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Blu-ray Reviews

HTF Blu-ray Review: The TWILIGHT ZONE Season 3

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#1 of 39 OFFLINE   Timothy E

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Posted February 15 2011 - 10:56 AM

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THE TWILIGHT ZONE Season 3 BLU-RAY


Studio: Image

Year: 1961-1962

Rated: Not Rated

Film Length: 950 minutes

Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1

Audio: English Uncompressed PCM Mono


Release Date: February 15, 2011


The Series


You’re traveling through another dimension, a dimension not only of sight and sound but of mind. A journey into a wondrous land whose boundaries are that of imagination. This is the dimension of imagination. Next stop, The Twilight Zone.


So began the narration of The Twilight Zone in its third season. The Twilight Zone premiered on CBS-TV on October 2, 1959, and aired for 5 seasons until its cancellation in 1964. This fantasy and science fiction anthology series is revered and well remembered 50 years later for its daring social commentary and the twist endings of many of its episodes. The series was created by Rod Serling, who narrated the episodes and, incredibly, wrote a majority of the scripts during its production.


Rod Serling was supported in his screen-writing chores by accomplished authors Charles Beaumont and Richard Matheson. Ray Bradbury also contributed an episode to the third season. The high quality and success of this series is undoubtedly attributable in large part to the efforts of these writers who wrote many original screenplays, as well as adaptations of works by other authors.


The Twilight Zone also benefitted from the acting talent that appeared in the series. Actors in this third season included Charles Bronson, Lee Marvin, Leonard Nimoy, Elizabeth Montgomery, Jack Klugman, Peter Falk, Jonathan Winters, Billy Mumy, Dean Stockwell, Buster Keaton, Robert Redford, Richard Kiel, Theodore Bikel, Cliff Robertson, Carol Burnett, and others.


The Twilight Zone theme song composed by Marius Constant is recognizable today even to many people who have never seen this series. Composers of score music in the third season included Bernard Herrmann(Citizen Kane, North By Northwest, Psycho) and Fred Steiner(Perry Mason).


The episodes appear in this 5 disc set in order of airdate rather than production order. The episodes are organized appropriately in this manner, given the fact that the preview of the following week’s episode hosted by Rod Serling is included just as originally aired at the conclusion of each episode and prior to the closing credits. The closing credits also include original network promos for other CBS TV series of the time such as The Ed Sullivan Show and Gunsmoke, as well as various public service announcements. Each episode also concludes with the original CBS TV logo from 1961 and 1962. A modern CBS Studios logo is also attached but only at the very end of each episode. All episodes seem to be complete and uncut, and the running lengths of each episode seem to confirm this.


Video


The Twilight Zone appears on Blu-Ray in 1080p in its original 1.33:1 aspect ratio as originally filmed and broadcast on CBS-TV. The previous DVD editions of this series from Image were so excellent that one might think that there was little room for improvement. Fortunately, Image has taken advantage of this opportunity to present The Twilight Zone in high definition by creating all new 1080p high definition transfers of this third season from the original camera negatives. As with the previous season sets, the result is a film-like image with some grain apparent. The image is so sharp that minor imperfections that were invisible on the previous DVD releases are now visible on a large monitor. When I speak of imperfections, the emphasis is on "minor"; the video quality in these new transfers is as close to perfection as one could hope for on this series. Fortunately, this third season did not have any episodes produced on videotape, which are inferior to those episodes produced on film, as was the case with season two.


Audio


The Uncompressed PCM Mono track is excellent, with none of the crackle, hiss, or inconsistency of sound volume that we expect to hear on television shows from this era. The special features have audio that is more typical of shows from that era, which makes one appreciate the clarity of sound on these episodes.


Special Features


The special features are comprehensive and include all of the following:


Liar’s Club (21:34): This episode aired originally on February 24, 1969, with Rod Serling hosting the show. Betty White and Jonathan Harris also appear in this episode.


