this show being so vivid. (never owned the VHS versions).

The down side is trying to figure out which disc is which and what side is what. The writing on the center ring is extermely small and vague. Also no extras.

What are others thoughts/comments about this offering from MGM?


#2 of 121 OFFLINE   Dane Marvin

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Posted January 28 2004 - 08:50 PM

I heard the second season offering was poorly done by MGM and even resulted in a 2-part episode being relegated to different sides of a disc (or possibly even a different disc). Seems I heard MGM had another big "WTF? Moment" on the set that I can't remember right off hand. Missing episodes? Could be. Another nitpick is it's close to the same list price (if not the same), which sucks. The first season set has 30-some episodes while the second only has 18 (and is not even complete). What gives?

I owned the first season (wish I still had it, actually) and while some episodes were great, some of them fell flat for me, and the fact that they were an hour sure didn't help. Buy the Twilight Zone first, that's my recommendation! Then if you're still in the mood for '60s sci-fi, give the season one set a shot.

The double-sided discs didn't really bother me. I don't recall ever putting one of the discs in only to discover I had chosen the wrong side for the episode I wanted to watch. Picture and sound quality were pretty good for these (better than TZ, but the series is also slightly newer). The episode guide in the liner notes is pretty handy. A little too expensive to be on my want list right now, but maybe if DDD ever has one of those 25% off sales again...

#3 of 121 OFFLINE   Dan Lassiter

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Posted January 29 2004 - 02:21 AM

I have both sets and I'm completely satisfied with them.

Granted the first season set has 32 episodes and the second only 17, but I think the first season set could have been priced higher given the amount of material they squeezed onto it. So I think that the higher price on season two evens it out a bit.

I'm just glad to have all of the episodes in a high quality format. And I have to agree with Stephen King who has said that the Outer Limits was the BEST show of its kind EVER on television!

I do not think that any episodes are missing on the season two set. It was a half season and that's what's there. The two part episode The Inheritors is contained on the second side of the second disc. It's NOT split between sides or discs as was previously mentioned.

The only thing that wasn't done was they did not include the never-aired pilot which I believe was called Please Stand By. That I believe eventually became The Galaxy Being.

The main problem with season two is the loss of several of the major players in the production of the show. The emphasis went from tighter, more imaginative stories more towards the monster stories. I beleive the term the production staff used for the monster back then was The Bear. The second season seemed to have more of The Bear. In fact, the bear on at least one episode ended up being a slightly modified bear from season one.

Despite the changes, season two had several classic episodes, one, Demon With The Glass Hand, considered by many to be the finest hour of science fiction television ever (myself included).

It's funny someone started this thread today because I had pulled the set out yesterday and planned to watch an episode before I ran out of time.

I'm watching one today instead.

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#4 of 121 OFFLINE   John Macri

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Posted January 29 2004 - 03:10 AM


Like you, I grew up watching the Outer Limits, and once they came out on DVD buying the complete series was a no brainer. I bought them on sale sometime back and am slowly watching them in order. As mentioned, the video quality is generally superb, with clear sound, certainly better then they've ever looked before. No true fan would purchase only the first season, as many of the classics are found on the second set. Taken as a whole, the entire series is a bargain on a per-episode cost basis...

#5 of 121 OFFLINE   Jack Briggs

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Posted January 29 2004 - 03:47 AM

Buy the Twilight Zone first, that's my recommendation!

But he is interested in talking about The Outer Limits.

Both sets are superb. The video quality for Season Two is superior to the work done on the first box set.

I beg to differ regarding a slip in the aesthetic quality of the second season. This, after all, is the season that gave us the brilliant "Demon with a Glass Hand" and "Soldier."

If you love this best-ever SF series, owning the two sets is a no-brainer.

#6 of 121 OFFLINE   Garrett Lundy

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Posted January 29 2004 - 04:11 AM

I was always disappointed that the Kurt Russel movie Soldier wasn't a remake of the OL episode of the same name. Mostly because I wanted to see Kurt talking to housecats.
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#7 of 121 OFFLINE   dan fritzen

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Posted January 29 2004 - 04:20 AM

I saw this series when I was a teenager in the 1990's sometime when TNT bought the rights to the show, and it is a great show that holds up well over time. I would love to watch the DVD's and see the episodes I missed.
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#8 of 121 OFFLINE   Jay E

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Posted January 29 2004 - 04:41 AM

Overall, the first season has many more quality episodes than the second. Many of the shows also benefit from a very gothic look & feel thanks to Joseph Stefano, who was not involved in the second season. I find episodes such as "The Invisibles", "Nightmare" & "Corpus Eathling" to be some of the scariest material ever presented on TV.