Tell It To Groucho (15:11): Rod Serling appeared on this Groucho Marx television series in the early part of 1962.


Famous Writers School (4:37): This short promotional film includes Serling as one of the famous writers.


Marc Scott Zicree Audio Interview With George T. Clemens (Part 3): This is the third part of an interview done by Zicree in 1978 of cinematographer Clemens. The first 2 parts of the interview appeared on the first and season sets of The Twilight Zone on Blu-ray.


Every episode in this third season has special features. Here is a list of all 37 episodes with the special features indicated:


Two (25:47):Audio Commentary by Scott Skelton and Jim Benson, Rod Serling Teaser for Two, Isolated Music Score by Van Cleave, Sponsor Billboards for Colgate and Wildroot Cream Oil, The Twilight Zone radio drama starring Don Johnson.

The Arrival (25:42): Isolated music score, sponsor billboards, The Twilight Zone radio drama starring Blair Underwood.

The Shelter (25:47): Isolated music score, sponsor billboards, The Twilight Zone radio drama starring Ernie Hudson.

The Passersby (25:43): Isolated music score by Fred Steiner, sponsor billboards, The Twilight Zone radio drama starring Morgan Brittany.

A Game Of Pool (25:42): Audio commentary by Jonathan Winters, audio commentary by Marc Scott Zicree and George Clayton Johnson, Marc Scott Zicree interview with director Buzz Kulik and producer Buck Houghton from 1978, sponsor billboards, isolated music score, Jonathan Winters reads the alternate ending from the original script, clip from the 1989 remake with George Clayton Johnson’s original ending.

The Mirror (25:44): Isolated music score, sponsor billboards, The Twilight Zone radio drama starring Tony Plana.

The Grave (25:43): Audio commentary by Gary Gerani, audio commentary by Martin Grams, Jr., isolated music score, sponsor billboards, The Twilight Zone radio drama starring Michael Rooker.

It’s A Good Life (25:541): Audio commentary by Billy Mumy, audio commentary by Marv Wolfman and Marc Scott Zicree, isolated music score, sponsor billboards.

Deaths-Head Revisited (25:40): Audio commentary by Marc Scott Zicree and Neil Gaiman, Marc Scott Zicree interview with producer Buck Houghton from 1978, isolated music score, sponsor billboards, The Twilight Zone radio drama starring H.M. Wynant.

The Midnight Sun (25:42): Audio commentary by Lois Nettleton, audio commentary by Gary Gerani, isolated music score by Van Cleave, sponsor billboards.

Still Valley (25:43): Isolated music score by Wilbur Hatch, sponsor billboards, The Twilight Zone radio drama starring Adam West.

The Jungle (25:42): Audio commentary by William F. Nolan, John Tomerlin, and Marc Scott Zicree, audio commentary by Scott Skelton and Jim Benson, isolated music score, sponsor billboards, The Twilight Zone radio drama starring Ed Begley, Jr.

Once Upon A Time (25:42): Audio commentary by Martin Grams, Jr., isolated music score by William Lava(played by Ray Turner), sponsor billboards.

Five Characters In Search Of An Exit (25:45): Audio commentary by William Windom, Marc Scott Zicree interview with director Lamont Johnson from 1978, isolated music score, sponsor billboards, The Twilight Zone radio drama starring Jason Alexander.

A Quality of Mercy (25:44): Audio commentary by Leonard Nimoy, isolated music score, sponsor billboards.

Nothing In The Dark (25:42): Audio commentary by George Clayton Johnson and Marc Scott Zicree, Marc Scott Zicree interview with writer George Clayton Johnson and director Lamont Johnson from 1978, isolated music score, sponsor billboards.

One More Pallbearer (25:43): Isolated music score, sponsor billboards, The Twilight Zone radio drama starring Chelcie Ross.

Dead Man’s Shoes (25:50): Clip from 1985 remake "Dead Woman’s Shoes", isolated music score, sponsor billboards, The Twilight Zone radio drama starring Bill Smitrovich.

The Hunt (25:41): Audio commentary by Earl Hamner and Marc Scott Zicree, Marc Scott Zicree interview with Earl Hamner from 1978, isolated music score by Robert Drasnin, sponsor billboards.

Showdown With Rance McGrew (25:53): Audio commentary by Robert Cornthwaite, isolated music score, sponsor billboards.

Kick The Can (25:43): Audio commentary by George Clayton Johnson and Marc Scott Zicree, isolated music score, sponsor billboards, The Twilight Zone radio drama starring Shelley Berman and Stan Freberg.

A Piano In The House (25:57): Audio commentary by Scott Skelton and Jim Benson, Marc Scott Zicree interview with Buck Houghton and Earl Hamner from 1978, isolated music score, sponsor billboards, The Twilight Zone radio drama starring Michael York.

The Last Rites of Jeff Myrtlebank (26:41): Isolated music score by Tommy Morgan, sponsor billboards.

To Serve Man (25:41): Audio commentary by Jeff Vlaming and Marc Scott Zicree, Marc Scott Zicree interview with director Richard L. Bare from 1978, isolated music score, sponsor billboards, The Twilight Zone radio drama starring Blair Underwood.

The Fugitive (25:37): Isolated music score, sponsor billboards.

Little Girl Lost (25:48): Audio commentary by Marc Fergus and Marc Scott Zicree, isolated music score by Bernard Herrmann, sponsor billboards.

Person Or Persons Unknown (25:42): Isolated music score, sponsor billboards.

The Little People (26:03): Marc Scott Zicree interview with producer Buck Houghton from 1978, isolated music score, sponsor billboards.

Four O’Clock (25:41): Isolated music score, sponsor billboards, The Twilight Zone radio drama starring Stan Freberg.

Hocus-Pocus and Frisby (25:56): Isolated music score by Tom Morgan, sponsor billboards.

The Trade-Ins (25:43): Interview with Edson Stroll, isolated music score, sponsor billboards, The Twilight Zone radio drama starring H. M. Wynant and Peggy Webber.

The Gift (25:56): Isolated music score by Laurindo Almeida, sponsor billboards.

The Dummy (25:44): Audio commentary by Cliff Robertson, isolated music score, sponsor billboards, The Twilight Zone radio drama starring Bruno Kirby.

Young Man’s Fancy (25:45): Isolated music score by Nathan Scott, sponsor billboards.

I Sing The Body Electric (25:43): Audio commentary by Marc Scott Zicree, Marc Scott Zicree interview with producer Buck Houghton from 1978, isolated music score by Van Cleave, sponsor billboards.

Cavender Is Coming (25:10): Original laugh track, audio commentary by Martin Grams, Jr., isolated music score, clip from The Gary Moore Show.

The Changing of the Guard (25:07): Audio commentary by Len Wein and Marc Scott Zicree, isolated music score, sponsor billboards, The Twilight Zone radio drama starring Orson Bean.


Also included is a foldout illustrated booklet with a list of the episodes on each disc with original airdates, plot descriptions, and lists of special features associated with each episode.


The Twilight Zone radio dramas, isolated music scores, and many of the audio commentaries are new to this release. The audio commentaries by actors Jonathan Winters, Bill Mumy, Lois Nettleton, William Windom, Leonard Nimoy, and Cliff Robertson were produced for the DVD releases and have been ported over to this new set.


Conclusion


Even though The Twilight Zone may have evidenced some creative fatigue in its third season, this season still includes its fair share of classic and memorable episodes. This season of The Twilight Zone has never looked and sounded better than it does in this Blu-ray set. The video and audio transfers of these 37 episodes are consistently excellent and definitely a big step up from the previous versions on DVD. As with the first and second season sets on Blu-ray, many of the special features included here are new to this release and may be considered essentials for fans of this series. This set comes about as close to perfection as one might hope. As with the earlier sets, The Twilight Zone Season 3 on Blu-ray comes highly recommended. 