Also, many of the episodes of the second season seem like an episode of a detective series, albeit one with a sci-fi slant, such as "Behold Eck" & "Expanding Human'. The second season also suffers from having its budget reduced which really shows at times. However it did have the 2 classic episodes mentioned by Jack Briggs, which more than makes up for such duds as "Behold Eck" & "Counterweight".

Both DVD sets are a must for any Sci-fi lover, My only wish is I would have loved to see a retrospective documentary included in one of the sets.

#9 of 121 OFFLINE   richardWI


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Posted January 29 2004 - 04:43 AM

The two sets are the complete Outer Limits. No extras.

Season one set is a good deal: 32 episodes, retail: 79$. Approx 2.40 an episode. A lot of great Sci_Fi in that set.

Season two is not so good a deal: 17 episodes, retail: 69$
Approx 4.05 an episode!

Obviously no one here is dumb enough to pay full retail on these things, but even on sale the exponential price increase on Season 2 remains.

Some here say the two sets are to be taken as whole. I strongly disagree. There were so many non-cosmetic changes between seasons that they could hardly be considered the same show.

Yes, Season Two had two or three good episodes, but it also had a lot of... shall we say underachievers. This was due to the leaving of Stephano, Stevens, and Fortiere, the creative heart and soul of the show at the end of season one. And they kept cutting the budget back. These shows were so bad that the series was cancelled mid-season.

Not only should Season Two have been cheaper, it should have been issued with an apology from the ABC execs for alienating the core team and ruining a great show.

#10 of 121 OFFLINE   John Macri

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Posted January 29 2004 - 05:07 AM

I still maintain that as a complete package, The Outer Limits Season 1 & 2 is a bargain. C'mon, who pays retail for DVDs? I bought both seasons for $80 on sale, and the current online prices are only a couple bucks more.

This translates to well under $2.00 per episode...

#11 of 121 OFFLINE   Eric Huffstutler

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Posted January 29 2004 - 05:11 AM

I too can't figure out the pricing stratagy between season 1 and season 2. We all know that the show was cancelled mid-season so fewer episodes. At the same time if the first set has 4 discs and the second has 3, why only a $10 difference when if you divide up the per disc cost should be roughly $20 instead?

#12 of 121 OFFLINE   Mark_TS



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Posted January 29 2004 - 06:15 AM

Ive seen season #2 at COSTCO for $42...
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#13 of 121 OFFLINE   Joshua_W


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Posted January 29 2004 - 09:04 AM

Considering that individual episodes cost around $10+ on VHS cassettes, the DVDs are a bargain even at full price. And take up much less room than 49 VHS tapes.

Now that MGM has completed the original OL, I'm hoping that they'll decide to give us more DVDs of the New Outer Limits. At the very least, a complete first season set, and go on from there.

#14 of 121 OFFLINE   Nelson Au

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Posted January 30 2004 - 04:09 AM

If you're interested, there is a great book that should be a companion to fans who own these DVD's called, The Outer Limits Companion. It's by David J. Schow. I picked this up at Borders Books after I special ordered it.

This guy knows the show and there is great stuff on the production, the episodes and the people involved in making the show. He lists each episode in the back by broadcast date and all the episodes are on the DVD's and in broadcast order. He does talk about Please Stand By as the pilot that is Galaxy Being.

#15 of 121 OFFLINE   Ockeghem


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Posted March 03 2010 - 04:39 AM


My fifteen-year old has been wanting to watch Don't Open Till Doomsday for many years. Last night, I finally got around to watching it with her, and she loved it. I told her to pay special attention to the camera angles (and zooms) used in the episode, which was directed by Gerd Oswald. Episodes directed by Oswald are always very entertaining.

There were some eerie angles used on the mother of the Justice of the Peace. (She was the one who was in the wheel chair.)  You really can't blink, because some of those shots last only for a second or two.  And we get to see John Hoyt (of TOS fame) in this episode.