#2 of 39 OFFLINE   Adam Gregorich

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Posted February 15 2011 - 02:33 PM

Thanks for the review Timothy.  I'm glad that these BD releases are continuing.  Hopefully even more TV shows will make it to Blu-ray!



#3 of 39 OFFLINE   Lord Dalek

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Posted February 15 2011 - 02:52 PM

Yeah, season 3 really is a kind of slodge to go through. There's thirty-seven episodes with some classics, many not-so-classics, and a few downright awful shows. When Richard Matheson's output is considerably worse than the previous season you know you've got trouble. Add to that the introduction of TZ's most prolific bad writer (Earl Hamner), a cheesier than normal title sequence (seriously it looks like they spent five bucks on that logo) and its the beginning of the end more or less.


Yet surprisingly... season 4 (despite what appears to be an all-out effort by Serling to prove otherwise) actually turned out to be a better season than this one even with the one-hour episode handicap its stuck with! I don't understand it. Don't understand it at all.



#4 of 39 OFFLINE   TravisR

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Posted February 15 2011 - 03:10 PM

Originally Posted by Lord Dalek 

Yet surprisingly... season 4 (despite what appears to be an all-out effort by Serling to prove otherwise) actually turned out to be a better season than this one even with the one-hour episode handicap its stuck with! I don't understand it. Don't understand it at all.



I think S3 is head and shoulders above S4. There's only a handful of really solid episodes in S4 (On Thursday We Leave For Home is great and I really like The Thirty Fathom Grave and Jess-Belle) but while S3 has its share of duds, it still has To Serve Man, Deaths-Head Revisited, The Midnight Sun, A Game Of Pool, Five Characters In Search Of An Exit and, what I consider the best 'unknown' TZ episode, The Changing Of The Guard and any of those are above nearly everything in S4.



#5 of 39 OFFLINE   dana martin

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Posted February 15 2011 - 11:16 PM

was always, and still am fond of "Two"  and to the point of weak ep's for the season or for season four, all i will say is that soso TZ is still better than most stuff that was on at the same time, and defiantly better than what is on now.


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#6 of 39 OFFLINE   music613

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Posted February 16 2011 - 05:36 AM

My copy of Season 3 arrived yesterday. Fingers crossed. More laterPosted Image



#7 of 39 OFFLINE   Lord Dalek

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Posted February 16 2011 - 06:30 AM

I haven't had any trouble on my set.



#8 of 39 OFFLINE   Charles Smith

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Posted February 16 2011 - 06:36 AM

I want to start buying these now.  But -- am I mistaken, or have the prices remained stubbornly high ever since it appeared that Image had fixed the problems with Season One?  I'm seeing $78 per season on Amazon.  Or is that in the ballpark of other TV series?  I don't buy all that much TV, as may be evident.




#9 of 39 OFFLINE   TravisR

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Posted February 16 2011 - 07:38 AM

Originally Posted by Chas in CT 

I want to start buying these now.  But -- am I mistaken, or have the prices remained stubbornly high ever since it appeared that Image had fixed the problems with Season One?  I'm seeing $78 per season on Amazon.  Or is that in the ballpark of other TV series?  I don't buy all that much TV, as may be evident.



$75-ish is the norm for the TZ sets but other TV show Blu-rays like 24 or Lost run about $50 and Mad Men is about $30. I think the pre-order price for The Twilight Zone: S2 was around $55 for a while but since it was released, I haven't seen the second season under $70.


I picked up the first season set for $50 but if I had paid $75, I wouldn't feel cheated because it's a wonderful set and I assume that the rest of the sets are all on par with the first season. That being said, I can wait until I see S2 and S3 on sale before picking them up.



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Posted February 16 2011 - 11:13 AM

Too bad no deleted scenes have been included in these sets. A few do exist, according to Martin Grams, who wrote a wonderful Twilight Zone book. Also, where is the Serling/Mike Wallace interview? That being said, I am over the moon with these releases!!!!