Posted Image


And Mr. Schow himself (he's the one with two eyes). ;)


#16 of 121 OFFLINE   Hollywoodaholic



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Posted March 03 2010 - 05:12 AM

And what a great performance by Miriam Hopkins. I just saw her recently in an episode of "Route 66" from the third season called "Shadows of an Afternoon," where she plays another kind of crazy woman accusing Linc of hurting her dog and nearly getting him lynched for it. But she's full out loopy in this one, and no wonder. I'm glad your daughter appreciated it. I still get a kick out when I gave my son (then 9) nightmares showing him "The Mice" when he scoffed that "The Zanti Misfits" wasn't scary.

#17 of 121 OFFLINE   michael_ks



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Posted March 03 2010 - 05:57 AM


I'm glad to see some commentary going again for the "Outer Limits" and enjoyed reading your input on "Don't Open 'til Doomsday".  That episode was a definite high watermark for the series in that in benefitted from the superalative efforts of Stefano, Oswald and Hall (the greatest writer-director-cinematographer trio ever assembled for science fiction tv, IMO).  Then there's Dominic Frontiere's wonderful mood setting original score--possibly my favorite of his original scores.

The brief shots of Nellie Burt (also featured in a somewhat similar role in "The Guests") are indeed weird and eerie--the entire episode is replete with many great nuances such as this  one.  Looking at your screen captures, I can just hear the unsettling sound effects (that dull roar) and the music that accompanies the shots of the box creature as the camera pans around it to reveal the "spy hole".

What also makes DOTD so great in my mind is the number of unanswered questions it presents that are left to the viewer to wrestle with.  Why was the box given as a gift?  And why did it contain a cryptic message?  Why should an alien being wish to 'uncreate' our universe out of frustration for not being able to return to its own and how could it possibly harnass such energy? And did he ultimately succeed...?

Agree too, Wayne, Miriam Hopkins provided a great performance for this episode--she really nailed the role well.

#18 of 121 OFFLINE   Ockeghem


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Posted March 03 2010 - 07:34 AM

Hollywood, Michael,

It really is such a great series. I think The Mice would be a fun episode to show her next. I was also (very coincidentally here) thinking of The Guests. It must be because of the home we see during Don't Open Till Doomsday -- it kind of reminded me of that dark and sinister home we see in The Guests.

When I saw Nellie Burt, dang it if I could recall where I had seen her before. I'm almost certain that it was in The Guests now that I think of it.

Those sound effects are so amazingly effective! And I love that panning around to see the 'spy hole' -- it is only then that we finally get to see and appreciate the creature's profile.

Here's a neat tidbit for the both of you. I've been fairly certain of this for some time, but watching the episode last night confirmed it. When the elderly gentleman first brings the box to the door and says "For the newlyweds," the actor isn't saying anything! It's probably a case of the line being dubbed in later. But another possibility (for me at least) was that it was the alien speaking the words. In any event, it's a strange, sort of garbled voiceover that doesn't really sound 'human' at all to my ears.

I loved the usage of the word 'uncreate' in this context. It reminded me in some ways of Poe's "unclosed my eyes" in The Pit and the Pendulum. Sure, one could say 'destroy' (in Don't Open Till Doomsday) or 'opened' (in The Pit and the Pendulum), but using those more common words and phrases just wouldn't be the same.

I wondered about the alien's motives as well. It did provide information that it was one of the links that would make the whole come together more effectively. As for that message, I had always assumed that the fact it was a doomsday device was in case that day ever did come upon us. The alien could have enveloped all of creation had it wanted to do so. But that doesn't really make too much sense given what it says near the conclusion of the episode. Some food for thought. :)

#19 of 121 OFFLINE   Hollywoodaholic



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Posted March 03 2010 - 07:41 AM

This attitude of 'I'm going to screw everyone else since I'm so screwed' unfortunately is not exclusive to stranded aliens from other planets.

Originally Posted by michael_ks 

Why should an alien being wish to 'uncreate' our universe out of frustration for not being able to return to its own and how could it possibly harnass such energy? And did he ultimately succeed...?


#20 of 121 OFFLINE   Nelson Au

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Posted May 02 2010 - 09:22 AM

Hey Scott,

After reading your comment on the Star Trek Season 3 thread, I finally got my Outer Limits set out today and played The Inheritors part 1 today.

I've been a fan of this series as you know for ages, back to the 60's. I've had the DVD set for as long as the first set was released on DVD. But I have never seen this episode. I think it could be because it never imprinted on me like the other more visually impressive ones did. Behold Eck was always a favorite because it was such a cool idea. Though not everyone agrees I realize! But it was visually impressive to a kid!

The Inheritors part 1 was really interesting. I think I see where it's going. I'll watch part 2 tomorrow.