#11 of 39 OFFLINE   dana martin

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Posted February 17 2011 - 01:02 PM

going on two solid years for releases from CBS Blu Ray, so once Twilight Zone is completed, hopefully Image will see what can be done for the 80's revival, but i am curious as to what classic series CBS will tackle next for blu ray, ideas?? Lucy? Gunsmoke?

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#12 of 39 OFFLINE   Timothy E

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Posted February 17 2011 - 05:36 PM

Originally Posted by dana martin 

going on two solid years for releases from CBS Blu Ray, so once Twilight Zone is completed, hopefully Image will see what can be done for the 80's revival, but i am curious as to what classic series CBS will tackle next for blu ray, ideas?? Lucy? Gunsmoke?


I would bet on the first season of I Love Lucy being released on Blu-ray within the next year or so.



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Posted February 18 2011 - 08:51 AM

Timothy, did you notice any digital blocking during "The Arrival' at time stamp 11:37? A reviewer on another site did. I hope it was an isolated case. These sets are expensive and I would like to hope the last time I have to buy these. It would be a shame if there is something on there that could have been avoided. Thanks!



#14 of 39 OFFLINE   Craig Beam

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Posted February 19 2011 - 02:47 AM



Originally Posted by eric scott richard 

Timothy, did you notice any digital blocking during "The Arrival' at time stamp 11:37? A reviewer on another site did. I hope it was an isolated case. These sets are expensive and I would like to hope the last time I have to buy these. It would be a shame if there is something on there that could have been avoided. Thanks!



It's on my copy.  I tested it on both my PS3 and my newer Panasonic player.  It really amounts to a quick digital shimmer.  If you blink you'll miss it.  I'd be surprised if Image bothered fixing it.



#15 of 39 OFFLINE   Nelson Au

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Posted February 19 2011 - 03:00 AM

I didn't want to buy this set via Amazon, and found that Best Buy didn't have it at their brick and mortar location near me. No surprise in that it's not a popular current title. I found a copy at Barnes and Noble and was okay paying a bit more. (I wonder if the back taxes will ever come back to bite us who buy a lot from Amazon!) The copy I got at Barnes and Noble did not have the cardboard slip cover season One and Two had. Was this the case for you guys? This digital shimmer you guys mention scares me, not again! We just got replacement discs for S1! I'll give that episode a spin today.

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Posted February 19 2011 - 04:12 AM

Oh, so it is more of a shimmer than blocking? I was picturing blocks on the screen.



#17 of 39 OFFLINE   Timothy E

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Posted February 19 2011 - 06:38 AM

Originally Posted by eric scott richard 

Oh, so it is more of a shimmer than blocking? I was picturing blocks on the screen.


It is a pan shot in which the camera is moving from left to right.  It is almost imperceptible in motion as a flutter or shimmer and if you blink you may miss it.  I was able to pause my player on the frame in question and take a photograph of it.  It appears to me to be digital noise which takes up less than 1% of that single frame.  Here is a photograph of that frame:


http://static.hometh...um.com/imgrepo/



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Posted February 19 2011 - 06:51 AM

Thanks Timothy.



#19 of 39 OFFLINE   Lord Dalek

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Posted February 19 2011 - 10:06 AM



Originally Posted by Nelson Au 

This digital shimmer you guys mention scares me, not again! We just got replacement discs for S1! I'll give that episode a spin today.


Eh it only lasts a fraction of a second and doesn't effect playback in any major way. I wouldn't freak out yet, Nelson.



#20 of 39 OFFLINE   MattHR

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Posted February 19 2011 - 10:33 AM

I didn't see it posted anywhere, but deepdiscount.com is having a 2-for-1 sale on select titles this weekend. TZ Seasons 1 and 2 blu-rays are on the list. I just ordered them both for a total of $78.29. Promo code is PRESBLU.










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